What Is Nomesa Locustae: Using Nomesa Locustae In The Garden

What Is Nomesa Locustae: Using Nomesa Locustae In The Garden

By: Anne Baley

Contrary to what the cartoons may have you believe, grasshoppers are voracious critters that can ruin an entire garden in just a matter of days. Getting rid of these plant-eating machines is often a tightrope walk between killing the grasshoppers and keeping the food safe for your family. Nosema locustae pest control will solve both of these problems.

It’s completely organic, doesn’t interact with any humans or animals, and will kill off most of the grasshoppers in your garden within one season. Using nosema locustae in the garden is possibly the easiest and safest way to rid your crops of grasshoppers, once and for all.

Nosema Locustae Bait for Gardens

What is nosema locustae and how does it work so well? It’s a one-celled organism called a protozoan that can infect and kill only grasshoppers. This microscopic creature is mixed with wheat bran, which the grasshoppers love to eat. The bugs eat the nosema locustae bait and the protozoan infects the stomach of the bug, causing the young ones to die and the older ones to infect the rest.

Grasshoppers are cannibals, so the older and tougher individuals that survive the initial infection still carry the bug. When uninfected bugs eat the infected ones, they contract the disease. Even those bugs that survive eat little, move around a lot less and lay fewer eggs, lessening the chance of them infesting other areas of the property. The few eggs they do lay come out already infested, so the chance of a second generation surviving is very low.

How to Use Nomesa Locustae Pest Control

Learning how to use nosema locustae bait is as simple as broadcasting it over your garden and the surrounding area. Spread the bait early in the spring before the baby grasshoppers hatch. The young will eat the bait along with the more mature specimens. This will give the bait the best chance of killing off both current generations of hoppers.

If you’re an organic grower, this method, along with sensible mowing to remove high grassy fields, is an effective way to remove grasshoppers without having to resort to chemical means. This naturally-occurring organism will kill off grasshoppers without affecting any birds or animals that may use them as food.

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Managing Grasshoppers

Grasshoppers are found throughout North America, but are most problematic in the High Plains and Rocky Mountain states, especially in areas where rainfall is between 10 to 30 a year.

Family: Acrididae (short-horned grasshoppers)

Size and color: Most are about 3/4 to 1 long, although larger species occur. Colors vary greenish, yellow-brown, or gray are the most common.

Crops affected: Essentially any garden plant, as well as most trees and shrubs.

Prevention and Controls: Take measures before migrations into gardens occur. Treat breeding sites with insecticides or the biocontrol Nosema locustae. Exclude grasshoppers with row covers or screens. Plant green buffer zones away from food and flowers where they can land to feed. Use insecticides in the buffer or enclose it with fencing and let poultry feast on hoppers.

No insects have been recognized for so long as capable of devastation as grasshoppers, the locusts" of Biblical plagues. (In America, locust is sometimes used inappropriately to describe a very different insect, the periodical cicada, whose emergence in large numbers alarmed English settlers in the Northeast.)

Few garden pests have such all-inclusive tastes or can be so aggravatingly difficult to control as grasshoppers. For one thing, they are highly mobile, capable of moving hundreds of feet a day, and sometimes much more. For another, there are a great many species. Fifty or more kinds of grasshoppers may occur in some of the "hopper-rich" western states, and the populations of any one of these types may be on an upward cycle during a given year. Though many species limit their feeding to non-garden plants, such as grasses and clovers, others find most vegetables, flowers and even trees and shrubs to be very acceptable snacks.

Almost all the serious garden pests are found within the genus Melanoplus, which includes the redlegged grasshopper ( M. femurrubrum ), twostriped grasshopper ( M. bivittatus ), differential grasshopper ( M. differentialis ) and migratory grasshopper ( M. sanguinipes ). All of these spend the winter within an egg pod laid an inch or so below the ground. The egg pods are deposited about three inches deep in the soil in late summer and early autumn, usually in dry, undisturbed areas outside of tilled fields or garden plots.

