Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Grabbin’ Green Fruit and Grasshoppers

I mentioned in a previous post that I have been spending some time with my parents. I was also with my brother and sister (and her husband).

One evening, Daddy asked me if I wanted to go out to a citrus grove with him and pick little green fruit. So off we went. It was a pleasant evening with a breeze off the lake and not too warm.

These are some young trees and it is better for the first few years to remove any of the fruit early so that the energy can be used toward tree growth. These little fruit can grow so heavy that the limbs break. So the task is to grab them and pull them off and drop them on the ground, trying to get them all. They can hide surprisingly well.


But there were other things hiding in the trees--- but not so well: BIG grasshoppers! Some of them were just huge. They were mating, so if there was one, there were two in the tree. If there were two, there might even be four. One little tree had six.


This it the eastern lubber grasshopper, Romalea microptera. Of the pair, the larger is the female.


These grasshoppers are very destructive to the citrus trees, and must be taken out.


I was good at spotting them and Daddy did most of the removal as I didn’t have gloves. I knocked a few out when he was not beside me to get them. We did about 16 trees before it was time to go.

I read about these grasshoppers when I got back home and learned that they are toxic to birds and mammals that eat them, as the bright colors would seem to warn. They also can release a foam that is an irritant and they can make hissing sounds.  They are not long jumpers and do not fly, though they have wings. When they are young, they are most always entirely black.


Mike from Cash Flow Moe said...

Grasshoppers are very difficult creatures to get rid of and can totally destroy your plants.

Dani said...

Elizabeth has had one hiss at her before. Scared the poor kid half to death!

Carol said...

I just transplanted 2 small citrus trees and I am going out and removing the green fruit now. I did not know that. Thanks for the tip.