Grasshoppers may only live four months, but they make the most of that time voraciously eating up anything green in their paths. I came across this unusually large one tucking into some mint in my herb garden. The warm sun and all the green leaves made it a perfect place for a hungry grasshopper to spend a summer morning dining at the all-you-can eat buffet.
This grasshopper isn’t the only creature eating its way through our dry summer months. The leaves on the crab apple tree in the yard are looking worse every day due to the insatiable appetites of tussock moth caterpillars.
Although this is a colorful caterpillar with interesting markings, the adult stage moth is rather drab and gray.
Below, the large light green leaves of a young striped maple show signs of being gobbled up by spotted apatelodes caterpillars. This type of maple is also known as moose maple as it is a favorite of moose and deer as well.
This pretty spotted apatelodes caterpillar is not considered common here (for more information, see Spotted Apatelodes Caterpillar). It will also transform itself into a dull gray moth.
Thankfully, many grasshoppers and caterpillars are eaten by birds, which are our best defense against these ravenous insects. Offering water and nesting spots in our yards are two positive things we can do to ensure we keep hungry pests in check.
Although few would be reluctant to attract songbirds to their yards, other predators may be less welcome. However, as unattractive as spiders may be to some, they do eat their fair share of caterpillars and grasshoppers, and should at least be tolerated for the sake of their appetites.
Text and photographs copyright Amy-Lynn Bell 2012