Eggs hatch in late spring or early summer. The young hoppers (nymphs) are wingless and, of course, smaller in size, but generally resemble the adult insects. They feed and grow over a period of about two months before reaching the adult stage, at which time they become capable of flight and are sexually mature. Migrations accelerate as this stage is reached, which often coincides with drying of grasses and other early-season food plants. It's then that the insects tend to move to the relative "oases" of irrigated yards and gardens. Grasshoppers may continue to feed and lay eggs until hard frosts finally kill them off for the season.

Grasshopper populations can fluctuate greatly and unpredictably from season to season. Outbreaks typically follow cycles of 11 to 20 years, during which time the numbers of grasshoppers may build a hundredfold over a few years, then "crash." The reasons for periodic grasshopper outbreaks are little understood, but they seem to be the result of an interplay between natural predators, parasites, diseases and weather factors. For example, spring and summer rains affect the abundance and nutritional quality of spring grasses and other food plants important to the survival of young grasshoppers. In severe outbreaks there is little you can do to save plants except use screening to exclude the hoppers.

Several native insects eat grasshoppers. On prairies, many fall victim to predaceous robber flies. Praying mantids will snag a grasshopper or two during the summer. Most blister beetles (an occasional pest problem themselves) develop by fe on the egg pods of grasshoppers. Birds such as horned larks and kestrels rely on grasshoppers as a major part of their diets.

Grasshoppers also succumb to fungal diseases, which cause them to crawl to the tops of plants where they cling and stick as they die, producing an eery sight when an epidemic of the disease has occurred.

Perhaps the strangest natural enemy of grasshoppers is the large nematode, Mermis nigrescens, which reaches a length of more than four inches. The adults lay eggs on grasses and other plants on which grasshoppers feed. If these eggs are eaten, the nematodes develop within the grasshopper, sterilizing and prematurely killing it.

All grasshopper control by gardeners must be preventive, and it needs to happen at some distance from the area you want to protect. Never spray for grasshopppers within your vegetable garden, either with botanicals or synthetics. It won't work. Even with the most potent chemicals, grasshoppers cannot be controlled once migrations into yards accelerate and they are jumping over the fence. Stop them before they get to the garden.

The most effective way to reduce grasshopper numbers is to kill them on their breeding ground with either the biological control Nosema locustae . Fortunately, these breeding areas are often fairly limited. Grasshoppers seek out untilled, dry, weedy ground. (Tilling during fall or early spring exposes and destroys egg pods of grasshoppers.) Empty lots or roadsides are common breeding sites.

If the breeding sites provide favorable succulent plants through the summer, the migrations may be retarded or never occur. However, if these plants dry down--or if they are mowed--invasions to nearby gardens will rapidly increase. Lawns and gardens that are surrounded by pastures and prairies become a magnet for late-season grasshopper invasions when plants in the grassland dry up.

Keeping a ring of irrigated, green plants around the yard can defer the attack. A half-wild windbreak th mixes hardy trees, shrubs, perennials and grasses is ideal. These areas may be more safely treated with insecticides, providing immediate control yet excluding the poisons from the garden.

Using the protozoan disease Nosema locustae to consistently prevent or further lessen grasshopper problems can be more difficult. This organism occurs naturally in grasshoppers but also can be mass-produced at reasonable cost and applied (in baits) to areas where grasshoppers are developing.

Several different formulations of this disease are sold under such trade names as Grasshopper Spore, Semaspore and Nolo Bait. Nosema locustae works best when applied over large areas where grasshoppers are breeding. But in general, it is not highly effective. It's slow-acting and many grasshoppers are not very susceptible to it--it often kills only 50% of the population over a four-week period.

The benefits of poultry for grasshopper control are well known in the High Plains. Grasshoppers are a highly nutritious food, and chickens relish hunting for them. Turkeys and guinea hens will also consume them voraciously. By fencing off the garden area to prevent them from scratching, you can create a zone where the poultry patrol can range freely and intercept most hoppers.

