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Saturday, June 25, 2005

Tiny green grasshopper of destruction


Tiny green grasshopper nymphs are suddenly all over the place. This one got into my car when I was transporting a potted plant. They are so cute right now, so soon after hatching. Based on adult grasshoppers I've seen around here before, these bright green ones are most likely Schistocerca nitens, the gray bird grasshopper, and therefore related to the destructive massing species (so-called locusts) that destroy crops. Let's see how cute they seem later in summer when they might mow down vegetables, ornamentals and shrubbery in their quest to mature in time to mate and lay eggs before the colder weather either kills them or lulls them into a nearly heartstopping winter sleep.

Whoa. That was depressing. Who wants to think about heartstopping sleep when it's only a few days past midsummer's day? Certainly not these grasshopper children as they jump with amazing force and abandon as I poke around the underbrush with my camera. Their energy, abundance and green brilliance are the distillation of a week's worth of long summer days' sunshine.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey... my friend just caught one of these, around the seal beach area. I fed it to my tree frogs, but the thing was huge. at least an inch and three quarters. Im still trying to identify the species.

Anonymous said...

Hey! There have been small bright-green grasshoppers on my tomato plants- I've yet to see them on any other plant. Any ideas on how to get rid of them? They're eating my leaves!

Anonymous said...

I have them too! I'm in Lakewood. They are tiny little half inch things or less. I'm spraying with dishsoap, but that's when i see them just hop off! grrr.

vanessa cardui said...

I hope I haven't instilled undue grasshopper fear with this post. Greybirds are large, they do eat a lot, but around here they do not form swarms of garden-leveling proportions. They usually chow down a few leaves then move on. The very best way to control grasshoppers is to encourage insect-eating critters (many birds, lizards, spiders, etc) as a part of your garden environment. Also, these grasshoppers lay their eggs in the soil, and if you cultivate the top inch or so in late spring/early summer you can destroy many of the eggs. Good luck!

Anonymous said...

I've got them in Menifee, CA. The best way to get them is at night with a flashlight. Blind them with the light while you sneak your other hand up and grab them or pinch them with your fingers. I found about a dozen on one tomato plant. They were all about 3/8 of an inch long or smaller. I have also found them on my blackberrie
leaves and some of them were about an inch long.

Anonymous said...

These things are in my house! What gives? I hate to kill anything, so I gathered them up in tissue and threw them off the balcony. BUT!!! I found one in my underwear drawer...that is where I draw the line. Why are they coming in my house? Anyone? please? Will they spread disease in my house? I live in Washington state and have never ever seen them before. Help! Thanks.

Anonymous said...

has my question been posted or NOT? I see it there, but can others see it? Thank you.