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Grasshoppers

Article author: Pat Porter
Most recently reviewed by: Ed Bynum (2018)

Common Name(s): Differential Grasshopper, Grasshoppers, lubber grasshopper, migratory grasshopper, Packard grasshopper, red-legged grasshopper, two-striped grasshopper

Description

Grasshoppers undergo gradual metamorphosis as the nymphs (immature insects) molt to the next growth stage. This means that nymphs look very much like adults, except that the nymphs do not have fully developed wings. If a grasshopper’s wings are fully developed, then it is an adult. The long hind pair of legs is well adapted for jumping, and adults are good fliers over short distances.

There are many color variations according to species, and many species are well camouflaged and difficult to see unless they move. Other species are brightly colored.

All grasshoppers have mandibles (teeth) and damage plants by chewing chunks of tissue from leaves and other plant parts. The feeding usually begins on outside edges of leaves and the chewed area has ragged or irregular edges. This often looks quite different from the smoother, more even damage done by caterpillars.

 

Origin and Distribution

Grasshoppers are distributed worldwide and occasionally reach serious pest outbreak status causing major crop loss. Occasionally, large flights of grasshoppers are detected on radar.

Habitat & Hosts

Almost any type of plant including corn, alfalfa, Bermudagrass, cotton, millet, peanut, rice, ryegrass, sorghum, Sudangrass, soybean, sugarcane, vegetables, wheat, flowers and landscape plants.

Life Cycle

Grasshoppers deposit their eggs 1⁄2 to 2 inches below the soil surface in pod-like structures. Each egg pod consists of 20 to 120 elongated eggs cemented together. The whole mass is somewhat egg-shaped. Egg pods are very resistant to moisture and cold and easily survive the winter if the soil is not disturbed.

Eggs are deposited in fallow fields, ditches, fencerows, shelter belts and other weedy areas, as well as in crop fields, hay fields and alfalfa. Eggs begin hatching in late April or early May. Hatching peaks about mid-June and usually ends by late June. If spring weather is cool and extremely dry, hatching may be delayed and continue into July.

Young grasshoppers are called nymphs, and they undergo simple metamorphosis. They look like adults, but are smaller and have wing pads instead of wings. Nymphs go through five or six developmental stages and become adults in 40 to 60 days, depending on weather and food supplies. The adults of grasshopper species that damage crops become numerous in mid-July and deposit eggs from late July through fall. Usually only one generation of grasshoppers is produced each year.

Grasshoppers have a high reproductive capacity. The female lays an average of 200 eggs per season, and sometimes as many as 400 eggs. If favorable weather increases the number of eggs, the grasshopper population may be dramatically larger the following year. Grasshoppers cause some damage every year, but they become very destructive during outbreaks. The main factor affecting grasshopper populations is weather. Outbreaks, or exceptionally large populations, are usually preceded by several years of hot, dry summers and warm autumns. Dry weather increases the survival of nymphs and adults. Warm autumns allow grasshoppers more time to feed and lay eggs.

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

Nosema locustae is a protozoan that can be purchased commercially to treat large areas. Its spores have been incorporated with bran to make insecticide baits such as Semaspore®, Nolo Bait® or Grasshopper Attack®. These baits kill some nymphs but almost no adults, though infected adults lay fewer eggs. Baits act too slowly and kill too few grasshoppers to be useful for immediate control.

When grasshoppers are at low numbers, handpicking them is an option. However, when at high numbers control becomes very difficult and insecticides are warranted.

Home garden control options include:

  • Carbaryl (Sevin)
  • Neem
  • Pyrethrins
  • Synthetic pyrethroids

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Bugwood Images

Conchuela stink bug

Article author: Katelyn Kesheimer, Pat Porter, Suhas Vyavhare
Most recently reviewed by: Pat Porter & Suhas Vyavhare (2018)

Common Name(s): conchuela stink bug

Pest Location

Row Crop

Description

The Conchuela stink bug is relatively large, with adults averaging up to 15 mm (0.6 inches) long. Adults are dark green to black with a distinctive red border and a red spot near the tip of their abdomen. These stink bugs tend to be green in the north and black in the south. The nymphs are similarly colored, but more rounded in appearance and lack wings.

Origin and Distribution

Conchuela stink bugs are widely distributed in North America in the United States and Canada.