When the grasshoppers get out of hand, or if they are serious plagues more years than not, you may want to screen individual plants or even an entire garden area. Floating row covers and window screening can work for a time. Metal screens are superior because grasshoppers possess strong mouthparts and can gnaw through most fabrics.

Although grasshoppers will eat almost anything, some garden plants are less preferred. Tomatoes and many squash family plants will almost always be around even after the zinnias, iris and lettuce are long gone.

Whitney Cranshaw is an associate professor and extension entomologist at Colorado State University.


Nosema Locustae Bait For Gardens - How To Use Nomesa Locustae Pest Control - garden

Nolo Bait™ is a long-term grasshopper suppression agent. It is a spreadable bait made from flaky wheat bran coated with Nosema locustae spores. Grasshoppers eat the bran, thus becoming infected with Nosema. Nolo Bait™ is very easy to apply and has no adverse effects on non-target organisms. It is safe for use around humans, pets, birds, wildlife and won’t contaminate waterways. It won’t harm beneficial insects and is widely approved for organic use.

Is Nolo Bait™ safe to use in my organic garden?

YES! Nolo Bait™ is NOP compliant and has the “Approved for Organic Production” symbol front and center on the label now.

Will Nolo Bait™ hurt my dog, cat, birds or other pets?

NO! The active disease organism in Nolo Bait™ is host specific to grasshoppers and Mormon crickets. Mormon crickets are actually a species of grasshopper. Any other non-target insect, bird, mammal or reptile that ingests the bait or eats an infected grasshopper will not be affected. The disease organism will pass through their digestive system without becoming active.

How should I apply Nolo Bait™?

Nolo Bait™ is a dry, flaky wheat bran bait. Any dry spreader such as a “Whirly Bird” can be used or it can easily be applied by hand.

Where should I apply Nolo Bait™?

Apply Nolo Bait™ along the perimeter of your yard or property, anywhere there is tall grass and along weedy ditch banks. If possible, let the grasses/weeds at the outer margins of your yard grow taller and apply the bait there. This may reduce the number of grasshoppers migrating into your yard/garden area. In gardens or flowerbeds it is best to make bait stations to hold the bait and/or to spread the bait beneath and between the plants. This will help you to avoid drawing additional grasshoppers into the area while allowing those already present to feed on it. Bait stations can be made from anything that will protect the bait from rain and sun. Empty tins cans with both ends cut out work well and can be placed in the shade of the plants on the ground. Keeping these bait stations available will entice grasshoppers to fill up on bait rather than plant material.

When should I apply Nolo Bait™?

Morning is best as grasshoppers will do most of their feeding in the morning but late afternoon is good too. Though you may see them around, grasshoppers don’t feed as heavily during the heat of the day. Avoid applying Nolo Bait™ when rain is forecast within the next 4-6 hours or if dew is still present on the grass.

How much Nolo Bait™ should I put out and how often?

The minimum application rate is 1 pound per acre, per application. This is based on grasshopper densities of 8 grasshoppers per square yard. Nolo Bait™ can be applied as often as every few days to once a week and can be concentrated in areas of heaviest grasshopper infestation. Consumption of a higher number of spores per grasshopper will increase efficacy and decrease the amount of time required to kill the grasshoppers. Therefore, where faster population reduction is required, this may be achieved through multiple applications or a higher application rate in order to increase the amount of bait available to each grasshopper.

How fast does Nolo Bait™ work?

First instars or new hatchlings will die quickly, usually within a day or two of eating it. Older, larger hoppers won’t die as quickly but will become slow, lethargic and reduce their feeding. Nolo Bait™ is a long-term suppression product. It will reduce the feeding and reproductive capabilities of the grasshoppers that ingest it. In turn, these grasshoppers are often cannibalized by healthy hoppers that have migrated in and thus the disease spreads into the population. Successive use each season will result in fewer and fewer eggs being laid and fewer grasshoppers surviving until spring.

How can I tell if Nolo Bait™ is working?

