Animals In Appalachia Appalachia

Grasshoppers in Appalachia

grasshoppers in Appalachia

During the summer it’s hard to walk through the yard without flushing out grasshoppers. I found this little guy in a 5 gallon bucket that was sitting on the back porch. He was missing a leg, but other than that seemed to be in good condition.

pet grasshopper

I couldn’t resist seeing if he was hungry. My new friend made short work of the blade of grass I offered him.

I’m not sure who taught me grasshoppers would eat a blade of grass if you stuck it in front of their little mouths, but when my nephews, girls, and niece came along I showed them the trick.

The first one I taught was Ben, Pap and Granny’s first grandchild. Ben’s arrival made me an aunt for the first time and I doted on him. Actually we all did.

Ben called me Auntie Titter and he thought I was the Queen of the Grasshoppers. I showed him how to feed them grass, how if you were extra gentle and quick a grasshopper would hop from arm to arm and I fascinated him when I showed him grasshoppers will sometimes spit ‘tobacco juice’ on you.

There were a few summers that every time I seen him he wanted nothing more than to hold my hand and walk through the yard looking for grasshoppers because Auntie Titter could find them like no one else.

Thanks to Ben and his wife, I became a great aunt for the first time and I’m looking forward to passing my Queen of the Grasshoppers knowledge on to another generation.

If you want to learn how to make Grasshopper Chairs-go here

And if you have warts the grasshopper’s tobacco juice will make them go away…at least that’s what I was always told.



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  • Reply
    July 6, 2017 at 1:11 pm

    I’m back on. Frontier sent a technician out and now I’m back on. I ain’t sure what the problem was, but I think they fixed the problem at our local office. Anyway, I commented on the 3rd. of July and shortly afterward, it wouldn’t let me back on. I’m not too savoy on these things anyway, just barely know how to get to town.
    And as far as the Grasshopper Queen, I never played with them much, but I know they will spit ‘baccer’ juice on you. I’ve fished with them alot, but the best thing I ever used was “white
    millers” when a hatch would come off. …Ken

  • Reply
    July 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    I have a lot of small black grasshoppers in my yard. Never saw this type till I moved into this house. Don’t know what they eat, but they don’t seem to bother my garden thank goodness!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 6, 2017 at 11:32 am

    I was sitting here rereading my comment….how could I have forgotten one of the most wonderful insects for summertime childhood play in Appalachia….besides lightning bug catching of a’evenin’, pinch worm catching’ holes and ‘doodle bugs’!! The famous large green hard shelled JUNE BUGS!
    We couldn’t wait for them to show up…buzzing around all over the yard by the dozens…We sneak in and get a small spool of Moms cotton thread…catch us a biggin’ and tie the string to one of it’s back legs…Sometimes we just let it loose to fly off and unroll the thread, much like kids do today with those modern release kite string holders…We pinched the spool between our fingers or got a large matchstick or stick from the yard for this purpose…Most of the time we just kept the string about five feet long and tortured the June bug by letting it think it was loose and fly around and around our heads…
    I may have told this story….long ago in a year far, far back in the forties…we decided to see how many June Bugs we could catch in a day. That year there seemed like ‘zillions’ of them. We didn’t have a place to put them, our hands only holding a couple at a time…Sooo, the mail box was handy. Yep, we filled it to the maximum. After a while we could barely open it to put in a bug without another buzzing out of the box in our face…Soon we tired of it and started playing ball, we thought they would quite down and we could pick them out to count…One or another thing happened, we were called in to eat lunch by Mom, etc. and they ended up spending the night in the mail box totally forgotten…Until the next morning when the Postman knocked on the door! He said to Mother, your kids have just about given me a heart attack…did you know that your mailbox was full of June Bugs? I thought I had opened a nest of hornets! Mom couldn’t keep from laughing but he was half laughing and dead serious as well…We were scolded and then given an old peanut butter jar for June bug storage!
    Thanks Tipper,