Habitat & Hosts

In Texas, Conchuela stink bugs are often found feeding on mesquite in large groups in the spring and summer. Later in the season they can be found on sorghum until the grain becomes too hard for their mouthparts, and then they will move to cotton. The stink bugs feed on cotton bolls, which can introduce pathogens and/or reduce yield. Populations are usually restricted to the margins of fields, but when populations are high they will be found throughout the field.  

Other hosts include sage, yucca, mustards and prickly pear. They can also feed on tomatoes, grapes and peas.

Photo of Conchuela stink bugs on a sorghum panicle.

Conchuela stink bugs on a sorghum panicle. Photo: Pat Porter.

A note about cotton: Stink bugs have piercing-sucking mouthparts and damage cotton by piercing small to medium sized bolls and feeding on the developing seeds. Conchuela stink bugs are voracious feeders. It is common to find multiple adults or nymphs feeding on same boll. Stink bug infestations can result in substantial economic losses to growers in the form of yield reductions, loss of fiber quality, and costs associated with control.

Stink bugs prefer to feed on medium-sized bolls (approximately the diameter of a quarter), but are capable of feeding on bolls of any size. Stink bugs may feed on bolls 25 days of age and older. Hard upland cotton bolls or pima bolls in which the lint is near dry are relatively safe from yield loss. Their feeding on young bolls (fewer than 10 days of age) usually causes bolls to shed. In larger bolls, stink bug feeding often result in dark spots about 1/16-inch in diameter on the outside of bolls. These dark spots do not correlate well with the internal damage (callus growths/warts or stained lint). There may be several spots on a boll without internal feeding. Damage to the internal boll wall is a good indication that lint and seed are being affected. Excessive stink bug feeding on cotton results in reduced yield, stained lint, poor color grades, and reductions in physical fiber quality. In addition to direct damage, stink bug feeding can transmit plant pathogens that cause boll rot.

Life Cycle

Conchuela stink bugs overwinter as adults and emerge in the spring for feeding, mating, and egg laying. Females will lay eggs in clusters of about 50 eggs each, typically on the underside of leaves. They have incomplete metamorphosis with five nymphal instars, each lasting 5-7 days. There are several generations per year. 

Management

If you live in the State of Texas, contact your local county agent or entomologist for management information. If you live outside of Texas, contact your local extension for management options.

Home gardeners will find that the synthetic pyrethroid class of insecticides is effective on this pest.

Stink bug control is cotton can be found in Managing Cotton Insects in Texas. Insecticides include synthetic pyrethroids, Acephate and Dicrotophos (2018).

Management in sorghum is discussed in Managing Insect and Mite Pests of Texas Sorghum, which is under revision as of this writing.

Southern green stink bug


Most recently reviewed by: Tyler Mays (2018)

Common Name(s): Southern Green Stink Bug

Pest Location

Row Crop

Description

Adults are about 1/2 to 3/4-inch in length and are solid green. Immature stages vary in color from black for very small nymphs to green for larger nymphs. However, the immature stages have a distinctive pattern of whitish spots on the abdominal segments. Nymphal stages are often found together in high numbers because eggs are laid in clusters that appear as rows of small barrels on and around suitable food sources. Development from egg to adult requires about 35 days, but varies with temperature. Up to five generations per year may occur with greater numbers appearing in the fall before adults overwinter.

Habitat & Hosts

The southern green stink bug feeds on a wide variety of developing fruit, including cotton, peaches and tomatoes, and seeds such as pecan, sorghum and soybeans. They also feed on the parts of many ornamental and wild plants.

In fruit, such as tomatoes, damage is of two types. When the young green fruit is injured, the cells at the site of feeding are killed by the toxic saliva injected by the bugs into the plant. This area of the fruit stops expanding, while the cells around the dead cells continue to expand by increasing their water content. The result is deformed fruit that appears to have dimples. This type of damage has been called “cat facing.” When ripened or nearly ripened fruit is injured, the injection of toxic saliva merely kills a cluster of cells that later forms an off-color hard mass in the fruit, reducing fruit quality and producing a bad flavor to the fruit. Some plant diseases are spread by stink bug feeding.

Life Cycle

Simple metamorphosis adults deposit barrel-shaped eggs; immature stages develop through five stages or instars that appear similar to adults except that they do not have fully developed wings. Several generations can be produced each year.