Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Critters from the Underworld

An Invasion of Devil's Horses

In the early 70’s, my father's parents lived in an old house while they were building their dream home a couple miles down the road. This home had typical old house characteristic like squirrels in the attic and leaks in the roof. Oh, and um....... a ghost named George.

I clearly remember hearing George’s footsteps. Thinking my grandfather was home from work, I ran to the door…. no Gramps. "George again." George ended up moving to my grandparent’s new home, opening doors and walking heavy throughout the house. Once, George even startled house guests in an upstairs bedroom.

When Grandpa would finally get home from work, we would walk around the yard and admire the marigolds, the buttercups, and the hydrangeas. I also recall stepping on these large black grasshoppers. Hissing, popping, red, striped, giant, grasshoppers. I am sure some of these were the size of my sandals at the time.

Until late last summer, I had forgotten about these grasshoppers. I grew up about 2 miles from here and they were never in our yard there. However, they popped up everywhere at ThirteenEleven devouring all my perennial transplants.

When they started showing up about a week ago, I thought I would see what the Internet had to say about these shiny black creatures with the red or yellow stripe. Maybe there was an easy way to rid our yard and save our plants.

The adult Eastern Lubber is resistant to many insecticides. Birds do not eat them, and those magic lizards that I allow to hang out on the deck leave them alone.

Oh…So that is why the stomping worked best.
They are small now, but they will grow to 4"-5" long. Eugh!
I have squished over 100 so far.
Double eeeeuuuuugh!
I read where these were called Devil's Horses by ol'timers.


Jen said...

Yikes! 5 inches!!

Last night I had a dream that there was a hive of asian hornets in my house ( ) and your creepy grasshoppers sound like they are the same size. That's way too giant for insects to be. Five inches is getting into rodent or even small puppy size. Ick.

Anonymous said...


--renovation therapy

natalie said...

bugs gross me out. seriously. and grasshoppers/crickets?!

even worse!!!

i think i would move...or at least hide in the house for a couple of months!

Sandy said...

I agree... ewwwwwwww! It gives me the heebie jeebies!

marilyn said...

I am perpetually amazed by how huge everything is in the South - little bugs from the north become giant manhunters and our little houseplants become trees in your yard. It is astounding!

Those bugs are gorgeous. Now stomp 'em.

Green Fairy said...

I think they're kinda pretty, but I certainly wouldn't want them chomping my flowers.

Jenni said...

I agree they are kinda pretty, for a bug. (High gloss, strong accent colors.)
I left them alone last year until they ate every thing I had transplanted from my old yard. When I would pluck them off, they would hiss at me.

Sadly, they did not eat the Kudzu.

D said...

Flour. Generously sprinkle flour on your plants. As the grasshoppers chew on the flour covered plants, the flour gums up their "mouth", they can't eat or drink any more and they DIE! Also the organic man, says: 3 step program for the grasshoppers. 1. Nolo bait on the ground while the grasshoppers are small. 2. Encourage as many birds as you can with feeders and attractive plants. 3. Apply a particle film product. Mix kaolin clay at 1 quart per 2 gallons and add 1 tablespoon of liquid soap. Spray plant thoroughly to coat with the white material.

Anonymous said...

Ok, as I told you the other day, Grandma told us they were called "Mules". MIL

maya said...

yuck. YUCK! i hate those things!

Anonymous said...

My cousins in the Black Belt of Alabama called them "ned-hoppers". An old gentleman in southwest Alabama called them "soldier boys". It seems they liked old graveyards.