Did you know grasshoppers are vital to our ecosystem? They are over 300 million years old according to prehistoric fossils and their presence ensures our environment is more efficient and safer for other animals and plants to survive. Their eating and breeding habits encourage plant regrowth and decomposition as they eat enough leaves to influence subsequent plant life. They can eat half their body weight in plants a day and this is why they are attracted to gardens. They are known as foodalcoholics! And a species of the grasshopper is a locust! However, encouraging birds into your garden will keep the grasshopper population at bay.

Which plants?

When a grasshoppers dies it is either rich in nitrogen or carbohydrate. Microbes in the soil will break down the nitrogen rich body,which in turn encourages carbohydrate type plants to grow. These include wheat,maize and potatoes. Conversely, a grasshopper rich in carbohydrates when it dies encourages nitrogen rich plants such as roses, lettuce and tomatoes.

Two sets of Wings

Grasshoppers are generally a combination of green and brown and will blend into their background to escape from predators.  Despite popular belief they do not hop. They use their strong hind legs as a spring to catapult themselves into the air, which allows them to take flight. They have two sets of wings, one set in the front and one in the back. Baby grasshoppers known as nymphs, are born without wings and it only when they have gone through six-step metamorphosis that their wings appear.

A Cloud

They have a short lifespan -only four months as they die off in the winter. They lay eggs buried in the earth which hatch the following spring. Lastly, a group of grass hoppers is called a cloud! How interesting is that?

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