Meadow Grasshopper

Family Name

Chorthippus parallelus

Characteristics

Type:

Jumping – Flying

Size:

Females grow to approximately 0.79 inches and are larger and less active than males that grow to approximately 0.59 inches.

Colour:

The meadow grasshopper can be variable in colour with green, brownish, purple-red and pink forms recorded, although green forms are most common. Colour forms are genetically determined and some populations can show high frequency of pink grasshoppers.

Behaviour:

Meadow grasshoppers are most active during the day, but also feed at night. They do not have nests or territories and some species go on long migrations to find new supplies of food. Most species are solitary and only come together to mate, but the migratory species sometimes gather in huge groups of millions or even billions of individuals. When a grasshopper is picked up, they ‘spit’ a brown liquid which is known as ‘tobacco juice’. Some scientists believe that this liquid may protect grasshoppers from attacks by insects such as ants and other predators. They ‘spit’ the liquid at them, then catapult up and fly off quickly. Grasshoppers also try to escape from their enemies hiding in the grass or among leaves.

Habitats

The range of the meadow grasshopper extends from the Atlantic coast of Europe to the Urals. It is found from Scandinavia in the north to southern Spain and Anatolia in the south. It prefers moist vegetation and in southern regions is typically found in river valleys and at altitude (up to approx. 6,500 feet), not being found in arid areas. Meadow grasshoppers live in fields amongst long grass, meadows and just about anywhere they can find generous amounts of food to eat.

Tips for Control

Grasshoppers do have natural enemies who attack them in egg, nymphal and adult stages of their life. Predators that eat grasshoppers in the egg phase of life are bee flies, blister beetles, crickets, ground beetles and other insects. Some adults of these insects, such as the field cricket, can destroy up to 50% of the egg population in one area. Natural enemies of nymphals and adult grasshoppers would be birds, spiders and rodents.

Chemical control is also another method that can work in reducing or eliminating grasshoppers. Be sure to carefully read the label for cautions and proper application. It is extremely important to never spray on days that are windy. Over the past few years, diflubenzuron has been the preferred chemical to control grasshoppers. When diflubenzuron comes in contact with grasshoppers, it hardens the exterior of their body causing them to die. The advantage to using this chemical is that it is non-toxic to adult insects like birds, bees and mammals. However, it is toxic to immature aquatic insects.