5 Problems Grasshoppers Cause To Your Lawn (And What To Do)

While they may be fun to watch, grasshoppers are about one of the worst pests you can have in your yard. These lively insects can take over a garden and destroy it in days as they tend to travel together in groups of hundreds if not thousands!

Grasshoppers can cause extensive damage to plants and lawns by eating the leaves and stems which stops plants and grass from growing. They also lay their eggs in beds within the soil, taking away important nutrients and space for plants and grass to grow.

Learning what attracts grasshoppers, the problems they cause, and solutions to help with those problems will help you protect your lawn from these hopping insects – so let’s get to giving you the down low!

Key Takeaways:

  • Grasshoppers travel in large groups and can devastate grass and plants in the yard.
  • Grasshoppers eat the leaves and stems of plants and lay eggs in the soil for next year’s generation.
  • Identifying what attracts grasshoppers will help determine effective solutions to repel them from the yard.

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So, What Attracts Grasshoppers to Your Lawn?

Grasshoppers Prefer Dry Soil And Grass

Grasshoppers are particular about the texture and temperature of soil and grass where they live and lay their eggs. If the spring season is more cold and damp than usual, you will probably see fewer grasshoppers that season.

Grasshoppers love dry soil and grass and will seek out yards with overgrown weeds and grass to lay their eggs and have an abundant food source. Oklahoma State University tells us that grasshoppers eat up to 50% of their body weight daily! When they target your grasses as a food source, they can cause some serious damage.

To prevent this from happening, keeping your lawn moist with a sprinkler is a great tool to help deter grasshoppers. If you are like many of us and sometimes get too busy for household chores, using a timed sprinkler can be a great tool to keep your lawn watered. RAINPOINT Sprinkler Timer is a set-it-and-forget-it way to water your lawn.

Grasshoppers Love Tall Grass

Watering your grass will obviously cause it to grow, and grasshoppers like tall grass for protection. Keeping your grass cut short will help keep grasshoppers out.

Understanding the specifics of what causes grasshoppers to descend on your lawn and take over can help in preventing future infestations and help you focus on what to take care of first in getting rid of these pesky insects.

5 Problems Caused by Grasshoppers

Green grasshopper on leaf

Grasshoppers often come in groups of hundreds and can cause lawns and plants to stop growing before they even start. Any time you see holes in your plants or grass, you may have an infestation of grasshoppers starting.

Plants and grass take a long time to grow, so stopping the problems caused by grasshoppers before they start will help you save time and money. Knowing what damage to look for can help you be aware of when an outbreak of grasshoppers is occurring on your lawn.

Problem #1: Causing Even More Damage to Already Dried-out Grass

Grasshoppers love to find patches of grass that are overgrown and slightly dried out. They seek extremely dry soil and grass because those are ideal locations for laying their eggs. The taller the grass and the more weeds there are, the more likely you are to have grasshoppers. They then use the same grass they hatched from as their main meal source for as long as possible.

This can cause extensive damage to lawns because of the holes they create by eating through the blades and roots of the grass.

If you have noticed certain sections of your lawn that are turning brown and look a little shredded from being chewed, grasshoppers have likely caused the damage. Remember that keeping your grass watered and cut short are brilliant solutions to help solve this problem.

The dryer the grass, the more appealing it is to grasshoppers for food and habitat. If you’d like, you can take a look at our guide on the things that attract grasshoppers to your yard so you can eliminate grasshopper attractants.

Problem #2: Destroying Trees and Shrubs

Grasshopper eating maple leaf on a maple tree

Grasshoppers follow an eating pattern of starting with eating the grass where they are born and moving to new locations when that supply has run dry. Grasshoppers take over lawns and gardens in late summer when they have eaten most of the crops nearby that have been harvested.

When grasshoppers move into your yard and have eaten all the plants and flowers in your garden, their next go-to meals are trees and shrubs. These jumping insects can easily destroy small shrubs and even trees by chewing on the roots and leaves.

The good news is that eating trees and shrubs is one of the last things they will resort to eating, so if you can work to control the infestation before it gets to that level, you will help protect the trees in your yard. You can also use this garden mesh netting like FARAER Ultra Fine Garden Mesh Netting to protect smaller trees and shrubs while you work to get rid of the grasshoppers in your lawn.

Problem #3: Depleting Nutrients in Soil With Numerous Egg Beds

Soil depends on nutrients and water to be hospitable to many plants and crops. Grasshoppers are known culprits for destroying soil that is ready for planting. These jumping and flying insects lay egg beds within the soil in late fall and early spring.

One way you can help protect your soil is by keeping it damp and tilled. Grasshoppers prefer dry soil that hasn’t been touched. Watering and tilling the soil in your lawn and garden will not only help keep your soil healthy, but it will also protect it from future grasshopper egg beds.

