Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Post Oak Grasshoppers Emerging

19.04.2007
They're not afraid of heights, they're voracious, and Dr. Spencer Behmer wants to know if you've seen them hanging out in oak trees or on your house.

They're post oak grasshoppers, and Behmer, a Texas Agricultural Experiment Station entomologist, wants to research their life cycle and behavior.

If you haven't heard of them, don't feel alone. Until recently, most Texans hadn't.

"I didn't see them for the first 25 years of my career," said Dr. John Jackman, Texas Cooperative Extension entomologist. "I would have told you there weren't any grasshoppers that chewed on trees."

Five years ago, he said, the grasshoppers' numbers started growing, and last year, exploded in areas from Dallas to near Corpus Christi.

"We don't know a whole lot about them," Jackman said.

Terry Junek, a research assistant in one of the Texas A&M University department of entomology labs, began noticing the grasshoppers about four years ago. They were crawling up the side of her Wellborn home.

The majority of adult post oak grasshoppers have short wings and are flightless, Behmer said, but they love to climb up trees and houses.

"Last year they were in enormous amounts," Junek said, "and mainly on the east side of my house."

If hordes of grasshoppers on houses aren't bad enough, they make their presence even more obnoxious by leaving frass -- or insect excrement -- behind, which often leaves a near-permanent stain, Behmer said The stain is the result of tannins -- the compound used in tanning leather -- which are found in oak leaves. As the frass dries, the tannins bind strongly to other chemicals. Once this has occurred, stains become very difficult to remove.

The post oak grasshoppers become adults in late April, and from early May to mid-June the females lay their eggs in the soil. A female typically lays five to six eggs at a time in a pod, and will produce two to four pods over her lifetime. 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.

Further information on post oak grasshoppers is available from http://insects.tamu.edu/fromthefield/postoakgh.html, and at Behmer's research Web site at http://behmerlab.tamu.edu/index.html .

Dr. Spencer Behmer | alfa
Further information:
http://insects.tamu.edu/fromthefield/postoakgh.html
http://behmerlab.tamu.edu/index.html

More articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science:

nachricht Fighting a destructive crop disease with mathematics
21.06.2017 | University of Cambridge

nachricht Unusual soybean coloration sheds a light on gene silencing
20.06.2017 | University of Illinois College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences

All articles from Agricultural and Forestry Science >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Climate satellite: Tracking methane with robust laser technology

Heatwaves in the Arctic, longer periods of vegetation in Europe, severe floods in West Africa – starting in 2021, scientists want to explore the emissions of the greenhouse gas methane with the German-French satellite MERLIN. This is made possible by a new robust laser system of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT in Aachen, which achieves unprecedented measurement accuracy.

Methane is primarily the result of the decomposition of organic matter. The gas has a 25 times greater warming potential than carbon dioxide, but is not as...

Im Focus: How protons move through a fuel cell

Hydrogen is regarded as the energy source of the future: It is produced with solar power and can be used to generate heat and electricity in fuel cells. Empa researchers have now succeeded in decoding the movement of hydrogen ions in crystals – a key step towards more efficient energy conversion in the hydrogen industry of tomorrow.

As charge carriers, electrons and ions play the leading role in electrochemical energy storage devices and converters such as batteries and fuel cells. Proton...

Im Focus: A unique data centre for cosmological simulations

Scientists from the Excellence Cluster Universe at the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität Munich have establised "Cosmowebportal", a unique data centre for cosmological simulations located at the Leibniz Supercomputing Centre (LRZ) of the Bavarian Academy of Sciences. The complete results of a series of large hydrodynamical cosmological simulations are available, with data volumes typically exceeding several hundred terabytes. Scientists worldwide can interactively explore these complex simulations via a web interface and directly access the results.

With current telescopes, scientists can observe our Universe’s galaxies and galaxy clusters and their distribution along an invisible cosmic web. From the...

Im Focus: Scientists develop molecular thermometer for contactless measurement using infrared light

Temperature measurements possible even on the smallest scale / Molecular ruby for use in material sciences, biology, and medicine

Chemists at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) in cooperation with researchers of the German Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM)...

Im Focus: Optoelectronic Inline Measurement – Accurate to the Nanometer

Germany counts high-precision manufacturing processes among its advantages as a location. It’s not just the aerospace and automotive industries that require almost waste-free, high-precision manufacturing to provide an efficient way of testing the shape and orientation tolerances of products. Since current inline measurement technology not yet provides the required accuracy, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT is collaborating with four renowned industry partners in the INSPIRE project to develop inline sensors with a new accuracy class. Funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF), the project is scheduled to run until the end of 2019.

New Manufacturing Technologies for New Products

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Plants are networkers

19.06.2017 | Event News

Digital Survival Training for Executives

13.06.2017 | Event News

Global Learning Council Summit 2017

13.06.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

A new technique isolates neuronal activity during memory consolidation

22.06.2017 | Life Sciences

Plant inspiration could lead to flexible electronics

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

A rhodium-based catalyst for making organosilicon using less precious metal

22.06.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>