Infected hoppers will be slower to hop and may fall over upon landing. Often they are reluctant to hop at all. Their eyes become cloudy instead of dark brown and the abdomens of sick hoppers will become whiter as well. Dead, partially cannibalized grasshoppers may be found clinging to stalks of grass/weeds. New hatchlings that ingested the bait die quickly and are rarely seen as they are readily consumed by other grasshoppers, insects, birds and reptiles. Due to the nature of this product (i.e. microsporidial pathogen), efficacy may be affected by such factors as weather, grasshopper population densities and insect migration.

What if my Nolo Bait™ gets wet?

Water does not harm the disease spore but the wheat bran becomes soggy and less attractive to the grasshoppers. Avoid putting out the bait if rain is forecast.

How should I store my Nolo Bait™ if necessary?

Optimal storage is 42 degrees F in a dry location. We are committed to providing you with the highest quality ingredients in our grasshopper bait, freshly formulated upon order. Our spore is regularly tested to guarantee its viability. This insures that our product will remain 100% active in cool, dry storage conditions for up to 13 weeks from the date of formulation.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 3rd, 2011 at 4:29 am and is filed under Articles, Insect Control, News & Updates, Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.


Grasshopper Control in Gardens and Small Acreages – 5.536

by W.S. Cranshaw and R. Hammon * (1/13)

Quick Facts…

  • Grasshoppers are the most difficult insect to control because they are highly mobile.
  • All grasshoppers lay their eggs in soil.
  • There are over 100 species of grasshoppers in Colorado.
  • During periods when local outbreaks are developing, control usually involves using sprays or baits.

Grasshoppers can be the most noticeable and damaging insects to yards and fields. They also are among those most difficult to control, since they are highly mobile. For many reasons, grasshopper populations fluctuate greatly from year to year, and may cause serious damage during periodic outbreaks. Problems tend to increase beginning in early summer and can persist until hard frosts.

Over 100 species of grasshoppers occur in Colorado and their food habits vary. Some primarily feed on grasses or sedges, while others prefer broadleaved plants. Other grasshoppers restrict their feeding to plants of no great economic value and a few even feed primarily on weed species (e.g., snakeweed). However, others will readily feed on garden and landscape plants (Table 1).

Among vegetable crops certain plants are favored, such as lettuce, carrots, beans, sweet corn, and onions. Squash, peas, and tomatoes (leaves, not fruit) are among the plants that tend to be avoided.

Grasshoppers less commonly feed on leaves of trees and shrubs. However, during outbreak years even these may be damaged. Furthermore, grasshoppers may incidentally damage shelterbelt plantings when they rest on twigs and gnaw on bark, sometimes causing small branches to die back.

Figure 1. Differential grasshopper. Figure 2. Migratory grasshopper.

Figure 3. Twostriped grasshopper. Figure 4. Redlegged grasshopper.
Figure 5. Clearwinged grasshopper.

Grasshopper Life History

All grasshoppers lay their eggs in soil, in the form of tight clustered pods. Relatively dry soils, undisturbed by tillage or irrigations, are preferred. Egg laying may be concentrated at certain sites with favorable soil texture, slope, and orientation, producing ‘egg beds.’

The egg stage is the overwintering stage of most, but not all, grasshoppers. For the majority of species the eggs hatch in mid- to late-spring, varying with soil temperatures. At egg hatch the tiny first stage nymphs move to the surface and seek tender foliage on which to feed. The first few days are critical to survival. Adverse weather or absence of suitable foods can cause high mortality. Surviving grasshoppers continue to develop over the next several weeks, usually molting through five or six stages, before ultimately reaching the adult form.

Adult grasshoppers may live for months, interspersing feeding with mating and egg laying. Species that winter in the egg stage die out in late summer and early fall. A few species, perhaps most conspicuously the speckledwinged grasshopper, spend winter as a nymph, remain active during warm periods, and may develop to the adult form by late winter.

Figure 6. Grasshopper egg bed.

