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They’re not locusts, just Florida’s giant grasshoppers

Tampa Bay has its own annual insect swarm, with Eastern Lubbers emerging to continue their ravenous life cycle.
Published May 13
Updated May 13

While Brood X cicadas are getting all the attention this year, Florida’s annual swarm of Eastern Lubber grasshoppers have already emerged.

These little black eating machines are young and hungry, and are slowly growing into giant, colorful adults.

Lubbers are one of 70 species found in Florida, and they are big and destructive. Lubbers are the largest grasshopper in North America, growing to 4-inches long, and are native to the southeastern United States. Their appetite lasts throughout the spring; in summer the adults lay their eggs underground. The young hatch and emerge the following year to start the cycle anew.

Nature Preserve Ranger Christine Leonard at Boyd Hill Nature Preserve said not to fret. The defoliation the grasshoppers cause is temporary and encourages people to take a minute to appreciate the natural phenomenon.