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a swarm of grasshoppers/locust out in fields/foothills/rangeland of southern california HELP!

 
Shawnn Taylor
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Since May 15th 2020 we have been under siege with millions of grasshoppers emerging from the fields/foothills beyond our neighborhood.  
We have been looking for HELP from as many agencies as we could contact with no luck.
Two entomologists came out to look at what was taking place.

This is on 1/2 an acre property.  The grasshoppers have eaten the garden, the flowers, the herbs, the fruit and almonds from the trees.
We wanted to use only non toxic remedies with NO success.

We used flour, corn meal, Neem oil with Tea Tree oil and Diatomaceous earth food grade, over 70 lbs.
By the time we saw them in the garden/yard, it was too late.  
One day they were not there and the next they were all over everything.
I will attempt to attach photos.

It was like walking on a live carpet of grasshoppers.  They would rain on us from the trees and jump up from the ground.
At one point we could not see out our windows.  Like a horror show.  The power of nature!

We contacted the Regional Vector Control they would not/could not help.
City, County and State offices, nothing.  The city told us in the neighborhood, that we are private homeowners and they could do nothing to help us.
Not taking into account they are coming from the field beyond our homes.  
They continue in swarms out in the field/foothills where the cattle and horses are grazing and have grazed for over 50 years.
Now they are traveling down the hill to other neighborhoods.

If anyone in this group has encountered this problem what did you do?  Whom did you contact?
We can't stop them from coming into the yards/neighborhood.  
Now they are mature and will be laying eggs which begins another cycle.

Thank you for any suggestions.

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Gilbert Fritz
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Hope you get some answers! That looks terrible. Has the weather been different this year in any way?
 
Marco Banks
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My chickens are thinking, "How far away is that?  You think we could hitch a ride over there?"
 
Ben Zumeta
pollinator
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I am sorry to see your bad luck. I agree with Marco and would look to harvest that excess of protein and frass with birds. I doubt you could really do anything about the swarm itself and protecting your garden seems a lost cause. You should have some great bird song and fertile soil soon though!
 
Shawnn Taylor
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Hope you get some answers! That looks terrible. Has the weather been different this year in any way?  
Gilbert Fritz

It was extremely rainy in 2019 winter/spring.   This winter/spring was warmer and less rain.  Perfect storm for the grasshoppers hatching.

My chickens are thinking, "How far away is that?  You think we could hitch a ride over there?"
Marco Banks

Everyone is welcome to come and get some for their chickens/ducks/?.  Plus if you fish!  Or want to eat them.  There is plenty for everyone.
The fields/foothills/range land is a couple of hundred acres filled with protein.  It is truly overwhelming according to the Entomologists.


I am sorry to see your bad luck. I agree with Marco and would look to harvest that excess of protein and frass with birds. I doubt you could really do anything about the swarm itself and protecting your garden seems a lost cause. You should have some great bird song and fertile soil soon though!
Ben Zumeta

We have been collecting a bushel barrel full of dead grasshoppers every 24 hours from the pool filter.  We had other water and soap traps all over the yard, at this point, we don't know what the point is.  I will see about posting those photos.
Yes, we are keeping them to use in the compost.  They don't seem to mind cannibalizing each other, it only attracts more.*
I guess with the frass if it is only a couple of grasshoppers not in social swarming mode it would repel them.*
The birds and the lizards are full up on grasshoppers they just avoid them at this point.  
World out of balance.

 
Jordan Holland
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Can you imagine the terror people would have felt back when their crops were all they had to eat? There are stories of swarms so thick their weight broke the boughs out of trees. Sorry for your luck. Maybe a greenhouse is in your future? Sometimes all you can do is pick up the pieces and start over.
 