Tilling the soil can be an in-depth process, but you can focus on certain sections first, such as a flower bed. Using a manual tiller such as Jardineer Hand Tiller will help you focus on smaller sections of your yard at a time.

Experts recommend tilling the soil in the middle of autumn or in early spring when you will have the opportunity to disrupt the grasshopper egg beds in your soil.

Problem #4: Grasshoppers Can Spread Ailments Through Your Garden and Lawn

Grasshoppers are constantly chewing and eating anything they can find. As they eat different plants, they may ingest diseases that will spread to other plants throughout your yard and garden.

One of the more common ailments grasshoppers spread is a fungus known as summit disease. The spores of the fungus attach themselves to the grasshoppers, who then spread the fungus throughout the soil and plants.

If you weren’t convinced already that grasshoppers are bad news for your lawn and garden, knowing that they are spreading fungus will help you understand all the damage these small but mighty insects can cause.

Problem #5: Eating Any Plant in Sight

Grasshoppers are an insect that requires a lot of food daily. Did you know their mouths are specifically designed to chew through tough surfaces? This adaptable trait means they can eat almost any texture of the plant.

While baby grasshoppers (known as nymphs) focus more on softer textures such as flowers or grass blades, adult grasshoppers love to eat crops such as corn, wheat, and barley if they are in rural settings.

On your lawn, the same is true that they will eat pretty much anything they can get their jaws around. While there are certain vegetables they don’t like, such as tomato plants, they have been known to even eat through bark and wood to get to food sources.

They will likely focus on the grass first, but with grasshoppers traveling in groups in the hundreds, many will move on to the plants and shrubs around your yard to satisfy their dietary needs.

How to Get Rid of Grasshoppers in Your Lawn

Grasshopper eating and destroying leaves.

Depending on the time of year you are fighting against the grasshoppers and the amount that has infested your lawn, there are different strategies to use to help get rid of grasshoppers. One of the most important things to remember is to act quickly to help prevent the population from taking over your lawn.

Once grasshoppers grow their wings, they can be much more challenging, as they are much more mobile.

You want to get rid of these hopping insects as soon as you notice them hatching. It is also helpful to make sure you take preventative measures such as keeping your grass cut short and planting plants that deter grasshoppers so that they will find somewhere else to lay their eggs for the next season.

Plant Lilac and Verbena to Keep Grasshoppers Out

There are certain flowers and vegetables that grasshoppers don’t eat that you can plant to help keep them away.

Grasshoppers dislike lilac and verbena plants. Planting these in your garden will help deter them from eating around other plants. Plus, these plants are beautiful when blooming and will bring vibrant colors to your garden for the spring, summer, and fall.

Besides verbena and lilac plants, grasshoppers also avoid plants like lantana, dianthus, salvia, and lavender. These flowering plants will be at your local garden store and add both the benefits of protecting your garden from grasshoppers and beautiful blooming flowers.

If you’d rather not wait for repellent plants to grow to deter grasshoppers, you can read our article on the fastest ways to get rid of grasshoppers indefinitely here.

Use Natural Options Such as Vinegar or Garlic to Dissuade Grasshoppers

Like many other insects, grasshoppers have certain smells that they dislike. While garlic already has a naturally powerful smell, boiling garlic and letting it sit in water overnight to form a garlic spray increases the smell even more.

Then, using the garlic spray, you can spray the locations in your lawn and garden where you have noticed the most amount of grasshoppers.

You can do the same with vinegar, putting it in a spray bottle and spraying where you have seen the grasshoppers congregate. Just keep in mind that this technique works best with a smaller infestation. If you are seeing hundreds of grasshoppers, you will need a more intense approach to getting rid of them.

If you’d like, you can take a look at our guide on the scents that grasshoppers hate for a complete list of scents that will repel these hopping insects.

Sprinkle Flour on Your Plants to Stop Grasshoppers from Eating

Remember that grasshoppers have powerful jaw muscles to consume a large number of plants. However, there are certain techniques you can use to slow them down from eating. Using a bag of all-purpose flour, you can sprinkle the flour on the plants themselves and near the center of the stem.

When the grasshopper tries to eat the plant, they will get the flour instead, which is something they don’t particularly enjoy eating. This technique is a safe option for vegetable gardens as well since flour will not harm any of the edible plants you are growing.

Treat Multiple Locations at Once for Grasshoppers

It can be frustrating to work hard to treat your lawn and garden to protect them from grasshoppers, only to find more jumping insects right after an intense bout of treatment. This is likely happening because neighboring homes and crops have also been infested.

One of the most effective ways to get rid of grasshoppers in your yard is to not only treat your yard but also have your neighbors treat their yards as well.

Having multiple yards treated at once is the most effective way to get rid of a large grasshopper population. Flagging areas that have been treated can help show neighbors where they need to treat next to keep everything organized and efficient.

