Some years, you don’t even notice grasshoppers. They go about their business, not bothering anybody. Then one day, out of the blue, BAM! They descend in swarming masses, and almost before you can blink, every speck of green has vanished from your garden. These scourges happen most often on the hot, dry western plains, but grasshoppers can gang up on any patch of green in the country. When it comes to controlling them, there’s bad news and good news. The bad news is that they aren’t bugged at all by my marvelous mixes and other sprays that knock most other garden pests flat. The good news is that ’hoppers flock to molasses the way bears flock to honey. You can put their craving to work in two ways:
1. Bury a jar up to its rim and fill it with a mixture of equal parts of molasses and water. The hellions will dive right in, and they won’t get out—not alive, that is.
2. Mix 1 part molasses to 9 parts water, and pour the stuff into shallow containers, such as cat food or tuna cans. Set the cans in your garden, and sprinkle breadcrumbs or sunflower seeds around them. Grasshoppers will zero in on the sweet water, and in the blink of an eye, birds will pounce on them and then hang around to help with your other pest-control chores.