The Eastern lubber grasshopper (Romalea microptera) is a large flightless insect common to Florida. The word “lubber” is derived from an old English word meaning clumsy or lazy, which is a perfect description for these lumbering pests. You may have seen them around your home, and if so, you’ll probably want to do something about them before they become a significant problem.
Lubber grasshoppers are one of the few flightless species of grasshoppers that gather in masses to destroy crops and ornamental gardens. In Florida, they begin to appear in late winter. Lubbers grow to be quite large and are easy to spot. The males are typically 2.5 inches long, while the females grow up to 3.5 inches.
Brightly colored, their red and yellow shades serve as a warning to predators that they are toxic, sometimes even deadly, when ingested. As an added defense, lubber grasshoppers secrete an unpleasant odor when startled. The scent combined with their dangerous coloring usually deters natural predators, allowing a lubber population to easily grow out of control.
Lubber grasshoppers are social, often seen walking in groups. And while they are terrible jumpers, these insects are excellent climbers and can be found crawling up plants, shrubs and trees. Lubbers can defoliate entire plants overnight. They have voracious appetites and are not picky eaters. No vegetable or ornamental garden is safe from a large population.
What you can do to avoid a lubber grasshopper infestation
When finding lubbers in small numbers, you can remove these clumsy crawlers by hand to relocate them or knock them into a bucket of soapy water if relocation is not your ideal solution. It is also a good practice to keep your lawn and vegetation short and mowed. Lubber grasshoppers are drawn to overgrowth and tall plants.
When facing a serious infestation, it is always recommended to call in a professional. Store-purchased insecticides don’t often work on such large, mobile pests. Lubbers are also relatively undeterred by common insecticides. This is because the grasshoppers eat treated plants regularly and develop a tolerance to the low dose of chemicals.
Without professional help, ridding your yard of lubber grasshoppers can be a real challenge, but you can rely on the experts at Slug-A-Bug. We will eliminate your pests to keep your lawn and garden beautiful and healthy. Contact us today for a free, no obligation assessment. Call (321) 259-7844.
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