Baby grasshoppers make a surprise appearance

Spring arrived early this year, at least that’s what some grasshoppers at our house thought.

Last fall we planted some small glass terrariums using plants growing in pots outdoors. We used a variety of tender succulent plants, which meant we had to bring them inside so they wouldn’t die from the freezing temperatures.

We discovered recently that a family of baby grasshoppers  had hatched inside one of our terrariums. It looks like there are about 30 of them in there.

You’ve probably heard the saying “cute as a bug” — well, these little guys really are that cute! You rarely see them at this stage because they are so tiny and they are the favorite food of a wide variety of predators. Only a small percentage live long enough to grow into full-sized adults.

This baby grasshopper is just a few days old.

This baby grasshopper is just a few days old.

Grasshoppers spend the winter underground in the egg stage of their life cycle. They hatch in the spring when the temperatures warm up — that is known as the nymph stage. The nymphs look like miniature versions of adult grasshoppers except they don’t have wings. They’ll earn their wings later on in the season.

In our case, last fall, an adult grasshopper laid its eggs in the soil of a potted plant we had outdoors. When we moved that plant into the terrarium, we accidentally moved the grasshopper eggs  right along with the plant. The eggs spent the winter in our home inside the terrarium. There the eggs transformed into nymphs and hatched out.

They’re safe and sound behind the glass — for now. When the weather warms up, I plan to release them outside where they will have to fend for themselves.

Bob Dluzen
As a result of being a gardener for more than 40 years, 30 of those as a professional, Bob's gardening has become an integral part of his life. "It's the ever-changing seasons and the wide variety of plants and gardens that keeps me intrigued," he says. Bob lives and gardens in rural Monroe County.