Being able to tell the different types of grasshoppers apart usually starts with some pictures. They come in different colors, shapes, and sizes, and this can make it easier when you first start trying to tell the types of grasshoppers apart. If you look at the basics, the Order Orthoptera has Grasshoppers, Katydids, and Crickets.
There are hundreds of different types of grasshoppers today, and many people consider them to be agricultural pests, especially where the garden is concerned. Gardeners dread grasshopper season because they tend to eat almost anything that you plant. They can quickly wreak havoc if they swarm. This is why many people suggest tilling the soil in the fall months deep enough that you expose the egg pods to the elements. This will cause them to die as they can’t stand the cold weather.
This quick guide will give you some information on 13 different popular types of grasshoppers, katydids, and crickets so you can tell them apart when you see them hiding in your garden.
There are many types of grasshoppers that you can find around your yard or garden, and they’re not a problem in small numbers. However, they can easily turn into pests as their numbers grow. Grasshopper by Peter Miller / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0
Grasshopper Size and Characteristics
If you look at the grasshopper’s physical attributes, they are usually brown, green, or black on the body. They have larger hind legs with dual wing sets with larger hind-wings with slim and long forewings. When you compare them to the head, the eyes on a grasshopper are very large with shorter antennae that help them sense the objects around them. The eyes usually have different colors to them, including brown, green, and grey.
These insects are from medium to large in size, and adults can reach up to seven centimeters long. Some male grasshoppers in different species have bright-hued wings that help to attract females. The bright coloring also works very well to keep predators away because it hints that the grasshopper may taste icky.
Female grasshoppers typically come in bigger sizes than their male counterparts. They have a pointy end at their abdomen that helps them get the eggs under the ground when they lay them. Male grasshoppers also come with one-of-a-kind wings on them that they rub with their hind legs to produce sound. They’re well known for jumpy flight patterns, and they can jump at least 20 times their body size. They can also fly, and they can reach speeds up to eight miles per hour.
Grasshopper Life Cycle
Different types of grasshoppers reproduce in the early summer months while the temperature stays warm enough to ensure that the young survive when they hatch. During the mating season, male grasshoppers will inject a spermatophore in the female grasshoppers’ ovipositor. The life cycle of this insect is an egg, nymph, and then the adult grasshopper.
The lifespan of most grasshoppers lasts a year. When they hatch, they only have a roughly 50% chance of survival. When the grasshopper reaches the nymph stage, they have a huge range of dangers to consider, including rodents, lizards, and birds.
13 Types of Grasshoppers
Even though there are over 600 different types of grasshoppers, some are much more common than others. We’re going to outline the top 13 types of grasshoppers you may see in your garden below.
1. Band-Winged Grasshoppers
This grasshopper is part of the Oedipodinae subfamily, and this type of grasshopper has colorful hindwings in black, yellow, and red coloring. This species is the only type of short-horned grasshoppers that can produce sounds. They can create a crackling noise when they fly. However, when they’re not flying around, they cover their colorful wings with their forewings. In turn, this helps them blend into their surroundings much better. When they feel threatened, they jump out and expose the colorful wings to ward off predators.
The coloring on these wings make several predators mistake them for butterflies. One of the most common types of grasshoppers in this category is the Carolina grasshopper that has black hind wings. The clear-winged grasshopper is another common type, and it’s one of the most common pests in North America.
2. Cone-Headed or Long-Headed Grasshopper
Just as the name suggests, this grasshopper has a cone-shaped, pointy head. You can identify them by their brown or light green slender bodies that are roughly four centimeters long. If you try to catch them, they have strong jaws that they can use to bite you. They prefer to live in weeds or grasslands.
They also have a specific song, much like other long-headed grasshoppers. Their song has a single note that they repeat over and over to create a melody. For example, if you look at the North American cone-headed grasshopper, you’ll get a droning noise with a constant buzzing sound that they create with their wings. You’ll typically find them in warmer areas in central and southern Europe.
