“Battle”, a copyrighted post, was written for my WordPress blog called Always Growing by Jan in Covington, Louisiana
Battle! The last two weeks I have been in an epic struggle with grasshoppers. Not your ordinary green ones, but these black devils, the lubbers (Romalea microptera). These things are huge! About 4 to 5 inches at least.
While I do not have biblical proportions of the creatures, the daily hunting and killing of these things makes it seem that there are hundreds. In my search for ways of dealing with these amaryllis-eating machines, I have found that the only thing that I can do is squash them. I used to be very squeamish about doing that, but after seeing what they can do to an amaryllis, I have no mercy.
They only seem to be bothering the amaryllis; it must be like candy to them. I had a some amaryllis that was chewed on last year, and this year they did not bloom. I am thinking it must be because the lack of leaves prevented the development of flower buds. This year there seems to be more grasshoppers and more damage, so to protect my amaryllis, it is all out war!
Do you see how not only the leaves but also the bulb itself has been eaten? To combat these horrible eating machines, I have taken to going out in the early morning and lightly spraying the garden with the water hose. If there are any grasshoppers around, this will cause them to climb up foliage or jump unto the lawn where I can squish them. When they are in the garden beds, however, I can’t stomp on them without damaging plants. So, I spray them with a quick shot of wasp killer spray, and this causes them to fall or move to a place where I can stomp them. I rarely am unable to finish them off when I use the spray (I want to put them out of any misery quickly), but if they escape, I think the wasp spray will kill them. I also go outside later during the day to check, too. Lately, we have been having afternoon showers, so finding them then is easier as they climb up plants to dry off. I worry, though, about what will happen when I have to go back to work and can’t make these forays into the garden to check for grasshoppers – they are supposed to be active until November!
My research tells me that these prehistoric-looking monsters have no real predators because they secrete a toxic substance and can be difficult to control. Some recommendations are spraying with brake cleaner fluid or WD-40 (must have something to do with clogging up their breathing systems), but I can’t imagine using either of these fluids in my garden. So, I’ll stick to the stomp method unless anyone out there has any other suggestions.