Lubber grasshoppers are the slowest types of grasshoppers, with a variety of their species found worldwide. Don’t let their pretty colors and slowness fool you, a swarm of these insects can utterly devour an orchid garden in a matter of days.
They multiply quickly and are known as one of the most devastating insects that can infest an orchid plant. If you don’t want to wake up and see that your entire orchid garden has been devoured overnight, then you will need the helpful details in the rest of this guide.
- What Causes To Have Lubber Grasshoppers on Orchids?
- How to Get Rid of Lubber Grasshoppers in Orchid?
What Causes To Have Lubber Grasshoppers on Orchids?
The cause of lubber grasshoppers on orchids is seeing the plants as food and breeding in the plants. They can also infest due to poor gardening maintenance, overcrowded plants, a dry environment surrounding them, and lastly, due to poor soil conditions.
Orchids are not just beautiful plants with unique structures; they are also at the top of the meal plan for most insects. Their bold colors and lush leaves do not help much in this situation, as they only attract insects.
If you find a lubber grasshopper on your orchid, it is primarily for food. These insects are fast eaters, and they consume a lot in a short amount of time, just like their locust insects as well, and as they do so, you would see that they are infested and the plant is weakening.
Although these insects are flightless, they can still move from place to place in search of food by walking and jumping short distances; in short, they eat on to the next leaf. As long as you have food in your garden in the form of lush orchid leaves, then you will have lubber grasshoppers which are invasive visitors.
Breeding is another reason that you would see these pests infest and increase in their number when they are around your orchid as they would do so in your garden. Be assured that there is never just one plant, and when you see one, know that a swarm of grasshoppers is coming and infesting on a greater scale.
An eastern lubber grasshopper nymph tends to breed on plants that provide the food and nutrition they need during breeding and for the younger larvae after they hatch. The Lubber grasshopper size helps you distinguish between males and females easily.
They have large consuming power, and the population certainly does not help. A hatched swarm of libber grasshoppers can consume an entire orchid plant overnight.
Adult females can grow up to three inches long and lay up to 25 to 50 eggs, every time that they breed and increase their population. In this case, these eggs are deposited underground in your orchid potting mix until they hatch.
Once the eggs hatch, they come out and access the readily available food, which in this case, is your orchid plant.
– Poor Garden Maintenance
Although insects visiting plants for food and breeding is natural, they can be curbed and controlled with proper garden maintenance. There is a lot more to taking care of orchid plants than placing them in soil and giving them water. From time to time, proper garden maintenance is needed to protect your orchid from external threats such as lubber grasshoppers, soil mites, fruit flies, and other insect pests.
When your garden is not in proper care with no plans for routine maintenance, these grasshoppers can successfully creep in and repopulate your orchid plant without any restrictions, and develop in the organic matter that has already fallen. If proper care is not taken, the presence of these insects in your garden can go from a minor disturbance to a full-blown infestation.
One rule of thumb is never to plant orchids to lose to each other, regardless of whether or not they are companion plants for one another. Not only does it affect air circulation and aid the transfer of pathogens from one plant to another, but it can also foster the growth of insects like the grasshopper in your garden.
The females are usually larger than the males by up to one inch, with very long legs that allow them to jump over a good distance, and this is why you must make sure that you do not load your plants one next to the other as they would harm all the plants.
Adult female grasshoppers can cover up to 20 times their length in travel distance, and you only make it easier for them to infest, breed and feed on other plants when they are placed too close to each other.
Every garden has a standard, acceptable spacing that must be observed between plants, and an orchid garden is no exception. While most orchids go well with a companion plant, their pots should be properly spaced to prevent the growth and multiplication of insects in your garden.
These insects thrive in covered-up, hidden areas where they can continue to feed on your plant and cause damage to your orchid’s leaves, stem, and roots, and this way, the plants are deteriorated.
They should be kept as far away from your orchid as possible, and any chewing and sucking insect is a threat to your orchid. While they can be tolerated if they have small numbers with fewer eggs laid in their life cycle, they become an issue with an increase in population.
Since we know that grasshoppers move in large numbers and feed in large numbers, having them on your orchid will ultimately mean the death of your orchid if proper measures are not set in place.
– Dry Environment
These insects prefer hot temperatures but can also thrive in moist, damp environments, depending on the species you are facing, as well as having this surrounding one to encourage their visits.
When growing your orchid in a location with averagely high temperatures, you will have them as visitors in your garden doing what they know how to do best. These black pests will hang around and feed on your plant, swarm around the soil, and lay eggs.
Unlike other insects, their life cycle is relatively long, and they lay many eggs during this period, further increasing their population. This specie of grasshoppers shed their exoskeleton up to five times before reaching adulthood with a 15-day interval.
When they come along, they heavily deed on your orchid leaves and other greenery in your garden during this period to attain maturity quickly and start laying their share of eggs in your garden, as they come along in the dry environment.
For this, you should know the right features of the insect, when they come along from the drought; as these insects have more black body parts, they are likely to be still immature insects with just a few spots of red and yellow coloration around the wings, back, and side of the head. The adults have more colors of jelly, red, and sometimes green with spots of black.
– Poor Soil Conditions
Every garden has its fair share of insects feeding on their leaves and laying eggs in the soil. Poor soil conditions will only worsen and foster these visitors’ multiplication, and they usually do not cause much harm. The ecosystem in your garden works well to regulate their numbers and ensure they don’t get out of hand.
However, when soil conditions are very poor, these pests take it upon themselves to become an even more troublesome menace. Under such conditions, they can reproduce quickly and greatly; with such numbers, they can eat out the life of your orchid overnight.
How to Get Rid of Lubber Grasshoppers in Orchid?