Grasshopper Control

Natural Controls

The most important factors are weather related, particularly around the time of egg hatch. For example, cold, wet weather is very destructive to newly hatched grasshoppers. However, very dry winter and spring conditions also can be harmful to survival since required tender new plant growth is not available.

Some insects commonly feed on grasshoppers. Many species of blister beetles (see fact sheet 5.524, Blister Beetles in Forage Crops) develop on grasshopper egg pods and blister beetle abundance cycles along with their grasshopper hosts. Adult robber flies are common predators of grasshoppers during summer and other flies develop as internal parasites of grasshoppers. Many birds, notably horned larks and kestrals, feed heavily on grasshoppers. Grasshoppers are also frequently eaten by coyotes.

Grasshoppers are also subject to some unusual diseases. A fungus (Entomophthora grylli) infects grasshoppers causing them to move upwards and cling to plants shortly before they kill the insect host. Stiff, dead grasshoppers found stuck to a grass stem or twig indicate infection with this disease. A very large nematode (Mermis nigriscens) also sometimes develops in grasshoppers. Both the fungus disease and nematode parasite are favored by wet weather.

Table 1. Primary grasshoppers that damage gardens
and small acreage pasture areas in Colorado
Common Name Scientific Name Comments
Differential grasshopper Melanoplus differentialis Often one of the first grasshoppers found moving into
gardens and one of the largest in the genus Melanoplus.
Migratory grasshopper Melanoplus sanguinipes Often the most damaging species to croplands. Any early
hatching species and capable of long migration flight.
Twostriped grasshopper Melanoplus bivittatus Often the most common species damaging gardens, it migrates
from empty lots, roadsides, and other undisturbed sites. It often
hatches in late spring, a few weeks later than many grasshoppers.
Redlegged grasshopper Melanoplus femurrubrum A widely distributed grasshopper that feeds on many
garden plants. It tends to be most abundant in moist sites and is
one of the later hatching species.
Clearwinged grasshopper Camnula pellucida The primary species present in recent outbreaks reported
in areas of the West Slope and around Steamboat Springs. An early
hatching grasshopper that restricts feeding to grasses.

Managing Grasshoppers with Baits and Sprays

During periods when a local outbreak develops, control usually involves using sprays or baits. To be successful these need to be applied to developing stages of grasshoppers and concentrated at sites where egg laying occurs. Ability to control grasshoppers declines as grasshoppers develop and migrate.

Surveys of grasshoppers can be very useful in anticipating problems and treating appropriately. Numbers of grasshoppers present in late summer and early fall can be a good indicator of problems the subsequent year. Follow-up surveys the following spring to detect young nymphs can determine when eggs have hatched. Area-wide surveys may locate egg beds and other sites where early season activity originates.

Treatments should be directed at the young grasshoppers and nearby vegetation present in these breeding sites. At lower altitudes, this often occurs in May early June may be the optimal time for grasshoppers at higher elevations. Sprays of insecticides are most effective at this time and several insecticides are effective (Table 2). Insecticide options are greater for larger acreages and unit costs are less expensive. The addition of canola oil to insecticide sprays can improve control by making treated foliage more attractive to feeding grasshoppers.

Alternately, baits containing carbaryl (Sevin) can be broadcast. Bait formulations are made by mixing the insecticide with bran or some other carrier and kill grasshoppers that feed on the bait. These treatments limit application effects on other insects present in the treated area. However, availability of Sevin baits is frequently limited, or prohibitively priced for use on large areas. Baits must be reapplied after rain.

Insecticide treatments do not need to completely cover the area since grasshoppers are mobile. Insecticides applied as bands covering 50 percent of the area, or even less, have proved very effective for control of grasshoppers in rangelands. Backpack sprayers and application equipment modified for use on ATVs can be used in larger acreages. A review of this method, known as Reduced Area Acreage Treatments (RAATS) has been prepared by the University of Wyoming at: www.sdvc.uwyo.edu/grasshopper/atvraats.htm

Where grasshoppers develop over large areas and impact several properties, coordinated area-wide control is very useful. As this requires some additional preparations in planning, early surveys are even more important. Grasshopper control often is much more successful as a community effort.

