During a grasshopper infestation in Jerome, Arizona, I asked our local gardeners what to do. After 20 suggestions for entirely different solutions. I stopped asking. I understood why Jerome, Arizona is sometimes called a village of 400 people and 1000 opinions. Maybe it’s that way with all small towns, but Jeromans seem to thrive on contentiousness. Home sweet Jerome is not always so sweet. I almost put the suggestions in my book, Home Sweet Jerome, but it wasn’t entirely relevant to a book about the rescue of this old ghost town by a lot of hippies and oldtimers that stayed behind when the ines abandoned this copper mecca in 1953.(www.homesweetjerome.net),
For those who are serious about getting rid of grasshoppers, the first two solutions are best.
1. Shake some Diatomaceous earth on your plants. It contains ground-up skeletons of algae-like plants called diatoms, which contain lots of calcium, silica and other trace minerals. When the grasshoppers eat this, it cuts their intestines to pieces and they die.
2. Use an environmentally safe product like Nolo Bait, which infects them and cuts down on germination.
3. Distribute bottles containing one part molasses with ten parts water. The grasshoppers will jump in and not jump out.
4. Spray your plants with a mixture of soap and hot chile peppers.
5. Put garlic in a food blender, mix with water and spray it on the plants.
6. Go out early in the morning when the grasshoppers are sluggish and gather a bunch of them. Put in a blender and spray the plants with the mixture.
7. Get a battery-operated tone generator tuned to a frequency they don’t like. Of course, you’ll have to experiment to find the right frequency.
8. Use more mulch so they can’t hatch.
9. Plant enough for you and the grasshoppers.
10. Pay your kids a dime for every grasshopper they collect.
11. Put a larger fence around your garden and keep chickens. The chickens will eat the grasshoppers, and besides, then you’ll have fresh eggs and lots of fertilizer.
12. Get toads. Toads will eat anything that moves. There’s a lot of ‘em down at the Verde River.
13. Spray the plants with hair spray. They hate it.
14. Spread powdered sugar on the ground. The grasshoppers will eat that instead.
15. Connect a hose to the exhaust of your car, start it up, and hose ‘em with carbon monoxide.
16. Smash them dead with a golf club.
17. Sprinkle bran on the plants. They eat it and explode.
18. Poison ‘em with Malathion 50 (or other insecticide).
19. “I don’t know. But I’m going to need an answer soon!”
20. If all else fails, you can eat them. Fry them up in a little olive oil, crunchy and tasty if you have good stuff growing in your garden.
No wonder I stopped asking.