Better referred to as the bush cricket or the long-horned grasshopper, this bug is well-known for their long antennae, huge hind legs, and a curvy, thick ovipositor. The scientific name is Pterophylla camellifolia, and the name comes from their song that sounds like Katy-did, Katy-didn’t. Each species of katydid has their own song that they produce using stridulation, and they rub their wings at the same time. The most common times that you’ll hear this bug singing is when they’re in defensive mode to protect their territory or when they’re reproducing.
The body length of this bug ranges from one to six centimeters. However, there is an exception to this rule as the matriarchal katydid can easily get up to 12 centimeters long. Most have a very bright green coloring, but some come in yellow and pink as well. The katydid is a generally poor flyer, and some of them don’t have any wings.
Locusts belong to the order Orthoptera and the family Acrididae. You can find them all over the world, and you can see them in huge numbers as they move in swarms. They’re an extremely destructive pest that can eat your vegetable gardens down to nothing when they swarm.
These pests are usually solitary in nature, but certain habits or mood changes can make them draw together. They start to breed heavily and they can grow in dramatic increments. The wingless nymphs emerge from the eggs and turn into swarms of winged bugs. The adults rush toward vegetation growth and they try to destroy them instantly. They’re one of the fastest flying types of grasshoppers, and they can easily cover long distances. They also like to feed on any green vegetation when they settle.
5. Long-Horned Grasshoppers
The long-horned types of grasshoppers belong to the Orthoptera order and the Tettigoniidae family. This type of grasshopper has an impressive 6,000 species of insects, and you identify them by their long horns. They have very slender antennae, and you can easily camouflage them according to different circumstances. During the night, it’s the antennae that gets active and makes a decent amount of noise.
Almost every member of this family has green coloring to them, prefer to be in bushes, shrubs, and trees, as the habitat, and have longer wings. What sets this type of grasshopper apart is that they have a hearing organ called a tympanum on their front legs. The antennae are hairy, and they can be as long as the grasshopper’s body.
The females come with a pointed ovipositor with longer wings that are in a different shape. The male type of grasshopper in this category rubs their wings together to create a song. This will help them attract their female counterparts. Each species also has a different song. They come out in the open during the warmer months, and they’re in the egg stage when the temperature dips.
6. Lubber Grasshopper
This type of grasshopper is very popular in the southeastern portion of the United States, and it has attractive body hues with a larger size. Florida has an abundance of these grasshoppers, and they have a reputation for destroying vegetable crops. Unlike other grasshoppers, these ones are very clumsy and slow, and they usually crawl over walking or flying. Due to this fact, the name Lubber shouldn’t be a surprise as it’s the old English word for lazy.
Easter varieties of this grasshopper can get up to seven centimeters long, and they can have black borders around red wings. The western species is called the buffalo grasshopper, and it has pink wings with a smaller size.
7. Meadow Grasshopper
This type of grasshopper belongs to the subfamily Cononcephalinae and the family Tettigoniidae. These grasshoppers are usually small to medium-sized, and you will find them near bodies of waters like lakes, ponds, or streams. In addition to having a smaller stature, they have a very slender body that makes them very light. They love to be in the water, and they can stay underwater by underwater plants for several minutes at a time.
These grasshoppers develop in a few stages. They’re initially wingless nymphs in April and May before turning into adults with wings in June. As they get older, they start to shed the exoskeleton and prefer to feed on grass and plants, especially if they’re underwater. Females make an “rrr” sound during the mating season with other females. They’re typically a green color, but you can also find them in greyish-purple or brown colors. They also have brownish-grey stripes around the eyes.
8. Migratory Grasshoppers
Common in the United States, these types of grasshoppers have a broad range of habitats, including meadows and grasslands. Depending on the type, they can be forbivorous or herbivorous. They’re a huge threat to crops as well as to the grasslands, and they’ve caused a huge amount of destruction in the United States.
Just as the name implies, this type of grasshopper disperses and migrates to different parts of the country. Research shows that this is inherent behavior, and they tend to move around a lot.