Once grasshoppers have reached the adult stage and migrations occur, some insecticides may be applied directly to plants. Such applications have only short effectiveness and damage can occur before individual grasshoppers are killed. Furthermore, the choice of insecticides is more limited since few allow direct application to garden fruit and vegetables.

Table 2: Insecticides used to control grasshoppers.
Common Name Trade Name(s) Labeled Uses, Comments
carbaryl Sevin Most formulations allow use on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables
(1-14 day preharvest interval). Available for use as sprays, dust
and in baits.
acephate Orthene Has systemic activity in plants and may persist longer than most
other insecticides. Uses are limited to non-edible crops.
permethrin Many trade names. Widely available for garden use and most formulations allow use
on a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Fairly short persistence
of effect for grasshopper control.
diflubenzuron Dimilin Growth regulator that affects chitin formation as grasshopper nymphs
molt. Effective only on immature insects but has long residual activity.
Restricted Use insecticide. Most use will be by licensed pesticide
applicators on pastures.
Nosema locustae NOLO Bait, Semaspore A biological control that produces infection from a
protozoan. It is relatively slow acting and only effective against
young grasshoppers. Use allowed in Certified Organic crop production.

Nosema locustae Baits

Baits containing the protozoan Nosema locustae is a biological control option that may be considered for treating grasshopper breeding sites. This is sold under the trade names NOLO Bait or Semaspore and can produce infection of many species of grasshoppers. Because it is selective in effects, only affecting grasshoppers, its use is sometimes considered desirable.

There are some limitations to Nosema locustae baits. Only young grasshoppers are susceptible, and it can not be used effectively after adult migrations have occurred. It is also fairly slow acting and does not equally infect all grasshopper species. Often it is most effectively used in a long-term grasshopper management program, in combination with other controls.

Nosema locustae baits are also perishable. They are best kept refrigerated before use. Expiration dates are usually printed on packages and should be checked.

Some Interesting and Unusual Grasshoppers

Among the 100-odd species of Colorado grasshoppers are some that may attract attention because of unusual size, coloration or habit (Table 2). None of these are damaging to gardens and croplands because they do not develop outbreak populations or limit their feeding to plants that are not economically important.

Speckledwinged grasshopper (Arphia conspersa) – This is the grasshopper most commonly observed during warm days of winter and early spring. Eggs of the speckledwinged grasshopper hatch in mid-late summer and they spend winter as nymphs and, later, adults. The adults have colored hindwings, often with a yellow or reddish spot and in flight they make a crackling noise. They limit their feeding to grasses and sedges.

Figure 7. Specklewinged grasshopper. Figure 8. A mating pair of plains lubber grasshopper.

Plains lubber/Homesteader (Brachystola magna) – This is the largest grasshopper found in the region, an may exceed 3 to 4 grams in weight. It has stubby wings and it is flightless, but can be often seen in midsummer slowly hopping across rural roads in eastern Colorado. The body is colorful, with a mixture of green, pink and brown. The plains lubber will feed on many plants, but is most commonly associated with patches of sunflowers.

Figure 9. Carolina grasshopper

Carolina grasshopper (Dissosteira carolina) – A grasshopper commonly disturbed to flight when walking along open areas of bare earth. The hindwings are dark with a light band along the edge and in when flying may hover and produce a faint audible noise. Overall color ranges are light greyish yellow to reddish brown and they often blend well with soil background. They feed on a variety of plants but rarely become abundant enough at a site to cause any serious damage.

Barber pole grasshopper/Pictured grasshopper (Dactylotum bicolor) – This is the most colorful grasshopper found in the state with markings of reddish orange, black and yellow. It occurs in areas of the eastern plains and adults are present in late summer. They feed on broadleaf plants, but usually only those of low forage value and it is not considered a pest species.

Figure 10. Barber pole grasshopper, late stage nymph.