Anne Miller
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I have read about several grasshopper plagues that occurred back in the 1800's.





https://www.mnopedia.org/event/grasshopper-plagues-1873-1877

My only solution would be to suggest covering your plants with some old sheets and to get some chickens or Guineafowls.  Though I don't think they could keep up with the amount you have.



 
craig howard
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Oh that is just terrible to see.
Also saw a similar scene on the news tonight.
They were called locust but them looked like grasshoppers.
 
Villagers were being paid to collect them to be dried and ground for chicken feed.
 
Edward Lye
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Any way you can adapt this biological weapon?
 
William Erickson
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¨Grasshoppers are attracted to ultraviolet light. That's why the insects are often found swarming glowing bulbs of white light. If residents want to do something about the bugs, they can switch out the lighting around their homes with amber-colored lights."

Maybe in the night put a bright ultraviolet light in the fields - with a strong fan behind it to suck´um in - and then process´em into a fishmeal product to market.
 
Tereza Okava
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Right now another swarm is headed toward the junction of Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay. They have made a real mess in Argentina so far, and the region they are about to cross over in Brazil into a rice-growing region, and farmers are scared. The government has authorized aerial spraying with insecticides (sigh) but it looks like the weather may cooperate- a large cold front is coming up from the south pole and bringing with it freezing weather and storms. Not sure where they're going to end up but nobody wants these bugs. The images of the destruction they leave behind are terrifying.
 
Paula Broadfoot
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Yikes!  I have had this happen at my property, which is one of the reasons I got chickens and Guineas.  I will note that the swarms of grasshoppers we have had in the past few years, are greatly diminished.   I did use grasshopper bait, which has to be applied early, to help control the population explosion, did work well a few years ago.  They come under the trade name of Nolo Bait, Semaspore, et.al.,   and are based on a microbe that kills the early stages.  That also seemed to reduce the destruction in the following years.
https://www.arbico-organics.com/product/nolo-bait-grasshopper-control-nosema-locustae/organic-insecticides

Obviously too late for this year, much like my initial situation with the swarms destroying my garden.  Row covers helped with the destruction, in the years that the adults got ahead of me.
 
Erik van Lennep
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Shawnn Taylor wrote:Since May 15th 2020 we have been under siege with millions of grasshoppers



Yikes, that's dire! Permaculturally-thinking, although small compensation, they are an excellent source of protein. The problem is that there is no market to absorb such abundance. From what I've read, locusts and grasshoppers are the same species. The grasshoppers morph into swarming locusts under specific environmental conditions. Worth researching that further, but I don't imagine it's all that useful once the swarm has descended. It could be useful in predicting.

I often think that if some innovative entrepreneurs took an interest, a high impact and profitable company could be set up (ideally as a cooperative) to source a roving supply of locusts for conversion to protein feeds. Imagine if the darkening horizon of an oncoming locust swarm signaled a bonanza rather than a catastrophe! When you think about the atrocious conversion rate of wild fish for every increment of farmed fish, that alone would more than justify focused work to capture and use locusts for fish food. Setting up local collection sites and dehydration/pelletization facilities could enable local farmers and pastoralists in locust-ridden regions to capture the bounty and spread the income out over many months as the product would be readily stored.

If anyone wants to chase that idea up, let me know.

I can report from personal experimentation that quick-fried grasshoppers taste as good as fried shrimp. Maybe a bit crunchier, but good enough to snack, and sweet revenge :)

I know that doesn't dent the issue for your situation Shawnn, but maybe there's benefit to being provoked into more circular and permie type thinking.
 
Donald Ray
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DUCKS!

This movie provides all the positives of using ducks. He does not mention grasshoppers but that would be a prime food for ducks. Don't use chickens in the garden though:https://www.youtube.com./watch?v=baXSrl5Vmb0

don
 
Nathan Bears
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John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey, he might have been onto something.
 
Erik van Lennep
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Nathan Bears wrote:John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey, he might have been onto something.


So they say. Others have interpreted "locusts" as carob beans, native to Yemen and probably ranging into the Baptist's wilderness.

