An Autumn Grasshopper in My Garden



Climbing Don Juan a Climbing Rose in my garden plot
Climbing Don Juan a Climbing Rose in my garden plot

It’s late October and my community garden beds are still producing lettuces, pak choi, collard greens, cayenne, and jalapeno peppers.

Collards greens in my garden.
Collards greens in my garden.

A grasshopper has been living in my raised beds for the past two weeks. At least I have seen the insect for the last two weeks. When the garden was full it probably was around all this past summer, but I didn’t see it.


The Harmful Grasshoppers

I think it is a Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis). That is not good. Of the 550 species in North America, it is one of the few harmful species. The others being:

The links are to photos of the different species accounts on outside websites.

Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis)
Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis). Photo by Donna L. Long.

Hidden Grasshopper Eggs

My fear is that a female has laid eggs somewhere in my garden plot and I will have to deal with an outbreak of grasshoppers feeding on my crops.

Almost all garden crops can be eaten by the harmful grasshoppers. Most of the damage will be on the leaves even though they will eat pods, and fruit also.

And the grasshopper is too fast to catch. If eggs are laid they probably have been laid already anyway.

Grasshoppers spend the winter as eggs laid in soil. See also Insects in Winter.

What Will I Do?

I will sift through the beds where I have seen the grasshopper and look for the eggs cases. Grasshopper egg cases are elongated pods filled with between 20-120 eggs. The pods are not placed deeply in the soil but are swallow. I have to dig around the crown or roots of the plants in the garden beds. This is where the female typically lays her eggs.

I could try attracting toads to my garden.

The eggs hatch in mid- to late spring. I can only cross my fingers until then.

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