Greenstreaked grasshopper/Snakeweed grasshopper (Hesperotettix viridis) – A bright green, colorful grasshopper found throughout much of the state but most common on the eastern plains. It feeds on a limited number of plants, including many that are considered rangeland weeds (e.g., snakeweed, ragweed).

Red shanks (Xanthippus corallipes) – A large grasshopper active earlier in the year than most species. The body color is irregularly splotched and banded, allowing it to camouflage on bare soil. However, the hindwings are bright pink, orange or yellow. It is a grass feeder found in dry, prairie areas.

Spotted bird grasshopper/Lined bird grasshopper (Schistocerca alutacea) – A very long grasshopper (ca. 2-inch long) and strong flier. The lined bird, S. a. shoshone, is found along riverways and moist ravines where it feeds on various shrubs. The Great Plains/sandhills subspecies, S. a. lineata, is found in dry, shrubby areas with large weeds. Adults are present in late summer and early fall but are never very abundant.

Figure 11. Mormon cricket female. (Photo courtesy John Capinera.)

Mormon cricket (Anabrus simplex) – This large insect is neither a cricket nor a true grasshopper, but a longhorned grasshopper (Tettigoniidae family), related to a katydid. It lives on the open sagebrush/grassland rangelands of the Colorado Plateau and Great Basin at elevations between 6,500 and 11,000 ft. It attracts attention because of periodic massive migrations of millions of individuals that may devour significant amounts of vegetation. Mormon crickets prefer broadleaf plants, but will also eat range grasses and many crop plants.


More Advice on Natural Grasshopper Control

Grasshoppers would rather live in a tall stand of grass and weeds than in your garden, so you may want to let a hedge of tall grass grow up near your garden’s edge in late summer. If you keep your garden weeded, grasshoppers will naturally gravitate toward the grassy patch.

MOTHER EARTH NEWS readers have described several interesting ways to incorporate chickens into a grasshopper control plan, including a fenced garden with a fenced chicken “moat” around its perimeter, and a series of three small fenced gardens, each with a gate into the chicken yard for easy rotation of pecking services. (Sound cool? Check out our instructions on how to build your own chicken moat.) If grasshoppers are getting worse at your place, you may need chickens more than you think.


Grasshopper Control

This single-celled microsporidium protozoan in a wheat bran formulation infects and naturally controls over 90 species of grasshoppers (Melanoplus group), locusts, and mormon crickets (actually a species of grasshopper).

Nosema should be broadcast in affected and outlying areas apply early in the season as the hoppers emerge, which is when Nosema is most effective.

Grasshoppers stop feeding, become lethargic and die after feeding on Nosema-laced wheat bran bait. The disease is contagious and other grasshoppers become infected by cannibalizing diseased grasshoppers in the area.

It is very important to understand that Nosema locustae does not work rapidly. The spores must be applied against the small grasshoppers (by 3rd to 4th instar) in and near the hatching areas for maximum efficacy. This disease can be an effective control, but it will act slowly. It will have little or no impact on later instars or adult grasshoppers that move into your yard or garden.

Putting out the bait at the minimum label rate of 1 lb. per acre will begin the disease process in the current population. Severe infestations may require higher application rates, as there may not be enough bran flakes to go around. Depending on the grasshopper population densities and varying age groups at the time, the level of inoculation will vary.

Nosema does not provide immediate elimination of grasshoppers, but may cause some reduction in hopper numbers in a few days or weeks, but in general it is a slow acting and debilitating disease that offers long-term management of grasshopper populations. There is some Nosema carryover to the next year.

Application rate: 1 to 2 pounds per acre, with second application if necessary 2 to 6 weeks later due to migration patterns.

NoLo Bait is no longer available for the rest of 2020

NoLo Bait is unavailable for the rest of 2020

  • Additional Information about NoLo Bait.
  • Frequently Asked Questions about NoLo Bait.
    • NCSU Sustainable Practices for Vegetable Production discussion of Insect Pathogens
    • University of Nebraska - A Guide to Grasshopper Control in Yards and Gardens

    Permit may be required for shipment outside the continental USA.


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