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Post oak grasshoppers emerging

ifetime. In the spring, when post oak leaves begin to emerge, the eggs hatch and the nymphs begin to climb trees to feed. They go through at least five developmental stages before becoming adults, all the while munching on leaves. Currently, they are still in the pre-adult stage, he said.

The grasshoppers prefer post oaks, but Behmer has heard reports of them feeding on other oak and hickory trees, even defoliating them.

To help him find out more about these post oak grasshoppers, Behmer is asking for the public's help.

"If someone thinks they have these grasshoppers, they can e-mail me (s-behmer@tamu.edu ) with general information about where they are," he said.

The exact location of their house isn't necessary, he said, but a zip code and a nearby major intersection would be helpful. If possible, they should send a digital photo of the grasshopper so he can positively identify it. Behmer wants to use this information to begin mapping their location throughout the state and to create a database.

He's also raising the grasshoppers in his lab, with Junek supplying nymphs she has already found this year.

Junek is also giving him other valuable insights gained through personal observations. Last year, when the grasshoppers reached adulthood, she caught them and fed them to her chickens. The chickens readily ate them, giving Behmer a clue that they are not toxic to other animals. Normally, chickens will not eat what will harm them, Behmer said.

Behmer is still not sure what the Easter weekend cold snap will do to the grasshoppers' population, but he wants to study that too. Junek said they were still crawling up the side of house on April 8, even though their numbers were reduced.


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Source:Texas A&M University - Agricultural Communications


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