Is this Grasshopper a Danger to My Lawn? The Eastern Lubber
You may be wondering what an Eastern Lubber is…well it’s a type of grasshopper that I guarantee you’ve seen at least once. In their adult stage they are large, yellow, and have black accents all over their body. You may have thought they were locusts, but locusts are a little different than these hoppers. Unlike grasshoppers locusts go through a gregarious phase; when food is abundant they congregate in a swarms that can be devastating to an area. Luckily the Eastern Lubber IS just a grasshopper or Floridians would be in a rather bad situation around spring time.
What Do They Look Like?
The juvenile Eastern Lubber known as a nymph is easily spotted. The main characteristics of these young grasshoppers are a black body, 2 antennas, 2 long back legs that overlap and the most notable feature……a long colorful stripe going down the body. This stripe can be yellow, red, orange or any shade in between. Usually if you see one juvenile you can expect to see many when you look a little closer.
The adult stage is a similar shape but larger and the colors have reversed; the grasshopper is now yellow with dark accent marks all over. You can even find adults that have a darker appearance but it’s less likely than their brighter counterparts. The adults can vary in size from 1 ¾ inch to almost 3 1/2 inches in length!
Are They Dangerous to My Lawn?
Eastern Lubbers are devastating to plants…but not your lawn. These grasshoppers eat mainly foliage on plants so the leaves of plants are their main target. They also eat many different plants, so your bushes or even vegetable garden is at risk. They do prefer certain plants to others. Some of their preferences include lilies, lettuce, kale, peas, petunia and oleander.
Eastern Lubbers are not dangerous to humans or animals unless they are ingested. They have enough toxin to kill a small mammal or bird species but not enough to kill a human. Because of this, it is recommended that you keep your pets away from them and try not to go searching on an empty stomach.
How Do I Get Rid of Them?
Ridding your lawn of the Eastern Lubber is no easy task. Like any pests finding them when they are young is ideal especially when dealing with this insect. As they get older they start to become resistant to pesticides so when they are nymphs you should strike. There are many different pesticides over the counter that you can buy to eliminate them. Try asking your local pest control company for advice. Most companies don’t specifically target Eastern lubbers but are usually glad to give you the best advice to help you remove them yourself.
You can also prevent them from taking over your garden by keeping your lawn trim and cutting down excess branching and flowering on plants so they aren’t tempted to eat your ornamentals.