Grasshopper Jump In The Road

Never one to let a sleeping meme lie, I’m jumping on the Nature Notes meme, begun by Michelle at Rambling Woods, and embraced by RJ at Flamingo Musings.

Nature Notes

My first entry, baby lubbers. To quote from the second best Star Trek movie ever made (Galaxy Quest) “Oh, sure, they’re cute now, but in a second they’re gonna get mean, and they’re gonna get ugly somehow, and there’s gonna be a million more of them.” When these little guys hatch, they are soft, tiny and black with that little yellow racing stripe. Then they eat everything in your yard, and within the month, they are Kodak yellow, armor plated eating machines. They have hot pink and black wings, and they spit an irritant that looks like tobacco juice, only stinkier. And they average about 4 inches long.

Any child raised in South Florida has nightmares about lubbers.

The other morning, as I pulled open the gate, I saw a herd of the little bastards happily munching on my copper leaf hedge.


To truly appreciate the horror, view the full-size image.

Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) on 05/22 at 11:24 AM in As I See It

(9) Comments
#1. Posted by schmutzie on May 22, 2009
#2. Posted by ramblingwoods on May 22, 2009

Welcome to Nature Notes…I am from NY state so I hadn’t heard of these before. I wanted to see what they were and found this…

Eastern lubber grasshoppers possess a variety of abilities to defend themselves. Their bright color pattern is a warning to predators that the lubber contains toxic substances. Indeed, there are several records attributing the demise of individual birds to failure to exercise caution when selecting prey items. Also small mammals such as opossums have been known to vomit violently after ingesting a lubber, and to remain ill for several hours. However, shrikes are reported to catch and kill lubbers.

So no wonder they are such a problem, not many natural enemies to eat them…..Michelle

#3. Posted by Vicki on May 22, 2009

Well, I have to say they sure are cute at the moment. Too bad they grow up to be a plague. Even I might be reaching for a can of Raid, given the circumstances. So… what ARE you going to do about them?

#4. Posted by RJ Flamingo on May 22, 2009

About time you joined in! :-)

I had an infestation of the little bastards in my ornamentals in the front yard, last week. And for anyone who asks: Not a damn thing you can do about them but pick or brush them off the plant and squish ‘em.

I didn’t think to photograph (I was going to say “shoot”) the little ones, but I think I’ve got a shot of an adult one in here, somewhere. I’ll have to find that…

You’ve got such a wonderful variety of “nature” going on at your place, I hope you’ll be a regular contributor to NN!

#5. Posted by RJ Flamingo on May 22, 2009

Pssst! Now go visit everyone else!

#6. Posted by MizShoes on May 22, 2009

Actually, Vicki & RJ, the Noble Dog Nails and I have a game we play when the lubbers get big: I knock them off of whatever plant they are decimating, yell Nails’ attack word, and he kills them. It’s good fun for everybody. Nails gets to be the vermin killer he was bred to be (ok, so they aren’t rats, they’re almost as big), and I get the satisfaction of wandering around the yard holding a martini and affecting a British accent, pretending to be on safari.

As for the little ones, The Renowned Local Artist takes an old soccer ball and rolls it over the swarms, killing dozens at a time.

JoJo, the dog of very little brain, just rolls on them.

#7. Posted by Elise on May 23, 2009

OMG, they look like tiny little firemen!

#8. Posted by Carver on May 24, 2009

I think they are very cute at the moment but I know they can get out of hand.

#9. Posted by Cousin Steve on May 26, 2009

When I was little we used them for batting practice, or when they would be on top of tall grass, golf driving practice.  When we felt really nasty (we were kids fer cryn out loud!) another time waster in the summer was to catch them, pull off their hind legs and feed the ant hills with them.  It was an amusing way to eradicate the varmints…

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