East Africa has been hit hard by a locust infestation and they have just come to Mongu this past month.
Although they are small, they will get bigger after destroying crops.
Here are some natural, low cost ways to try stop them from eating all of your crops. I suggest sprinkling your crops with all purpose flour as the most cost effective method but if you have garlic, spray that first.
Do this as soon as you can, don’t wait for them to reproduce!
In the wild, swarms usually appear after a rainy period followed by a time of drought. After rains, populations of grasshoppers explode, Burrows says, because there is food aplenty. But when the land becomes parched and grass scarce, the populations get pushed into smaller and smaller areas, becoming more packed as desirable pasture diminishes, he says. At a certain point of density, the swarm-inducing serotonin gets triggered and the locusts set off en masse to find greener pastures. After that, few things — other than an end to the food supply or an ocean — can stop them.
Burrows says that locusts can switch out of swarm mode, though it takes days rather than hours. He notes, however, that the about-face rarely happens in the wild, because the offspring of locusts that breed while swarming are born swarmers.
1. Apply a Garlic Spray
Garlic odor can help deter grasshoppers and other common garden pests. To make the garlic spray, blend two bulbs of garlic with 10 cups of water then heat up the mixture until it starts to boil. Next, let the mixture sit overnight.
To use the garlic spray, fill a spray bottle with one part garlic solution and three part water. Once ready, spray the solution onto the leaves of affected plants. Be sure to spray the undersides of the leaves as well.
2. Dust the Leaves with Flour
Flour can cause grasshoppers to starve by gumming up their mouth. Get some ordinary all-purpose flour (don’t use other types of flour as they may contain substances like salt) and sprinkle a thin layer on the leaves of affected plants.
3. Introduce Natural Predators
A long-term solution is to attract natural grasshopper predators to your garden. For example, many species of birds, such as swallows, like to feast on grasshoppers. To attract these birds, you may want to set up a birdbath or a feeder in the backyard. You could also consider introducing beneficial insects, such as praying mantis, to the garden.
4. Set up a Long Grass Trap
Grasshoppers prefer areas with long grass. You could try and isolate the grasshoppers to one area of the garden by growing a patch of uncut grass in an isolated corner. This could make it easier to catch and get rid of grasshoppers.
5. Raise Your Own Chickens or Guinea Fowls
This obviously won’t work for everybody but chickens and guinea fowls do a great job of eating grasshoppers and other common garden pests. There are many great resources you can read online if you are interested in raising these birds at home.
These birds can also help control other common pests in the backyard, such as ants and cockroaches. Insects, as long as they haven’t been exposed to toxic pesticide, are a good source of food for these backyard birds as they are a strong source of protein.