big grasshopper face eating the garden

How to Deal with Grasshoppers and Hornworms in Your Garden

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Grasshoppers and hornworms are two of the most common and destructive pests in the garden. There are ways to control them and save your hard work, even if you are a beginning gardener.

Tomato hornworm eating a tomato plant

Insects that eat plants

Grasshoppers and hornworms are a big issue for gardens because they can quickly destroy entire crops. Depending on where you live grasshoppers can grow incredibly large making it easy for them to eat large amounts. Grasshoppers in all stages of life will eat leaves and stems of plants wearing them down to nothing.

A single hornworm can strip a tomato plant in just a day or two. Because of their bright green color, they can be hard to spot in the garden and easily take over without being noticed until it is too late. These fat green caterpillars become moths that can easily go from garden to garden unnoticed. I always only know they are there because of their poop. Unless the whole plant is stripped bare, then I know to look for one.

How to prevent pests in vegetable garden

Strong scents like peppers, vinegar, and garlic are great for repelling grasshoppers. You can use these substances to make a spray that can be used around your garden to help keep these pests at bay.

Cayenne pepper can be mixed in with water and sprayed directly on the plants to act as a safe natural repellent. Planting garlic around and in your garden beds is a great way to repel these pests through companion planting. Other great companion plants to help repel grasshoppers include basil and dill.

You can use tall grasses to help create a trap of sorts to keep grasshoppers out of your garden. Try lining fence ways with tall natural grasses and grassy fragrant herbs like lemongrass to act as a barrier to help keep these pests out of your crops. Check and treat these grass traps for grasshoppers often with a garlic and cayenne pepper spray or allowing your chickens to roam through the grass and eat any visitors.

tomato hornworm on a tomato plant eating it to a nub

How to get rid of tomato hornworms

Hornworms are vicious predators to your tomatoes, papers, potatoes, and eggplants. The good news is that you can repel the moth that lays eggs that become these heavy munching pests by planting some fragrant herbs that happen to make a great companion plant for your tomatoes including basil, marigolds, and dill.

You can get rid of and repel these pests with a mix of cayenne pepper and water just like you do for grasshoppers making this mixture a powerful tool if you live in an area that deals with these pests. Because hornworms can be difficult to see in your garden this can be a great option for treating your plants if you are unsure of the pest that is munching in your garden

One of the best methods of defense for your garden is to invite predators that like to eat grasshoppers and hornworms. Birds will quickly sweep away these insects before they can destroy your garden. If you have chickens, allowing them to wander through the garden supervised before your plants are producing food that they could peck at is a great way to get rid of grasshoppers and hornworms with little to no work on your part.

Parasitic wasps can be a great asset for dealing with hornworms as they lay their eggs inside the hornworm killing it and stopping the production of even more hornworms while helping to increase the production of parasitic wasps that help to control these pests. to encourage these beneficial insects to come and stay in your garden place a bug house nearby providing them with shelter.

If you already have a problem with grasshoppers and hornworms in your garden the best thing you can do is to handpick them. This can be challenging due to their bright green color; they tend to blend into foliage and if you do not get rid of them they can destroy your garden overnight.

Pick these insects out and immediately kill them. If you allow them to live they will reproduce nearby and lead to even more of these pests in your garden. Hornworms can be tossed into a bucket of soapy water while you collect them. Both grasshoppers and hornworms make a great treat you can give to your chickens. Either alive or dead collect them to feed your chickens.

There are many other garden pests to worry about, but grasshoppers and hornworms are the most common and destructive. The squash bug is a close second. They are voracious, but not everyone has them.

vegetable garden rows in spring

But you can garden without pesticides if you are vigilant about your gardening process.

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