To get rid of lubber grasshoppers in orchids, you must isolate the plant, and also make sure that you spray some water on them. You should also use diluted soap mix and mist it around, use horticultural oil to tackle, try to switch thee potting mix, and regularly prune it.
– Isolate the Plant
Isolating the plant makes it much easier to tackle and handle the insects without causing much damage to your orchid plant. It also makes it easier to eliminate pests without harming other beneficial insects in your garden.
This is how you should know that to isolaute is the first and most important step considering that they eat pretty fast and procreate even faster. Removing the affected plant from the rest of the bunch in the garden is the first measure you should take when faced with these types of insect pests.
Initially, you might only see a few of them that you can pick off with your fingers, rest assured that a batch of eggs has likely been laid in the soil and on the underside of your orchid plant. In just a couple of days, you have a full-blown infestation.
When you see these insects feed in swarms, it makes them very easy to spot, and they come in different colors and patterns, with the adults having a different color from the immature grasshoppers. The color indicates whether you have a mild infestation or a full-blown one, so go ahead and isolate, and aim to tackle them.
One thing about these bugs is that they cannot fly, but unlike other insects, they will effortlessly find their way back to your plant as long as it has juicy stems, lush leaves, and added greenery. Once you notice that they have an orchid plant in your garden within their grip, know they never stop there but begin to move from one plant to another, and before you know it, your entire garden is suffering from the infestation.
– Spray with Water
As a first-hand measure to get them off your plant, you can spray them off with a strong stream of water. However, this method is only effective if you follow it with other processes, and make sure that you don’t go ahead and apply excessive water to the orchid instead.
What you should do is first ensure you have isolated the plant to avoid spraying it unto another plant. In cases like this, their numbers are too large to start picking them off one by one, and since they are very fast, they can jump off before you can catch them.
Check for areas with them together in clusters, and prepare your water stream, so you can spray them off the leaves and stems of your plants. This method is more effective for immature grasshoppers yet to attain maturity. However, take proper caution so as not to waterlog your orchid soil. For this procedure, you can switch to a well-draining pot or mesh pot, so the excess water drains off, especially from the drainage holes.
This way, you wash off the insects from the plants and a good amount of eggs laid into the soil. Avoid adding strong chemicals to the mix, like insect repellents, as these can leave residue on your orchid and cause much damage long after the pests are gone. In short, while the grasshoppers might be annoying, please resist the urge to spray them with concentrated chemical insecticides.
– Use a Dilute Soap Mixture
With a simple, dilute mixture of soap and water in a ratio of 1:2, you can get rid of grasshoppers on your orchid plant. You do not have to run off to the store and back to get your orchid back in healthy, non-infested shape.
For this, note that a liquid-based soap works best for this application, as it will mix well with water and get diluted enough to leave no residue on your plant. For this, a simple dish or hand soap packs the right strength to kick these pests off your plants.
You mess up the sweet taste of lush green leaves and make them toxic to them, especially for the young, immature hoppers in the swarm. When you have a stronger infestation, a one-time application will only do a little, and you might need to mist your plant with this mixture from time to time. Target the soil surface, the base of the orchid plant, and the underside of the leaves, and you will be getting them the right way.
– Apply Some Horticultural Oil
If you are looking for a low-budget, environmentally friendly orchid care option to remove the hopper insects from your orchid, applying horticultural oils will do more than do the trick.
While these insects are flightless, they have wings with a red coloration for the adults and a yellow coloration for the immature grasshoppers, so you should aim to target them when you see such a feature.
Grasshoppers are sensitive to strong scents from essential oils and fruit peels so that you can add both to the mix. Using horticultural oils is a low-risk option compared to most others and is very effective in getting rid of these insects without harming your orchid.
What happens here is that the scent will ward them off faster than they can reproduce on your orchid. For a more effective treatment option, you can dab the parts of the orchid with some horticultural oil diluted with two parts water and one part dish soap.
You can also place some strong-smelling citrus fruit peels like lemon or lime around the base of the plant and in your orchid potting mix.
– Switch Potting Mix
In some severe cases of infestation, just warding off parts of your plant will not do the trick. You should change the potting soil as well. These grasshoppers lay eggs fast and tend to do it in your orchid potting mix. So even after you have warded off the oldies from your plant, the new ones hatch just as soon and take over the territory again.
After repotting, you can add a diffuser containing horticultural scents to diffuse into the air around your orchid. It will work well to prevent them from returning to your orchid plant again. You can add some Diatomaceous Earth since it is a natural insect repellant that works in a fast and an efficient way.
– Regular Weeding and Pruning
Observing routine garden maintenance is critical, and regular weeding and pruning is a great place to start. Lubber grasshoppers can enter your garden in search of literal greener pastures through a trail of green leaves and bushes around your garden.
They travel far and whole swarm plants, moving from one to another, and if weeds around your garden make it look like the neighbor’s place next door, they might visit and have a good feast. Regular pruning helps keep these pests at bay and prevents the spread of weeds and external plants into your garden.
Getting rid of the lubber grasshoppers in your orchid garden becomes much easier once you know what to do and how to do it. Here are some helpful tips on how you can do just that!
- Insects like lubber in orchid soil hate strong scents, making horticultural oils and their bases an effective repellent.
- They lay eggs in your orchid soil, so good population control in serious cases might mean changing the potting mix completely.
- By all means, avoid increasing their numbers and take action as soon as possible such as applying some horticultural oil, or fighting them with pressured water.
- They tend to hide and populate in corners and overcrowded places in your garden to feed on leaves and stems, so practice proper garden maintenance.
- The good thing about lubbers is that you can easily eliminate them using environmentally safe methods that pose no danger to you and your plants.
With our helpful guide, you can eliminate these lubber grasshoppers effectively and successfully to protect your plant health.
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