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Big Grasshoppers Out of Control

"Big Grasshoppers Out of Control"
by Tom MacCubbin

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Each year it is a different pest that seems to cause gardeners problems. Sometimes it’s chinch bugs, sometimes mites but right now it is big growing grasshoppers. Actually you have to admit they are kind of cute. When small, and they do start off small, they are black with red or orange to yellow stripes. Then they have to grow up.
Lubber Grasshopper
Lubber Grasshopper
Picture: Tom MacCubbin

What you may be seeing is the lubber grasshopper. This is a good name as the grasshoppers when large just seem to waddle along. When they grow up, they are several inches long and a black, brown and yellow color. They are lots bigger than the little squirts many are reporting and a much different color.

All these stages have one thing in common. They are hungry. They eat mainly crinums, amaryllis and similar plants but can move over to other ornamentals and citrus foliage. I guess most just want to know how to get them under control.

Well, when young they are best hand picked and destroyed. Some do the grasshopper stomp and other dunk them in a container of rubbing alcohol. If they are way too numerous, and some say they are, you can use the insecticide Sevin. Do follow the label instructions.

What happens to the lubber grasshoppers that sneak by? Well they lay eggs during the late summer or fall which remain in the ground until next spring to start the next generation.




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