9. Pygmy Grasshopper
Better known as the grouse locust, this type of grasshopper is smaller in stature. You can find them in shades of grey, green, or brown. They’ll have either no forwings or medium-sized ones. They also don’t have the hearing or sound-producing organs, and this makes them stand out from the long and short-horned species. You’ll typically see these grasshoppers in muddy shores or grassy fields.
10. Shield-Back Katydid
This is one type of grasshopper that looks a lot like a cricket. Most of these insects range from 18 to 50 millimeters long, and they come in brown or black coloring. You may also find a few in green, but this is more rare. Generally speaking, this bug usually has no or short wings, so they’re not able to fly. One example of this bug is the mormon cricket. They’re also wingless and flightless.
You can find this grasshopper throughout the western portion of the United States, and they do well in farmlands, open country, and forests. The ideal season for this grasshopper is mid-summer to early fall, and they go into hiding as the winter months approach. They feed on plants and other insects, both alive and dead. They also go through a complete metamorphosis. So, they hatch from eggs at a smaller size and without wings or sexual parts. As they develop toward the adult stage, the sex organs and wings develop.
11. Short-Horned Grasshoppers
Belonging to the order Orthoptera and the family Acrididae, this type of grasshopper has heavy but short antennae. The female has a four-valved ovipositor to help them lay their eggs, and they also have three-segmented tarsi. They’re herbivorous, and they’re one of the most viscous pests you can have invade your gardens.
These grasshoppers are between 5 to 11 centimeters long, and they have straw or green-colored bodies that can be short or long. It’s very easy for them to blend into the surroundings due to the coloring, and they have very long femurs and hind legs to help them jump decent distances. Not all of them have wings, and some are flightless. The winged males can make noises by rubbing their front wings. Also, a single female short-horned type of grasshopper can lay upwards of 100 eggs in the soil.
12. Slant-Faced Grasshoppers
The slant-faced type of grasshoppers come from the Acridinae subfamily. They have slanted hind wings and faces that make them relatively easy to distinguish. You can find them around marshes and wet meadows. However, they’re always in very small numbers, and this means that they don’t do a lot of damage to your vegetation or plants. Most of these species eat grasses or plants as the main food source. Knowing this, this is a larger subfamily that consists of several species with different food preferences. So, the food types can vary.
13. Spur-Throated Grasshopper
The final type of grasshopper on the list is the most popular species in North America. They come in a huge color range, including green, red, brown, orange, and yellow. Some have a bright range of colors with small spots all over their bodies with slender and small antennae on their head. The females can easily lay up to 20 eggs each into the soil, and they sit on the eggs throughout the winter months. The nymphs start to mature in the early summer months and become active as the temperatures stay warm.
You’ll see this type of grasshopper very active in open meadows or fields, and they fly from point A to point B. This species can easily cross borders and fly into Canada. They’re a very destructive species that you want to watch out for.
Benefits of Different Types of Grasshoppers
Grasshoppers have a reputation for being infamous pests as they destroy crops and farms. However, they have a very beneficial role in the ecosystem. They serve as a good food source for many predators, including lizards and birds. Without them, it’s easy to disrupt the natural food chain.
Apart from serving as a food source for animals, they can be a viable means of survival for any humans in the wild. They’re very rich in protein, so eating them will give you a much better chance of surviving. Also, the droppings from different types of grasshoppers have plant nutrients that can fertilize growing crops and enrich the soil.
Ways to Keep Grasshoppers Out of the Garden
Since grasshoppers are herbivores, it’s best to work to keep them out of your garden. They’re known to destroy a huge range of crops by eating them, and some of their favorites include:
- Soy beans
When it comes to garden plants, there is almost no plant that grasshoppers won’t eat. However, there are a few plants that grasshoppers prefer to eat over others. They like grasses like corn, clover, soybeans, rice, and alfalfa. If you only see one or two grasshoppers in your garden, you usually don’t have to panic. Just remove them and move on. However, 10 or more grasshoppers can easily eat a large crop in a few days. This is when you want to remove them.
