Plains Lubber Grasshoppers are Colorado’s largest species of grasshopper.
It has been decades since grasshoppers have ravaged Colorado crops in the way that Rocky Mountain locust did in the late 1800’s and very early 1900’s; however, there are still periodic outbreaks of other species that result in crop, garden and landscape damage. One of the most common insects observed during outings, there are roughly 145 different species of grasshoppers that call Colorado home. From the colorful barber pole grasshopper to the dull colored clear winged grasshoppers, the varieties in color and size are numerous. Grasshoppers are considered leaf browsers and outbreaks may result in plants being stripped of their foliage at an astounding rate. Grasshopper eggs are laid in loose soil in late summer to early fall and will not hatch until the following year in the late spring. Newly hatched grasshoppers immediately seek out broadleaf plants and begin feeding. As they grow, grasshoppers molt, shedding their too small exterior “skin”. Five to seven molts are common and vary by species. Most adults are winged and some can fly for extended distances enabling them to move from location to location. For the most part, outbreaks of grasshoppers at this point peak for a few years and then naturally resolve and drop down to normal levels. Crop control occasionally may be necessary.