It’s that time of year again, and farmers are scrambling to find a solution to the problem of lubber grasshoppers in their gardens.
The word lubber comes from the old English term ‘lobre,’ which means clumsy or lethargic, which perfectly describes these pests.
Except for the eastern lubber species, most grasshoppers do not breed in great numbers. The southern states of the United States are home to this species.
They are aggressive and voracious eaters, capable of completely ruining the garden, including citrus crops, vegetables, and decorative plants.
How to Get Rid of Lubber Grasshoppers
Physical characteristics of the lubber grasshopper
Because of its size, the eastern timber grasshopper is one of the most scary insects. At maturity, they can reach a height of 3 inches.
Their bright appearance simply adds to their frightening traits.
Although the insects come in a variety of colors, they are most commonly yellow with black markings. Adults have darker hues and yellow patterns on their bodies.
Despite having two pairs of wings, these bugs are unable to fly. Rather, they crawl or jump from one location to the next. They’re also great climbers, able to creep up big trees to consume sensitive leaves.
Furthermore, due of their toxic secretion, which can kill birds, these pests have a few predators. In addition, as a defense against potential predators, they produce an irritant with a loud hiss.
Life Cycle of a Lubber Grasshopper
Each year, these grasshoppers only have one generation. The eggs hatch in northeast Florida during the middle of March. The nymphs emerge from the ground and start eating plants.
These young nymphs have a completely different appearance from the adults. They have yellow, red, or orange stripes on their front legs or on the side of their heads.
In July and August, they mature into adults and can be observed in considerable numbers. The female adults begin depositing eggs on higher ground around mid-summer.
They lay at least 50 eggs in the ground. These eggs are buried 2 inches deep in the ground and will hatch in the spring.
Eating Habits of Eastern Lubber
At least 100 plant species, including grasses, herbs, shrubs, and weeds, serve as hosts for these pests. Furthermore, eastern lubberjacks have been observed eating uneven holes in foliage before moving on to the next leaf.
They have preferences, despite being huge eaters. Beans, cabbage, kale, lettuce, and peas are some of their favorite vegetables.
Here are some vegetables that aren’t as popular:
In terms of flowers, the following are the most likely options:
Lily of the Amazon
How to Get Rid of Lubber Grasshoppers
The lubber grasshoppers are difficult to eradicate due to their vast numbers and the fact that most adults are pesticide resistant.
Furthermore, because these bugs lay many eggs underground in the soil, pesticides are unable to reach them. When the insects are in the nymph stage, it is the perfect moment to kill them.
Pesticides and other types of control are most effective at this time. Lubbers can be controlled via mechanical, chemical, and cultural approaches.
1. Pests are hand-picked.
Despite their frightening appearance, these insects are rather harmless. Furthermore, their manner of movement causes them to be slow.
You can pick them from the plants with gloves or your bare hands.
Proceed to submerge them in a water-and-dish detergent solution. Placing them in a plastic bag and stomping on them with your foot or a broom is another option.
While this is a viable method of eliminating lubber grasshoppers, it is impracticable in large gardens.
2. Methods involving mechanical devices
Tilling the soil: The female lubber buries her eggs 1 to 2 inches deep in the soil with a foamy material. To kill the eggs before they hatch, till the garden at least 3-inches deep.
Mulch that may be used as a laying ground will be removed as well.
Getting rid of weeds: The lubber favors weedy, moist environments. As a result, removing weeds and keeping your grass short makes your garden unattractive to lubbers.
This is owing to a lack of food and predatory cover.
3. Natural adversaries
Using their natural enemies against lubber grasshoppers is another safe technique to get rid of them.
You may believe that these pests have a large number of predators, but this is not the case. Perhaps you’ve noticed your chicken retreating from them.
This is due to their poisonous secretion, which is deadly to mammals and birds.
Tachinid flies are one of the rare insects that feed on lubbers. Place their favorite plants in your garden to attract these flies.
These flies will naturally assist you in pest control. Carrots, dill, and coriander are among the ingredients.
4. Control using chemicals
Insecticides are the best solution if you have a large infestation of lubbers beyond the methods listed above.
Use pesticides containing bifenthrin, permethrin, cyhalothrin, carbaryl, or esfenvalerate for best results. It’s worth noting that as grasshoppers get older, they gain resistance to the poisons.
As a result, the optimal time to spray is when the nymphs are still young.
Because the residue on the plants will not be efficient in killing the insects, apply the insecticide directly to the insects.
Spraying more than once to get the best results is recommended for killing the lubber. Follow the directions on the containers, especially if you want to use it near water sources or on food crops.
5. Make use of Nolo Bait.
This is a natural pesticide that comes in the form of wheat bran. Use it in your garden and on plants to attract adult and nymph lubbers.
The nymphs are the ones who are most likely to perish, while some adults may make it. The good news is that those who survive have been rendered powerless. This means they are unable to reproduce.
It’s difficult to get rid of lubber grasshoppers. They not only develop resistance to insecticides, but they also have predators.
Controlling the lubber population necessitates the appropriate timing and perseverance.
If you’re going to use pesticides, make sure they have specified active components.