Help With Grasshoppers The Green Way

Experiencing a grasshopper plague over the course of a couple of summers just does something to you. You start to become desperate and search for every option available to rid your yard of these chomping and spitting pests. They make you crazy.

It really got that bad here and I wasn't sure at the time if I would ever be able to having a living plant or tree in my yard. They literally ate everything to the ground. I researched all of my options and none really seemed to be  a long term fix. And the cost would be high because we live on a couple of acres surrounded by mostly pasture land.  Whatever we chose it would only be a matter of time before the grasshoppers got a green-light that our yard was back open for business.

It wasn't long into the process I started looking into what eats grasshoppers. It wasn't long and I found that Purple Martins were a perfect match for us, if I could only just get them to come. And so they did.

Purple Martins have a lovely song and are fun to watch . Three females and one male pictured.
This is our third summer with them. So far, the grasshoppers have been reduced by quite a bit. I hope this year will be the same. I really would like to keep all of the food we've planted.

I learned nearly everything I could about the Purple Martins from PurpleMartin.org  They have wonderful resources about everything you would want to know. Something interesting about the diet of the Purple Martin from the website:

They eat only flying insects, which they catch in flight. Their diet is diverse, including dragonflies, damselflies, flies, midges, mayflies, stinkbugs, leafhoppers, Japanese beetles, June bugs, butterflies, moths, grasshoppers, cicadas, bees, wasps, flying ants, and ballooning spiders. Martins are not, however, prodigious consumers of mosquitoes as is so often claimed by companies that manufacture martin housing.

I was surprised when I read it. I see they eat bees, but I haven't noticed it being a problem so far. I'm sure there is plenty of other things to eat around here. If word gets out, we may have to add a few more houses for them. This is just another reason that I like to leave pesticides out of my yard. I would feel terrible if I harmed these birds by poisoning their food or them not having enough. Purple Martins rely on humans to provide them housing so that goes hand in hand with care also.

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