Grasshoppers are one of nature’s true wonders but they’re also voracious plant pests, so finding a grasshopper on plumeria plants that you’ve lovingly cared for might be more than a little frustrating.
In this article, we will run through some of the best ways to prevent grasshoppers, and some of the possible control options that are open to you, without damaging other wildlife.
Grasshoppers on Plumeria leaves
Grasshoppers eat anything green that they come into contact with, with some species acting as incredibly beneficial predators against common plumeria pests like aphids and ants.
Firstly, it’s important to say that grasshoppers are very, very, beneficial insects to have in the garden. They support huge populations of birds, help control more damaging pests, and are a great sign that your garden is thriving.
However, grasshoppers on plumeria are frustrating because, beyond anything else, they eat everything they come into contact with and are particularly attracted to more rigid leaves like plumeria leaves. In the rest of this article, we’ll look at how, and why, grasshoppers damage plumeria leaves, as well as how to stop grasshoppers, and how to deter grasshoppers.
Are grasshoppers bad for plumeria trees?
Grasshoppers rarely cause lasting damage to plumeria trees, as they are grazing insects and don’t colonize plants, but if you have a grey garden devoted to brickwork and concrete, with one of two prized plants, they will focus their attention on those plants they can find. In those circumstances, grasshoppers can eat every leaf on a plumeria plant in just a couple of days.
Obviously, a tree without leaves is weakened, and the results can kill plumeria trees as they are unable to photosynthesize in the middle of the growing season, but later in the article, we’ll look at some very effective ways to control grasshoppers without killing them, and how it can add a whole new dimension to your garden.
How do grasshoppers damage plumeria leaves?
Unlike whitefly, mealybug, or spider mites, grasshoppers don’t leave sticky honeydew behind them, and their bites are usually crisp and clean, so there is very little risk of fungal infection or bacterial infection as a result of grasshoppers on plumeria leaves, but if they damage the stems, that will almost certainly allow the fungal infection to strike.
How to Prevent Grasshoppers on Plumeria
Rather than how to ‘treat’ grasshoppers on plumeria, we’re going to talk about prevention, and deterrents, because a grasshopper is one insect that you want in the garden. They don’t spread disease and are much cleaner than other bugs. Their eggs hatch much less frequently than smaller insects too, so they will rarely get out of control.
There are four brilliant, and organic, ways to reduce the risk of grasshoppers damaging plumeria trees:
- Create a bird-friendly garden
- Use flour
- Remove undergrowth around plumeria trees
- Reduce weeds and long grass in the garden
Below, we’ll look at how to achieve each one in more detail:
Create a bird-friendly garden
Grasshoppers are irresistible to birds, so if you don’t already feed birds in your garden, get started! Feeding birds in the garden doesn’t have to cost a penny, and often, leftover food scraps are more than enough to encourage birds into the garden.
- Apple cores
- Staler bred (cut small)
- Cooking fat left to set mixed with seeds and nuts
All of the above make excellent bird food, without costing you anything other than time.
The best way to bring birds into the garden is with bird feeders, filled with a mix of seeds to attract varied species.
As well as bringing birds into the garden to eat, think about nesting boxes. What birds live in your areas? Nesting boxes with holes adapted for them prevent them from being predated and make them much more likely to choose to nest in your garden. In spring, when they raise their young, they will feed directly on insects from the garden and will happily control your grasshopper problem without you having to lift a finger.
Use flour to protect against grasshoppers
One method of stopping grasshoppers is to use flour. Personally, I would suggest using this method with caution, as flour can set in wet weather and cause fungal spores to build-up on the surface of plumeria leaves, but if used sparingly in dry weather, a light dusting of flour is very effective against grasshoppers.
Grasshoppers don’t like flour as it sticks to their feet and prevents them from moving as easily. It also makes them stand out to birds against the pale white of the dusted leaves. If you do try flour as a preventative, use it only when grasshoppers are actively affecting plumeria plants, and wash it off thoroughly after no more than a week.
Remove undergrowth around plumeria trees
Grasshoppers, as the name suggests, love tall grass and move through the undergrowth. Not only does underplanting plumeria trees deplete their water supply, but it is also a great hiding place for grasshoppers. Keep the area directly beneath your plumeria clear from foliage, grass, weeds, or even ornamental plants as this provides an easy route to your plumeria tree for them.
Reduce weeds and long grass in the garden
Grasshoppers live, hide, and rest in the long grass. I’m an advocate of keeping grass long and encouraging wildflowers as it’s a great way to create a wildlife garden on a budget, but it does create problems for ornamental and tropical gardens, particularly those with thick leaves plants like plumeria, where grasshoppers mate and thrive in those conditions.
If you’re passionate about tropicals, consider keeping a neater lawn, and stay on top of weeds and wildflowers in the garden as you are much more likely to have visiting grasshoppers in those conditions.
Grasshoppers on Plumeria FAQs
How do I keep grasshoppers off my plumeria?
The best way to keep grasshoppers off plumeria trees is to encourage birds in the garden. Birds are the most efficient natural predators of grasshoppers, and will also help reduce other pests in the garden.
What is eating my plumeria?
If you can’t see caterpillars, mites, or mealybug across your plumeria plant, the pest might actually be the fast-moving grasshoppers. Known for their speed and ability to hide from view incredibly effectively, grasshoppers are often the culprit of stealth attacks on plumeria leaves. They can eat entire leaves in less than a day, but controlling them is surprisingly simple.
How do you get rid of grasshoppers naturally?
Grasshoppers hate flour. If you don’t want to use pesticides, or actively kill grasshoppers, using a light dusting of flour can be a quick fix that prevents them from landing on plumeria leaves.
Grasshoppers are very beneficial insects in the garden, and ideally need treating as part of a wider food chain. While they can damage plumeria leaves, the effects are usually temporary, and rarely create infection on well-ventilated plants.
Next time you find a grasshopper on plumeria, consider encouraging more wildlife, not ess, as this will help keep pests under control, including grasshoppers on plumeria leaves.