What conditions would cause an increase in grasshoppers? What can be done to keep them from eating flowers and vegetables in cottage gardens?
Grasshoppers of many species have increased across the country due to warm and dry conditions, which give them more time to complete their growth cycle and mate, as well as allow more young to survive. Typically, a population surge continues for a year or two beyond the conditions that caused it, so even though one summer may be fairly cool and wet, you’d still see the results of a warm-weather increase.
There are no chemical pesticides to control grasshoppers, but since cool, moist conditions slow them down and encourage the growth of fungi (which cause disease in grasshoppers), keeping plant beds moist and well irrigated may help ward them off. To protect small areas, try using st sticky paper or screening. For veggies, floating row covers – held down by soil and rocks – let light and moisture in and allow for growth while keeping hopping and flying insects out.
Over a larger area, there’s not much to be done beyond waiting for the population to recede – as it will, given the cyclical nature of grasshopper infestations.