Many species. Adults and nymphs: Brown, gray, black, or yellow. Strong hind legs. Up to 2 inches long. Most grasshoppers are strong flyers.
Common Host Plant(s)
Lettuce, potato, beans and corn.
Feed on any available vegetation. When abundant, they may destroy complete plantings of such crops as lettuce and potato.
Throughout United States. They are especially troublesome in central and northwestern states.
Female grasshoppers lay eggs in sodded areas towards the end of summer. Nymphs emerge from these overwintering eggs near the beginning of summer and begin feeding on young plants. As the grasshopper nymphs mature, they migrate to other areas and feed on a large variety of plants. Nymphs mature into adults in about 1 1/2 to 2 months. Adults continue feeding until killed by cold temperatures.
Avoid planting gardens next to hay fields and ditch banks with high grasshopper populations. Seedlings may be protected by covering them with netting or cheesecloth. Removal of debris and turning of the soil with help expose the eggs to predators and the weather.
Birds such as crows, catbirds, bluebirds, mockingbirds, and sparrows are natural predators of grasshoppers. Spiders may also eat them.
Treat using a registered insecticide, following all label instructions, precautions, and preharvest intervals specific to the crop.
Virginia Cooperative Extension materials are available for public use, reprint, or citation without further permission, provided the use includes credit to the author and to Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, and Virginia State University.
Issued in furtherance of Cooperative Extension work, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia State University, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture cooperating. Edwin J. Jones, Director, Virginia Cooperative Extension, Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; M. Ray McKinnie, Administrator, 1890 Extension Program, Virginia State University, Petersburg.
April 25, 2011