Five Ways to Get Rid of Grasshoppers in the Garden
There are several ways that you can get rid of grasshoppers in your garden, and some are much more effective than others. We’ve picked out five ways to get rid of types of grasshoppers, and you can try them to see which one works best for your needs.
First up is carbaryl pesticide, and it’s a highly effective means to get rid of types of grasshoppers. However, this should really be your last resort. It’s a non-organic pesticide that will kill several types of insects, and grasshoppers are on the list. Currently, it can kill over 500 types of common garden pests, and you can use it on virtually any flower or vegetable growing in your garden. It works to eliminate:
- Cabbage Worms
- Japanese Beetles
- Squash Bugs
Overall, this pesticide is a very effective means to get rid of a broad range of pests and insects. However, you have to remember that it also works on beneficial insects, so you should be conservative when you use it.
Grasshoppers also hate garlic. You can plant garlic around your garden to try to keep them out, but a garlic-based spray is more effective. It’s a very eco-friendly and safe alternative to use. All you have to do is spray it on your plants and leave it. It can keep types of grasshoppers away for three to four weeks before you have to reapply it. You can make it at home quickly and easily by using:
- 1 quart of water
- 1 teaspoon of dish soap
- 2 cloves of garlic
- 1 Spray bottle
Start by mincing your garlic cloves into tiny pieces before bringing a quart of water to a boil and adding the minced garlic. Allow it to steep for 20 minutes. Once it’s done steeping, take your spray bottle and fill it 5/6th of the way with water before adding your garlic mixture. Top it off with a teaspoon of dish soap before giving it a good shake to mix in. You’re now ready to spray it on your plants.
Garlic can have a very strong and lasting scent and taste to drive the grasshoppers away, and the dish soap helps it stick to the plant leaves for longer periods. Garlic by Kjokkenutstry Net / CC BY-SA 2.0
Using neem oil is another great way to keep grasshoppers out. It’s an organic and safe pesticide that will stop grasshoppers and a range of other bugs from eating your plants and destroying your garden. It works like a hormone to eliminate the pests’ desire to eat. So, the insects will eventually die of starvation when you expose them to your neem oil. It also inhibits their ability to lay eggs and reproduce. If you want to keep these pests away, this is a great option.
Plants that can Deter Grasshoppers
Everyone has a food that they hate, and grasshoppers are no different with garlic. The taste and odor of garlic is something that grasshoppers can’t stand. What makes this such an effective natural way to repel them is the allicini and sulfur compounds in cloves of garlic. The compounds work to interfere with the grasshopper’s sensory receptor, so the discomfort levels will keep them away. By putting garlic plants in and around your garden, grasshoppers are less likely to feed on the plants. There are several other flowers and plants that work well to deter types of grasshoppers too, including:
- Chinese Brake Fern
- Crepe Myrtle
- Moss Rose
One of the best things you can do with these plants is to put them around your garden. They form a barrier that grasshoppers will be hesitant to cross, and this can protect your vegetables, herbs, plants, and flowers.
Finally, you can introduce natural predators to the area that eat grasshoppers as part of their diet. This is a safe and effective way to control the population without harming your plants. There are different animals that will eat grasshoppers, and they include:
- Garter Snakes
- Ringneck Snakes
By encouraging or introducing these animals to hang around your garden, they can help cull the local grasshopper population and stop them from eating your plants. You can do several things to attract birds to the area, including setting up a bird bath, bird feeder, and plants where they can hide.
We’ve outlined 13 popular types of grasshoppers that you may see in or around your garden, and we also touched on several ways to get rid of them when they start to become a nuisance. You can use this information to identify the grasshoppers around your yard and keep them at bay to protect your crops or flowers.
Jack founded our blog after two decades of working in the pest control industry. His vast experience dealing with a wide array of pests allows him to diagnose issues quickly and get to the heart of pest problems quickly and effectively. He has serviced more than 2,000 homes over his career and there is hardly any pest situation that he has not seen before.