Garden Talk

with Rebecca Jordi

Q: I keep seeing these small black grasshoppers with red stripes. What are they?

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Lubber nymph

Lubber nymph

A:  This is the early stage of the large Eastern lubber grasshopper, Romalea microptera, which can grow to over 3 inches long.  They can be extremely colorful making them very easy to identify.  Color variation can be from light yellow to dark black with many variations between. We would recommend you get rid of the young grasshopper now as it is an eating machine and it likes just about anything green.  Insect growth regulators will stop it from reproducing any more grasshoppers or you can simply take the Rebecca Jordi method and smash it.  I particularly enjoy killing them knowing I am reducing the future population and I find it very therapeutic. The young, black grasshoppers are often found in large numbers clustering together on weeds or green vegetation.  “Lubber” is derived from an old English word “lobre” which means lazy or clumsy.  There are some very serious chemicals but you must weigh that against the possibility of killing beneficial insects at the same time.  Take the smash method route instead!! Check out the publication from the University of Florida Entomology department.
http://entnemdept.ufl.edu/creatures/orn/lubber.htm

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