Romalea guttata, known commonly as the eastern lubber grasshopper or just lubber grasshopper, is a grasshopper, native to the southeastern and south central portion of the United States. It is the most distinctive grasshopper species within the southeastern United States, and is well known both for its size and its unique coloration. It can reach nearly 3 inches (8 cm) in size. It was previously known as Romalea microptera.
The first time I saw one was in the tree (above) and even though it looked like a grasshopper, it couldn't be one... it was yellow and BIG! This thing was every bit of 3 inches or more!
Then... there was this guy! I was just totally amazed! While I was taking his picture, he was following me with his eyes...big eyes... and moving around the bamboo. If I went to one side, his eyes followed me and when I got to a certain point, he did this little shuffle to the other side.
The following information and more, can be found here.
I was told that in Florida, besides a big problem, they grow more than 4 inches, and the only way to kill an adult is to step on it! YUCK!The eastern lubber grasshopper is limited to the southeastern and south central portion of the United States. The northern boundary is central North Carolina west through southern Tennessee, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, to Texas. It occurs throughout Florida.
Distribution of Romalea microptera, the eastern lubber grasshopper.
Adults. Adult males and females are usually 6.0 and 8.0 cm. long, respectively. The body is quite robust while the legs remain relatively slender. The general color of adults is dull yellow with varying degrees of black spots and markings. The front pair of wings (tegmina) are yellow with numerous scattered black dots, while the hind wings when exposed reveal a bright red/rose coloration with a black border.
adult, light color phase
The color of adult lubbers also varies throughout most of the insect’s range. One phase is nearly entirely black with a few marks of yellowish tawny. The adults of this phase seem to resemble the nymph. However, the different phases are indeed the same species.
adult, intermediate color phase
adult, dark color phase
Populations cycle up and down, possibly due to the action of parasites. The tachinid fly Anisia serotina (Reinhard) attains high levels of parasitism, sometimes 60-90%.
Lubber grasshoppers will often develop initially in moist areas around ponds and irrigation ditches, then later migrate to homes, yards, and crops. Rather than waiting for the grasshoppers to come to you, it is often best to take the battle to them. So check potential breeding or feeding sites for signs of grasshoppers. The young grasshoppers remain clustered in groups, but as they get older they are more likely to be solitary. If you cannot control them through mowing, try hand-picking. You can throw them into a bucket of soapy water or a trash bag to kill them.
cluster of young nymphs
If there are too many to control by hand-picking, insecticides can be applied. Lubber grasshoppers are not easy to kill, even with insecticides, once they become large. Among the insecticides that will kill lubber grasshoppers are carbaryl, bifenthrin, cyhalothrin, permethrin, and esfenvalerate (note: these are the technical names, which appear in the 'ingredients' section on the label). You likely will have to apply the insecticide directly to the insects; the small amount of insecticide residue remaining on sprayed plants may not be adequate to kill the grasshoppers.
If insecticides are to be used, be sure to apply them according to the directions on the label of the container. Especially if insecticides are applied to food crops or near water, it is important to heed the directions. Most of the insecticides listed above are toxic to fish.