Lubber Grasshoppers are here!

The Eastern Lubber Grasshopper (Romalea microptera), (also known as Romalea guttata), is destructive to landscape ornamentals, and citrus and vegetable crops throughout the southeastern and south central United States.

Jerry A. Payne, USDA Agricultural Research Service, Bugwood.org


Adult stage lubber grasshoppers are generally 6.0-8.0 cm in length and display a dull yellow color with varying black or red spots or markings throughout its body. The lubber grasshopper has two sets of wings, but they offer little help with flight due to their small size.  Nymphs’ coloring is completely different from adults, making them commonly mistaken for a different species of grasshopper.  The nymphs are typically completely black or occasionally dark brown,  with either a thin yellow or red strip on the head and front legs.

Adult lubber grasshoppers exist throughout the year with a decrease in population during the winter.  Females begin laying their eggs in late summer in a suitable patch of soil, usually a dry area.  The eggs remain in the soil until early March where the new offspring hatch and assemble together to find a suitable food source.  This is why we are seeing a spike in population right now.  You can find the nymphs travelling in a group while the adults are solitary.   Lubber grasshoppers are found in all habitats, especially low, wet areas near woods or pastures and along ditches and roadsides.

There are a few different ways to control lubber grasshoppers.  First, if you deprive them of their food source, they will often relocate or perish.  Keeping the grass area around your garden or crops cut low will help reduce the damage. Second, if your field or house is positioned near a moist wet area where the grasshoppers are found, manage them before they migrate and destroy your plants and crops.  If either one of these tactics don’t work efficiently, hand-pick them and place them in a bucket of soapy water or a trash bag to dispose of them.  In cases where there are too many to hand-pick, insecticides can be applied.  However, insecticides are generally ineffective on adults because the grasshoppers are so mobile.  Some insecticides that can be used for Lubber Grasshoppers are: carbaryl, bifenthrin, cyhalothrin, permethrin, and esfenvalerate.  These chemicals must be applied directly to the insect because the ingredients left on the plant leaves are usually not powerful enough to kill the grasshoppers.  If you do use insecticides as a method of eliminating these pests, make sure that you always follow the label.

Grasshoppers are most effectively removed when they are nymphs.

For More information, please visit:

Lubber  Grasshoppers – Subfamily Romaleinae from the University of Florida Entomology Department

Submitted by Nakita Shim

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