If of course, hundreds of years of oral recounting, springing from even more years of 'dueling deities' (your savior survived being abandoned in the bulrushes? Hah! Ours walks on water!), etc, translated from ancient Aramaic, into Hebrew and then Latin, through several total shifts in German and old-middle-new English enabled any sort of actual transmission of original claims. But I digress. Carobs could well have been the 'locusts'.
 
Rebecca Darg
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¨Grasshoppers are attracted to ultraviolet light. That's why the insects are often found swarming glowing bulbs of white light. If residents want to do something about the bugs, they can switch out the lighting around their homes with amber-colored lights."

Maybe in the night put a bright ultraviolet light in the fields - with a strong fan behind it to suck´um in - and then process´em into a fishmeal product to market.



I don't think that light was a problem.
I HAVE read about those fans, though. IF you have a way to do this, insect protein is much better than red meat for us. Maybe you could save some dehydrated grasshoppers for yourself. They are delicious when fried, do NOT EVER boil them.
If you prefer, then absolutely, all the other uses seem viable. As well as the other solutions suggested. I doubt any good chemical poison has been found to control any insect population explosion, though. Locusts have been with us for as long as we know, they have "attacked" fields of grass in past centuries.
 
elle sagenev
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Poisoning wasn't an option for us. By that I mean we got a letter in the mail saying the state was doing it and that was that. The state poisoned them.

Netflix had a show about natural plagues I watched years ago though. They had a grasshopper one. Apparently grasshoppers are cannibalistic and they go in waves like that because they're trying to flee getting eaten by each other. Fascinating.
 
Anomika Anderson
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EAT THEM! Check the species make sure they are edible and not poisonous (as some are). Then marinade them in a jar over night and roast them up. So good, you won't believe people have lost this custom in the west and choose hotdogs instead??? They are delicious and full of healthy.
 
Lina Joana
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You aren’t alone....

https://www.vox.com/videos/2020/6/24/21301608/locusts-east-africa-cyclones-middle-east

Bad year, apparently. No good solutions for something of that magnitude.
 
Deb Fearon
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I'm on the high prairie of New Mexico and I'm having a very similar experience to yours. It's heartbreaking to watch all of my trees, roses and shrubs get defoliated. I'll admit to avoiding my yard altogether,hiding in the house and having episodes of depression. I've applied over 35 pounds of nolobait with little results.
I had an episode of grasshoppers about 6 years back where I lost all of the tree leaves and perennials . After the rains and the next Spring some of the plants came back. I call them my survivors and honored their strength and resilience. I was inspired to build indoor growing rooms and fashioned screened in spaces for the smaller trees. This year I'm very grateful for my indoor growing rooms as I still have hope for food production and a place to gaze upon flowers. I've fashioned sitting areas, though cramped, I enjoy my coffee out there and sing little songs to the plants that are growing this year.
I'm afraid I haven't any other solutions to the grasshopper problem. I can only offer emotion support and the vision that this maybe a time of stripping away of everything. Mother nature has great wisdom and though she's terribly out of balance, she is working her magic to bring us back to a new state of creating. I've had to settle great sadness within myself and I'm moving into resolve and discovering my own resilience. these are crazy times to be sure and the lessons are fast and furious.
I held a small ceremony for all the lost plant lives and the leaves of the stronger plants. It's helped emotionally and I trust Mother Nature will present hope and new beginnings.
If I wasn't so squeamish, I'd make a nice organic grasshopper flour, I hear it's very high in protein.
 
Shawnn Taylor
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East Africa, India, Middle East, Argentina, Brazil, Kenya, Ethiopia, and Somalia. AND areas of New Mexico, So. California.
The articles keep coming reporting of new Locust and grasshoppers swarms.

