Wednesday, July 8, 2009

How To Scissor Grasshoppers

And the zen-like euphoria it produces.

Option 1 -- It's easiest to approach them from behind. Slowly, very slowy close the gap between the blades, then snip fast. This works about 20% of the time.

Option 2 -- Get them against the fence; it's harder for them to jump away or to get cover. Works about 25% of the time, but you scratch your fence.

Option 3 -- This is the best! They think that you can't see them so they scurry to the underside of a leaf. Well, considering how much damage they've done to almost evey type of plant in my garden so far (and it ain't even August yet--we're talking complete skeltonization of 3' x 3' plants and hundreds of hoppers), I'm willing to sacrifice a leaf or potential flowering stem to get them. Just snip right through the leaf. Approximate the middle of their body by their attennae and legs sticking out from behind. Works about 50-60% of the time, if not more once you get in the zone.

The art of grasshopper killing with scissors is an ancient one, handed down from the Chinese and Japanese bonsai masters--and popularized by Mr. Miyagi with his catch-a-fly-with-chopsticks technique. Try it! Not only will you feel calm and focused, you may have killed or seriously injured a female grasshopper.

In my book, even a legless grasshopper isn't as much of a threat as a two-legged insect. (And obviously the bigger they are, the easier they fall.)

Let the hate mail and comments for disgust ensue, but keep in mind pepper spray and molasses isn't working (esp molasses), and I don't believe in pesticides. This seems pretty darn organic to me, especially as I scissored about 20 tonight.



Victoria Summerley said...

Who am I to criticise? I kill snails with a rolling pin.

Plowing Through Life (Martha) said...

Meh... You do what you gotta do with pesky critters that destroy the garden. At least it's a quick death.

rebecca said...

After every snip return to Mountain pose and it can turn into a yoga workout.

Rob (ourfrenchgarden) said...

Fair enough! I happily crunch snails underfoot, splat slugs with a rock so deal with the hoppers.

One small thing though, you do seem a little 'into' it mind, ha.


Benjamin Vogt said...

Who knew I'd find such an amiable bunch?
Victoria--Rolling pin? Holy cow! But do you roll them, o whack them?
WR--Not reallya quick death. When they are cut in half the legs and head still move, as if trying to jummp away. It's strange. And I feel 9 again.
Becca--novel sugestion. Love it!
Rob--Actually, I'm 50% disgusted with myself. But what is one to do? Aren't we always 50% digusted with ourselves anyway?

Mary Beth said...

At first I was shocked, but what a simple method - and I can imagine the Zen to it too! Namaste

Les said...

My joy comes in dispatching Japanese beetles between my thumb and index finger with a satisfying crunch. If I am feeling more industrious, I will get a bucket full of soapy water to knock multiple of the bastards into. They struggle for a few minutes and then it is a wet soapy lights out. Perhaps my dislike of this creature comes from the fact that it eats and has sex at the same time, and I don't.

Anonymous said...

I spent several days picking out all the slugs in my tiny garden and throwing them into the street. I looked out and a small army, perhaps 40-50, was sliming back towards me, the tiniest an inch and the largest seven. Then my hero came - the mockingbird. I watched him spear and swallow, again and again. By the third day when I walked into the yard, he flew over and stared at me. When I did not begin heaving nasty yellow-green cords into the street, the bird cursed me. That was last year; I look for him in vain now, but still those damn land mollusks destroy my plants - waiting for the dark, however.

Anonymous said...

OMG! I've never been to your blog before today, but I just discovered that we are kindred souls. I totally started snipping grasshoppers in half a couple of weeks ago, too! I've been afraid to admit it to anyone for fear of scathing disapproval, but I love it sooooo much!

It started when I was outside with some scissors getting some basil and one of those big ole Biblical-locust sized horrors flew past my head and landed on a leaf in front of me. I panicked, and without a thought I thrust my scissors his way and cut him in half. I stared in horror for a second at what I'd done, but I was so pleased at how well it worked that I've since adopted it as my sole way of killing these assholes. Keep it up and maybe we can both make a dent.

Lynne said...

I've enjoyed your pictures and tales about your garden, but never realized that grasshoppers could do so much damage to your creation. I admire your system for dealing with them- shows real tenacity.
While we rarely see grasshoppers in the our back garden, we do have a pest that can do significant damage- black bears.
Last evening, I heard a loud crunching sound, and whipped out the back door to see what had happened. A juvenile bear ( about 2-3 yrs. 150 pounds) was tearing apart a fallen log at the back of my yard. Just backed into the house quietly & closed the door. Scissors are no help here.
Best of luck with those hoppers.

Benjamin Vogt said...

Mary Beth--Trust me. Try it. :)
Les--Well, you just need practice then. Maybe I'll write a book on the subject (sex while eating).
Anon1--I love it! You don't have to do anything gross but prepare th buffet!
Anon2--A dent onl, alas! Kindred souls indeed. I'm caving in though and buing very low doses of Sevin in bran flakes which should only affect grasshoppers, but I still don't like having that evil chemical around my ben. insects.
Lynne--Holy cow! I mean, bear! I still might rather have the bear than grasshoppers, but then again, grasshoppers can't maul you to death. Can they? I do have nightmares of their jaws ripping off my skin like leaves...

Thanks for visiting me, everyone!

Pam said...

I never understood the grasshopper thing, until one summer when I visited a friend in College Station, Texas. There was an infestation of locusts - and I so understood the whole plague thing. It was craziness. They were devouring everything.

Now cutting them with scissors...oh, I can't judge you. I see a snake and run to find my sharp hoe - and the snakes aren't eating my plants.

When the grasshoppers...go away? I guess what I'm asking you guys have a grasshopper season?

Jenn said...

And the buffet is open to the insect eating birds. Come and get it, guys!

Benjamin Vogt said...

Pam--Apparently we do have a grasshopper season, it's called summer. Much worse this year. I've got low dose sevin coming as a last resort to stave off what's here now and next year's eggs. Snakes--I rememeb my uncle, when I was a kid, taking a snake to the empty lot enxt door of his house and chopping it's head off. Image is burned in my brain.
Jenn--Where are hose birds!? We have tons of birds, but apparently only when we fill the feeder. What?