Subject: Orgy on my Lemon Haze plant
Geographic location of the bug: Mt. Washington, Los Angeles, California
Time: 8:05 AM EDT
Your letter to the bugman: Dear Bugman,
Shortly after writing that the predators are controlling my little Grasshoppers, I witnessed this lurid behavior. When I tried to get a better camera angle, they flew off. There was a mating pair of Grasshoppers and a second male was watching from the sidelines. Was he a voyeur or was he waiting his turn?
How you want your letter signed: Constant Gardener
Dear Constant Gardener,
We really don’t believe insects engage in voyeuristic behavior, nor do we believe Grasshoppers take turns. We suspect this mature female Gray Bird Grasshopper, Schistocerca nitens, released pheromones that attracted both males and either the one who arrived first or the more aggressive male got the prize. We would have loved to have seen an image of the pair flying off in flagrante delicto. We hope your crop is not decimated by Locusts because according to BugGuide: “Apparently overwintering primarily as eggs, hatching over an extended season from spring to late summer (perhaps hatching is related to rainfall events?), and maturing from late spring till late summer or early autumn. Some adults overwinter, and perhaps nymphs too (?). It is possible that southward there are two broods, but this is not clear. In tropical regions south of the U.S., and perhaps in southernmost Texas and coastal California, all stages can be found at most any time of year.”