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My Garden Nightmare–Landlubbers

12 Feb

Live and let live..   I am the intruder.  We can exist  in harmony, I preach.

IMG_0003That was before I got chased by that  !^%#)  landlubber .  I had never seen one,  She looked like a big, black grasshopper;who was upset.   I was interfering with her activity, (what ever that was).

My neighbors claimed  never having had to deal with this creature, but as the years have passed, my experiences have given me an insight into it’s habits and ability to survive.

Let me share some facts about my worst enemy, who has no enemies, it seems.

By the first week in April, Spring in in full swing in zone 8.  Daffodils have about finished their show, bearded Iris will soon fill my borders with color and the daylilies are pushing foliage that promises a riot of color in the not too distant future.

In the  Spring I start my day strolling through my yard, coffee cup in hand,, looking for that new plant pushing through the mulch, or poking that bloom stalk heavenward,  maybe I’ll find one starting to bloom.

Ah, today I dream of the unfolding beauty that is surely just a day away!

 Then I See The Enemylandlubber grasshoppers

Landlubbers laid pods of eggs which were deposited in the ground last year.   The warm spring temperature is great for my plants, but it provides conditions these things need to hatch………….in droves!

In the photo (right) notice the damage these nymph have inflected on liriope.  Soon the tough liriope will be ignored when they discover more succulent growth as they begin to roam.

These nymph will go through five (sometimes six) stages of growth before becoming adults..

They are voracious feeders at every stage, in my experience, reducing large tomato fruits  to a nub overnight.  Folks, I have found a single Lubber eating that tomato I have been mentally savoring for a week!

The adults tend to congregate as pairs, rather than groups, it seems.

Numerous bearded iris, amaryllis, dahlias (both blossom and/or foliage of all).as well as vegetables  have been ruined by these lumbering creatures in my gardens.

Landlubbers are strange 

Lubbers do not fly, they have rudimentary wings.   They jump, when in a hurry, other wise they simply lumber to their desired location.

 The adults seem to be territorial. They will aggressively charge intruders (that’s me), barking and spitting to get me out of their area.

They have no enemy, in South Carolina (except me): I understand  a fly  helps keep them in check in more tropical areas.

How do I try to control them?   Well, they are the one creature I take great delight in decapitating!!!!   Most literature suggest drowning them in a pail of soapy water.   If I am going to have to chase them individually anyway,  I figure she suffers less by decapitation than struggling as she drowns!  Saves me trouble of preparing and carrying a pail of water around.

Breeding pair

The female is the larger of the pair.  I guess, to his credit, the little male stays with his lady love to protect her when she is laying her eggs. 50 to 60 eggs at a time are pushed into the ground, protected by a hardened frothy shell where they will incubate until the warmth  of spring  brings the nymph out of the earth to torment me another year!

The “lubber” designation aptly describes this grasshopper.

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1 Comment

Posted by on February 12, 2014 in garden enemies, Gardening, Tomatoes, Vegetables

 

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One response to “My Garden Nightmare–Landlubbers

  1. Deb S Smith

    April 7, 2014 at 11:17 am

    These beautiful but voracious hoppers destroyed my Spider Lilies last year. I am also in SC but have not yet noticed any babies this year – – so far! My neighbor squishes them. I try to relocate them to vacant lots nearby. 🙂

     

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