L is for Locust

20130918 Locust 1

Click to enlarge

I don’t recall ever seeing any of these at Balsamea during the five years before the house (2010).  But they really love the house.  In September these critters adorn the exterior walls of the house at the rate of about one per horizontal foot of wall space.

They even outnumber our famous “daddy-long-legs” spiders, which also came with the house and love its pale olive walls, also especially in September.

Only once this year have I seen one inside the house, probably fallen from the kitchen door where they like to bask in the sun.      

Since the house arrived in 2010, the locusts (a.k.a. grasshoppers, but ours don’t live in the grass, only on the house … seemingly) have increased in number each year.

I suppose I should learn to eat fried locust and guacamole tacos (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – Locust Watch website), which is a kosher dish, if anyone wants to know.  Hey, who am I to turn down free food?  But I’d replace the guacamole with yogurt.  I never understood guacamole’s appeal.  I suspect people like it because it cools the effects of the spicy food it comes with.  Frankly, guacamole looks disgusting to me … especially in this picture.  The bugs don’t look so bad.


(With gratitude to Julia Oldham for bringing this to my attention with her article, Locust Tacos for Rosh Hashana? … check out her grasshopper girl drawings.)

After looking at a thousand images of grasshoppers and locusts on the Internet, I have decided that these must be the rare Balsamea type, because mine are the only pictures of this exact type of locust.  Or maybe I’ve just captured the best images ever made?

20130918 Locust 2They are sluggish, and sometimes won’t move even if you touch them.  To get them off the door before I open it, I often have to flick or fling them.  I add sound effects like, “Yahoo!” or “Yipes!” or “Yowee!”

They fly only in short bursts on their noisy wings.  You can’t see it in these pictures, but they have red and white strobe landing lights under their abdomens, so that you don’t shoot them down at night, and to avoid collisions with fireflies.  I heard a couple of them griping about the summer bug traffic congestion around here.

I don’t know why they have wings.  It seems they can leap as far as they typically fly, with those monstrous hind legs.

By human aesthetic standards, everything about them is monstrous.  But the more you study them, the more attractive they become.  Their amazing nature grows on you.  But I’d prefer they show up only one or two per day instead of being omnipresent.

I have a hunch that there is a part of human nature that needs close encounters with this kind of critter.  Without it, we’d become too civilized, not wild enough, nature-deficient, merely humanoid, not fully human.  We might start thinking the world revolves around us, was made solely for us, exists solely for our pleasure.

20130918 Locust 3

The stripes are cool. And dig those feet! And know that they are ALWAYS looking at you.

I’m pretty sure that they are vegans.  I’ve never had one bother me in any way, only very rarely landing briefly on me before fluttering away.  It only happens when one of their GPS units or radar guidance systems fail.

Buddy shows no interest in them.  He also usually ignores frogs, lizards, snakes, fish and non-game birds (although he will not turn down an offer of the meat of these beings).  But don’t try to saunter by him if you have any kind of fur.  He’s such an animal.  I seriously doubt he would want any of that taco.

Copyright-2013-Image-119x108If you know something interesting or fun about the lives or livelihoods of these miniature monsters, or about kosher food, guacamole or human nature, feel free to share it.  You won’t embarrass my ignorance and lack of research.

Brought to you by the letter L.




Baby poo.

4 thoughts on “L is for Locust

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