Create A Border of Grass to Contain Grasshoppers to A Specific Location

A technique that some gardeners have used when trying to get rid of an abundant grasshopper population in their yard is to create a border of tall grass around the garden bed or lawn. While this may seem a little counterintuitive because you are planting more food for grasshoppers to eat, they will probably relocate to the most abundant source of grass, which is the goal.

Getting grasshoppers to relocate to a border of tall grass means protecting the rest of your lawn and plants from their chomping mouths.

There are many options for ornamental grasses to choose from. You can work with your local garden shop to get advice on which grass would be best to attract the grasshoppers in your area.

Attract Natural Predators to Your Yard to Control a Growing Grasshopper Population

A green grasshopper close-up in green grass.

An effective and efficient technique for getting rid of any pest is to guide predators to the location of the pest. Here is a table of the most common predators of grasshoppers:

PredatorHabitatDiet
BirdsVarious habitatsGrasshoppers, insects
FrogsWetlands, grasslandsGrasshoppers, insects
SpidersVarious habitatsGrasshoppers, insects
LizardsGrasslands, desertsGrasshoppers, insects
MantisVarious habitatsGrasshoppers, insects

The grasshopper’s biggest predators are birds. Luckily, birds are fairly easy to encourage to come to your yard.

Installing numerous bird feeders around your yard will attract a variety of species of birds, which will help by eating the grasshoppers as part of their daily diet. Getting a heavy-duty large feeder will help bring in more birds, and the more the merrier.

Slhsy Bird Feeder for Outside Hanging is a great option, as it is waterproof and can hold a large amount of bird seed. Birds such as bluebirds, cardinals, and swallows love to eat grasshoppers as a protein source. Plus, they are beautiful birds to have flying around your garden.

Use Plant Covers to Protect Your Flowers and Vegetables

Since grasshoppers can be such a nuisance, gardeners have figured out some tried-and-true techniques to protect their beloved flowers and vegetable gardens. One of those techniques is using coverings to keep grasshoppers and other pests off of the plants.

You can use plastic or mesh coverings to help protect sizeable areas of plants at once. Using mesh protection is sometimes preferred as it keeps grasshoppers out but still allows you to water the plants without needing to remove the covering.

Contact A Professional

If you’ve tried every method in the book to keep grasshoppers away and they are still destroying your yard, consider reaching out to a pest control specialist using our nationwide pest control finder. A local professional will have extensive knowledge of the pests in your area, like grasshoppers, and can recommend ways to deter them.

That’s A Wrap on Problems Created by Grasshoppers

Seeing numerous jumping insects in your yard can be a little intimidating and overwhelming if you have never dealt with grasshoppers before. But now you know what to do to help protect your lawn.

Remember these tips below to keep your lawn and garden lush and growing:

  • Grasshoppers seek out dry and arid soil and grass. Keeping your lawn watered as much as possible will help keep grasshoppers out and deter them from laying eggs in your soil.
  • Damage done to lawns and gardens by grasshoppers can be extensive, so taking preventative measures using tools and techniques such as netting and tilling the soil can help control future outbreaks.
  • Remember, using plants that grasshoppers don’t like, such as verbena and lantana, can help protect your garden from grasshoppers taking over.
  • Using household items such as garlic and flour can help deter grasshoppers from decimating your plant and vegetable gardens.
  • Get your neighbors involved to help control a grasshopper infestation and make sure all the nearby homes are treating their yards as well for grasshoppers.
  • Investing in plant covers is always an effective tool to use in keeping grasshoppers out of your flower and vegetable gardens. Using mesh netting is usually a better option than plastic.

While grasshoppers are an important part of the ecosystem, too many of them can cause more harm than good. If you only see a few jumping around, keep a close eye on your grass and plants.

However, if you notice more grasshoppers and holes in your grass and plants, then you will need to use the techniques mentioned to get the infestation under control.

References

Belovsky, G. E., & Slade, J. B. (1995). Dynamics of two Montana grasshopper populations: relationships among weather, food abundance and intraspecific competition. Oecologia101, 383-396.

Bownes, A., Hill, M. P., & Byrne, M. J. (2010). Assessing density–damage relationships between water hyacinth and its grasshopper herbivore. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata137(3), 246-254.

Capinera, J. L., & Sechrist, T. S. (1982). Grasshopper (Acrididae)—host plant associations: response of grasshopper populations to cattle grazing intensity. The Canadian Entomologist114(11), 1055-1062.

Mukerji, M. K., Pickford, R., & Randell, R. L. (1976). A QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION OF GRASSHOPPER (ORTHOPTERA: ACRIDIDAE) DAMAGE AND ITS EFFECT ON SPRING WHEAT1. The Canadian Entomologist108(3), 255-270.

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