How to Manage Pests

UC Pest Management Guidelines

Citrus

Grasshoppers

Scientific Name:
Devastating grasshopper: Melanoplus devastator
Valley grasshopper: Oedaleonotus enigma

(Reviewed 9/08, updated 9/08)

In this Guideline:


Description of the Pests

Grasshoppers (order Orthoptera) are robust, elongate insects with winged adults that are good flyers. Commonly they are brown, gray, green, or yellowish insects with greatly enlarged hind-leg femurs adapted for jumping. Grasshoppers have relatively short antennae, which distinguishes them from crickets, katydids, and other Orthoptera, which have long antennae.

Most species of grasshopper overwinter as eggs and have only one generation a year. Adults live and feed for 2 to 3 months, during which females typically deposit elongate pods of about 20 to100 eggs in the topsoil of undisturbed areas. Eggs hatch when soil warms in spring. The nymphs feed on most any species of nearby green plant, molting five or six times before becoming adults.

Nymphs and adults readily move. Each individual typically feeds on several different plants. As vegetation is consumed or dries when the rainy season ends, grasshoppers migrate to succulent plants. Adults, sometimes in a large swarm, can fly several miles a day. Nymphs readily jump, walk, or are carried by wind.

Grasshopper populations vary from year to year. Grasshoppers become more numerous after warm, moist springs produce abundant vegetation in uncultivated areas, favoring grasshopper survival. Conversely, parasites and bacterial, fungal, and protozoan diseases can cause grasshopper populations to crash. Many grasshoppers are eaten by arboreal predators such as birds and robber flies (family Asilidae) and soil-dwelling egg predators such as blister beetles (Meloidae).

Damage

Grasshoppers become economic pests when young tree foliage is extensively chewed by large numbers of insects migrating from unmanaged vegetation. Mature trees are not harmed by grasshopper feeding.

Management

Do not take control action based solely on damage. Caterpillars, earwigs, Fuller rose beetle, June beetles, and snails also chew leaves. Some management methods vary depending on the cause. Where abundant, grasshoppers can be observed during the day feeding openly and flying or jumping among plants.

Grasshoppers can be difficult to manage once large numbers move onto young trees. If you believe grasshoppers may become a problem, monitor for them in uncultivated areas near young trees. Before adjacent vegetation dries or is cut, consider applying insecticide combined with bait or spraying border areas to kill grasshoppers before they migrate and start to damage crops.

Common name Amount to use R.E.I.‡ P.H.I.‡
(example trade name) (type of coverage)** (hours) (days)

  Calculate impact of pesticide on air quality
 
When choosing a pesticide, consider information relating to the impact on natural enemies and honey bees and environmental impact. Not all registered pesticides are listed. Always read label of product being used.
 
A. MALATHION 8 4–9 pt/acre (OC) 24 7

RANGE OF ACTIVITY: Pests: broad (many insects); Natural enemies: most

PERSISTENCE: Pests: intermediate; Natural enemies: intermediate

MODE OF ACTION: An organophosphate (Group 1B)1 insecticide.

COMMENTS: Only treat infested trees to avoid destroying natural enemies of mites, loopers, scales, and other potential secondary pests.
 
** OC - Outside coverage uses 100–250 gal water/acre.
Restricted entry interval (R.E.I.) is the number of hours (unless otherwise noted) from treatment until the treated area can be safely entered without protective clothing. Preharvest interval (P.H.I.) is the number of days from treatment until harvest. In some cases the REI exceeds the PHI. The longer of these two intervals is the minimum time that must elapse before harvest.
1 Modes of action are important in preventing the development of resistance to pesticides. Rotate chemicals with a different mode-of-action Group number, and do not use products with the same mode-of-action Group number more than twice per season. For example, the organophosphates have a Group number of 1B; chemicals with a 1B Group number should be alternated with chemicals that have a Group number other than 1B. Mode of action is assigned by IRAC (Insecticide Resistance Action Committee). For additional information, see their Web site at http://www.irac-online.org/.

IMPORTANT LINKS

[Precautions]

PUBLICATION

[UC Peer Reviewed]

UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Citrus
UC ANR Publication 3441

Insects, Mites, and Snails

  • E. E. Grafton-Cardwell, Entomology, UC Riverside and Kearney Agricultural Center, Parlier
  • J. G. Morse, Entomology, UC Riverside
  • N. V. O'Connell, UC Cooperative Extension, Tulare County
  • P. A. Phillips (emeritus), UC IPM Program, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura County
  • C. E. Kallsen, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
  • D. R. Haviland, UC Cooperative Extension, Kern County
Acknowledgments for contributions to Insect, Mites, and Snails:
  • J. Barcinas, E.S.I., Corona, CA
  • R. Dunn, Badger Farming Co., Exeter, CA
  • J. Gorden, Pest Management Associates, Exeter, CA
  • H. Griffiths, E.S.I., Corona, CA
  • D. Machlitt, Consulting Entomology Services, Moorpark, CA
  • C. Musgrove, retired entomologist, Riverside, CA
  • K. Olsen, S & J Ranch, Pinedale, CA
  • T. Roberts, E.S.I., Corona, CA
  • T. Shea, UC Cooperative Extension, Riverside County
  • J. Stewart, Pest Management Associates, Exeter, CA
  • P. Washburn, Washburn & Sons Citrus Pest Control, Riverside, CA
K. Godfrey, USDA Biological Control, Sacramento
D. Headrick, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo
B. Faber, UC Cooperative Extension, Ventura Co.
J. Kabashima, UC Cooperative Extension, South Coast Research and Extension Center

Top of page


Statewide IPM Program, Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California
All contents copyright © 2014 The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.

For noncommercial purposes only, any Web site may link directly to this page. FOR ALL OTHER USES or more information, read Legal Notices. Unfortunately, we cannot provide individual solutions to specific pest problems. See our Home page, or in the U.S., contact your local Cooperative Extension office for assistance.

Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of California

Accessibility   /PMG/r107304311.html revised: April 25, 2014. Contact webmaster.