How to Manage Pests
UC Pest Management Guidelines
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 to 100 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).
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.
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.
UC IPM Pest Management Guidelines: Avocado