It’s Lubber Grasshopper Season!

Eastern lubber grasshoppers are very interesting because in the early part of their lifecycle when they are nymphs, their colors are black with a red or yellow stripe, whereas adults are yellow with patterns of red and black. They can do significant damage to citrus, vegetable crops, and landscape plants, feeding on the tips or edges of leaves. The lubber grasshopper is native to Florida and the Southeastern United States. Most birds do not eat them because of their toxins, except the loggerhead shrike, which impales the grasshopper on a thorny bush or fence to denature the toxins before eating it.

Young lubber grasshopper. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

Gardeners have a choice of how to manage them in their home landscapes. Some choose to let them coexist in the landscape and others wage war on the lubber grasshoppers, killing them by hand squishing, insecticidal sprays or cutting them with scissors.

Eastern lubber grasshopper. Photo: John Capinera, UF/IFAS

If you’re going to use a spray to manage them, spray early in their lifecycle when the grasshoppers are still immature for best results.

As the grasshoppers grow into adults they are more difficult to kill with chemicals. Look for insecticides containing the following active ingredients carbaryl, bifenthrin, cyhalothrin, permethrin, esfenvalerate, and Spinosad for lubber grasshopper control and apply as specified in the label.

Damage from lubber grasshoppers on crinum lily. Photo: Tia Silvasy, UF/IFAS

For more information, see the EDIS publication on Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera)

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Posted: April 1, 2024

Category: , Florida-Friendly Landscaping, Fruits & Vegetables, Home Landscapes, Lawn, Pests & Disease, SFYL Hot Topic, UF/IFAS Extension
Tags: Florida-friendly Landscaping, Grasshopper, Hillsborough, Insect, Landscape, Pest, Tampa

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