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Grasshoppers

GRASSHOPPERS

GRASSHOPPERS regularly destroyed crops from the start of American agriculture to the early 1950s. These insects fall roughly into migratory and nonmigratory groups. Although migratory grasshoppers (locusts) generally did the most damage, every species caused problems in some part of America. Locusts usually attacked sparsely settled regions, while nonmigratory species typically struck more settled regions. Especially serious attacks occurred in New England in 1743, 1749, 1754, and 1756 and recurred into the nineteenth century, especially in Vermont and Maine. California missions suffered heavily several times in the 1820s, as did farms in Missouri and Minnesota. Grasshoppers appeared in the Great Basin and on the Great Plains in 1855 and at odd intervals thereafter. The great grasshopper plagues of the Plains occurred in 1874–1876. The need for research to prevent attacks factored significantly into the 1863 creation of the Division of Entomology (renamed the Bureau of Entomology in 1904) in the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The hopperdozer, a device for catching and killing insects, made its first recorded appearance in 1878, but it may have been used as early as 1858. It consisted of a shallow pan on skids with a large screen behind the pan, which farmers pulled across fields. Grasshoppers jumped up, hit the screen, and fell into a pan filled with kerosene or poison. Farmers used hopperdozers well into the twentieth century. Control by bran and molasses mixed with arsenic remained the chief means of effective control until the discovery of the hydrocarbon insecticides, such as chlordane, in the mid-1940s.

In the twentieth century the worst grasshopper attacks occurred in 1931, 1934, 1936, and 1939. The worst of these was the 1936 invasion, which destroyed crops and forage on a grand scale throughout the Midwest and South and especially on the Great Plains. The menace of grasshoppers declined during World War II, and thereafter the use of new insecticides has kept grasshoppers in check.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Schlebecker, J. T. "Grasshoppers in American Agricultural History." Agricultural History 27 (1953): 85–93.

Sorensen, W. Conner. Brethren of the Net: American Entomology, 1840–1880. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1995.

John T.Schlebecker/c. w.

See alsoAgriculture, Department of ; Insecticides and Herbicides .

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grasshopper

grasshopper, name applied to almost 9,000 different species of singing, jumping insects in two families of the order Orthoptera. Grasshoppers are long, slender, winged insects with powerful hind legs and strong mandibles, or mouthparts, adapted for chewing. They range from 1/2 to 4 in. (1–10 cm) in length. They have a front pair of rigid wings and a hind pair of larger, membranous wings, often brightly colored. When the wings are at rest, the hind pair folds and is covered by the front pair. Some species fly well, others poorly or not at all. There are three pairs of legs, all used for walking. The muscular hind legs are also used for jumping and for initiating flight. Grasshoppers can jump up to 20 times their body length. In most species the singing, or stridulating, is performed only by the males. Both sexes possess auditory organs.

The long-horned grasshoppers (family Tettigoniidae) are characterized by antennae longer than the body and auditory organs on the forelegs. This family includes the katydids. The short-horned grasshoppers (family Acrididae) are characterized by antennae shorter than the body and auditory organs on the abdomen. This group includes the locust. Pygmy grasshoppers (family Tetrigidae) are less than 3/4 in. (20 mm) in length.

Most grasshoppers mate in the fall, after which the female lays the eggs in the ground or in plant tissues. The eggs of most species hatch in the spring. Newly hatched grasshoppers are similar to the adults except for their smaller size and lack of wings. After several molts, in which the young shed their old body coats and grow new ones, the winged adult stage is attained.

Most grasshoppers are plant feeders, attacking crops such as wheat, barley, corn, rye, and oats. The migratory grasshoppers, including the locusts, are a serious threat to agriculture. A few long-horned grasshoppers are carnivorous. Grasshoppers are typically found in temperate regions. They are classified in the phylum Arthropoda, class Insecta, order Orthoptera.

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grasshopper

grasshopper the grasshopper, with its chirping sound, is sometimes taken as a type of something frivolous and trivial.

In biblical translations, grasshopper is sometimes used for locust, as in Ecclesiastes 12:1, ‘the grasshopper shall be a burden, and desire shall fail.’

A grasshopper was also the personal emblem of the 16th-century financier Thomas Gresham (see Gresham's law); his house in Lombard Street was known as ‘the Sign of the Grasshopper’, and the badge was later used by Martin's Bank, which originated in Gresham's trading there.

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grasshopper

grasshopper Plant-eating insect. Its enlarged hind legs make it a powerful jumper. The forewings are leathery and the hind wings are membranous and fan-shaped; when the insect is at rest, the wings are folded over its back. Length: 8–11cm (0.3–4.3in). Order Orthoptera; families Acrididae and Tettingoniidae. See also cricket; locust

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grasshopper

grass·hop·per / ˈgrasˌhäpər/ • n. a plant-eating insect (family Acrididae, order Orthoptera) with long hind legs that are used for jumping and for producing a chirping sound.

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grasshoppers

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"grasshoppers." A Dictionary of Zoology. . Encyclopedia.com. 17 Aug. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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grasshopper

grasshopperAgrippa, chipper, clipper, dipper, equipper, flipper, gripper, hipper, kipper, nipper, Pippa, ripper, shipper, sipper, skipper, slipper, stripper, tipper, tripper, whipper, zipper •crimper, shrimper, simper, whimper, Whymper •crisper, whisper •mudskipper • caliper • Philippa •juniper • gossiper •worshipper (US worshiper) •griper, piper, sniper, swiper, viper, wiper •bagpiper • sandpiper •bopper, chopper, copper, cropper, Dopper, dropper, hopper, improper, Joppa, poppa, popper, proper, shopper, stopper, swapper, topper, whopper •stomper • prosper • bebopper •teenybopper • grasshopper •clodhopper • sharecropper •name-dropper • eavesdropper •window-shopper • doorstopper •show-stopper •gawper, pauper, torpor, warper

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