 
Mike Turner
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Back in the 1800's and early 1900's, farmers used to make hopperdozers to trap and kill swarming grasshoppers.   It works  well in controlling grasshoppers on flat fields and pastures.   It was an easily manufactured device that was horse drawn, slid on runners featuring a tall flat screen that the grasshoppers disturbed by the dozer would jump up and hit, then fall into shallow trays filled with soapy or oil covered water where they would drown.  Google " hopperdozer" for images, smallfarmersjournal.com has an article about grasshoppers with good info and  drawings of hopperdozers.
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Shawnn Taylor
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Deb Fearon wrote:I'm on the high prairie of New Mexico and I'm having a very similar experience to yours. It's heartbreaking to watch all of my trees, roses and shrubs get defoliated. I'll admit to avoiding my yard altogether,hiding in the house and having episodes of depression. I've applied over 35 pounds of nolobait with little results.
I had an episode of grasshoppers about 6 years back where I lost all of the tree leaves and perennials . After the rains and the next Spring some of the plants came back. I call them my survivors and honored their strength and resilience. I was inspired to build indoor growing rooms and fashioned screened in spaces for the smaller trees. This year I'm very grateful for my indoor growing rooms as I still have hope for food production and a place to gaze upon flowers. I've fashioned sitting areas, though cramped, I enjoy my coffee out there and sing little songs to the plants that are growing this year.
I'm afraid I haven't any other solutions to the grasshopper problem. I can only offer emotion support and the vision that this maybe a time of stripping away of everything. Mother nature has great wisdom and though she's terribly out of balance, she is working her magic to bring us back to a new state of creating. I've had to settle great sadness within myself and I'm moving into resolve and discovering my own resilience. these are crazy times to be sure and the lessons are fast and furious.
I held a small ceremony for all the lost plant lives and the leaves of the stronger plants. It's helped emotionally and I trust Mother Nature will present hope and new beginnings.
If I wasn't so squeamish, I'd make a nice organic grasshopper flour, I hear it's very high in protein.



Deb,
I know how you feel.  AS for collecting the grasshoppers, sounds easy, it is not.  even with millions of them.  they are quick.
At the end of the second week, I mourned and grieved the garden/yard and all the plants.  It was overwhelming.  Scary too because at that time they were swarming the house, couldn't see out my windows or go in/outside of the house.
As the Rancher shared they are fierce this year, worst he has ever seen them.
My friends suggested a ceremony, for the earth- out of balance, the plants and the insects (grasshoppers).
We have a mini nursery of plants that we moved into our enclosed screened area.  
I will post what we have used, what worked and what the plans are for the future.
Please stay in touch.
Debra
ps the leading USDA entomologist is in New Mexico right now, on a research trip.


At this point I do not want to see another grasshopper for a long time.  Let alone eat them now, they smell disgusting.  After watching them cannibalize each other, no thank you.
(yes, I have had grasshopper taco's before)
from reports we have read eating too many locusts can make the chickens and ducks inedible.
I will attempt to post photos of the fields and foothills behind the neighborhood.

 
Shawnn Taylor
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here is part of the area beyond the neighborhood for visualize context.
It doesn't take into account the whole range land.
foothills-beyond-2020.jpg
foothills beyond
foothills beyond
fields-beyond.jpg
fields beyond
fields beyond
 
John Hutter
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Well it is pretty darn repulsive to the average westerner, but really it's mostly a cultural thing a person can get over.  Or for me, it took about 5 bites, despite the very real nauseous knot in my stomach near Iquitos for the first time I ate a locust.  Wait this is like, some kind of extra savory potato chip? Where's the goo and cartilage crunch I was so grossed out by in my head?  Turns out it was just in my head...although I'm sure preparing and cooking them correctly has a lot to do with it, and there's probably some types that don't taste very good.  However, if they are grazed on desirable fruit and nut tree foliage, it seems they'd be pretty choice.  

Turning bugs into duck eggs would best to my palate, but the swarm event seems likely to overwhelm any available bird grazing.  So if a locust swarm ever encroaches in my area, I'm going to get some processing facilities ready and go jellyfishing


Sorry about the losses!  But your well established perennials will be back
 
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