About 30 grasshopper species are considered garden pests. They wreak the most havoc in the middle of the country. Like many pests, grasshopper populations rise and fall. In peak years, grasshoppers eat all the plants they encounter, wiping out entire gardens and fields. Initial signs of feeding by young grasshoppers are jagged and tattered holes chewed in leaves.

Grasshoppers have long narrow bodies, with long angled back legs suited to jumping, and a head featuring large eyes and chewing mouthparts. Adult grasshoppers are winged and can fly a good distance, but juveniles are wingless and feed verociously. Eggs generally start hatching from March to June.

To thwart grasshoppers, keep an eye out for egg clusters. The best time to use chemicals and baits is in the spring and early summer. You can use malation, diazinon, acephate, carbaryl, chlorpyrifos, or bran-and carbaryl bait.

Watch for them at night, noting where they're located, and then spray their favorite locations after dark. If you're invaded by grasshoppers, you may want to consider netting for your plants.