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Re: [SPAM]Re: Cult: Colorful Grasshopper on Iris (3)-

  • Subject: Re: [SPAM]Re: Cult: Colorful Grasshopper on Iris (3)-
  • From: "David Ferguson" <manzano57@msn.com>
  • Date: Sun, 9 Sep 2007 10:20:13 -0600
  • Seal-send-time: Sun, 9 Sep 2007 10:20:13 -0600

Hi,
 
I didn't mean that that it was supposed to be extinct, but I can see where what I wrote is confusing.  The real migratory locust, the one that was the swarming trouble-maker once upon a time, is said to be extinct because nobody has seen it (except on a pin in a collection) for a very long time; however, the one in your picture (which is very widespread across North America, and very common) is very similar.  The two may represent the non-migratory phase and the migratory phase of the same species, but nobody seems to know for sure.  Meaning that the "extinct" migratory phase may just be unobserved for a long time and not really extinct at all, or it may have really been a different species and may really be extinct.  Of course, as is always the case, government agencies liked to claim total victory in their fight to save humanity from the hoards, so favored the "extinct" explanation.
 
Regardless, one of these hoppers in your yard isn't a big deal, they are all over the place (coast to coast), but usually not that many in one place.  Periodically (usually for two or three years every decade or so) they become much more abundant and much more destructive (most often there are several species involved).  If this one really is the "Migratory [plague] Locust" that our grandparents or great grandparents remembered, then some year it may explode into migratory swarms that sweep across the continent again; however, with what humans have done to the environment over the last 100 years or so, I doubt that will happen again (???).  I don't recall for sure, but I don't think these swarms ever involved Arizona anyway (at least not in recorded history).  If I remember correctly, the populations exploded primarily in the Rockies and the swarms moved southeastward with the westerlies out over the Great Plains.
 
This species will eat just about anything, but one individual can't eat much.  Besides, even if they eat the Iris to the ground (which they did in my yard this year - different grasshopper species though), the Iris will be fine (not too good for aesthetics or rebloom though).  They like lush "weedy" vegetation best, so they tend to be attracted to yards (whether it be full of cultivated plants or weeds), and this is especially true in dry climates where the wild vegetation tends to dry up in summer and fall.  The rich color of your specimen is probably just individual variation, but maybe they all look like that there (I don't know).  If you see a gray or brown one that otherwise looks the same, likely it is the same.
 
I've never counted species found around your area, but we live in grasshopper country in the southwest.  There are lots of different kinds, most of which aren't much bother, but a few that are sometimes real pests.
 
As for the Marigold thing.  It's a total myth.  In our part of the world Marigolds are grasshopper candy.  They will come from far and wide to chew on something so lush and wonderfully green.  It might work in places where they're whole world is green and full of better choices, but not here.  Besides, even if they don't like them, they can hop right over them, so why would they keep them away?  Sort of like putting a six inch deer fence up for deer.
 
Dave
 
 
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, September 09, 2007 6:27 AM
Subject: Re: [SPAM]Re: [iris-photos] Cult: Colorful Grasshopper on Iris (3)-

Ann,
 
I don't know if we have more colorful because it warmer here or not.
But what concerns me was the comments from Dave that  knows about grasshoppers.  It seems these are "maybe" not suppose to  be here or even extinct.
 
I had corn this year and it seems every time  I get corn growing, then I seem to have lots of grasshoppers,--but have never notice this kind. 
 
Something, probably them, even ate a few marigold plants. Now, I always thought marigold plants among your vegetables would help keep bugs down. I still have plenty marigold plants and it makes me wonder why they attack some and not others. One was close to the corn, but the other marigold was on another side of the yard. What ever would eat all of say one marigold and the one beside left untouched. 
 
Mother Nature will always keep us on our toes to try to figure out how to work with her.
 
 
Linda in CW AZ 

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