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    July 6, 2017 at 11:02 am

    Tell Cindy she might not want to be looking around for what left the exoskeleton of her large grasshopper….For whatever grabbed it and took all its “innards” out might be a very big skeery spider!
    For worse than looking at the poor grasshoppers exoskeleton!
    I can’t see the folded-down wings of your grasshopper…Did it have any wings? Could it be a very large developing ‘baby’ grasshopper…oooooh! Now then that ‘baby’ might eat your corn leaves as well as munch down past the browning silks to the yellow gold!
    I think I told you about this before of our escapades thru the lawn and tall grasses in the forties and fifties. White Clover and daisy bracelets, necklaces and hair décor. Picking large leafed plantain for our salad to go with our mud pie meat loaf. Not counting the Passion Fruit that we used for our watermelons and fights with our brothers…
    The grasshopper chair is similar to the grasshopper nest we made. Made essentially the same way except after laying the stems over the fingers, other stems were woven under and over, then all tied at the base. We would lay these around to catch grasshoppers…the only reason one could be found in a nest was because the yard was so full of grasshoppers…HA They really don’t work as nest or trap very well.
    It was normal for our back yards to be full of different plantains, clovers…white, pink and tall large lavender clover with the large leaves…Lots of wild onions as well and crab grass. There was more to do for our parents than manicure the lawn…old push mowing, hand clipping and raking leaves was a chore left to the kids as we grew.
    Yep, I’ve fed many and old saw jawed grasshopper a blade of grass…Of course he just about had to eat it as we would stick it right in his face and pincher like mandibles…then after he finished he would spit up the black n’ brown ‘backer juice all over your fingers…This was when I generally let the ‘booger’ go on to jump n’ fly to the next weed patch….Only to catch another one and threaten my friends (bully) brother that I could teach a grasshopper to spit on him if he didn’t leave us alone in our playhouse! HA
    Thanks Tipper,
    PS…Let us not forget our lightning bugs…AKA fireflies in some folks neck of the woods…

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    July 6, 2017 at 10:18 am

    Those are the nig yellow scary ones. I like the little green ones

  • Reply
    Ed Ammons
    July 6, 2017 at 10:16 am

    Something about your little pal there makes me think of a AH-64 Apache helicopter painted up in desert camouflage. Good thing he ain’t as lethal as his bigger lookalike.

  • Reply
    Ron Stephens
    July 6, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Sounds to me like you could write a good children’s book. Maybe a title would be “Queen of the Grasshopper’s”? Your pictures would make the illustrations.
    I almost never see grasshoppers here, even though I border a pasture field on one side and a hay field across the road. I’m a little surprised you have very many since you are surrounded by woods. There must be a meaning of some kind in that difference between us.

  • Reply
    July 6, 2017 at 9:17 am

    I remember making the “chairs” with plantain , but had forgotten how it was done until I viewed the link you included. We called them “toad stools”.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    July 6, 2017 at 9:03 am

    Tipper–Interesting, and I never knew the part about a ‘hopper eating a bit of grass when it was offered. Maybe my experience with them over the years hasn’t been exactly conducive to grasshopper feeding, because my primary interest has focused on them as fish bait. If you get out before the sun dries their wings in the morning, they can only jump, not fly, and it is fairly easy to catch them. Once, as a boy, I even devised a two-boy contraption, similar to a minnow seine, to “sweep” them up off weed tops. It worked quite well, and grasshoppers can be kept in the same device fishermen use to hold crickets.
    These days I rely on instruments of deceit (trout flies tied to resemble grasshoppers) rather than the real McCoy. That way grasshopper tobacco juice isn’t a problem, although the amount of it I’ve had on my fingers and hands over the years quite possibly explains why I’ve never been plagued by warts.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    July 6, 2017 at 8:14 am

    Not to mention good fish bait, there was always a good pasture on the way to the creek, to load up on grasshoppers, crickets, or what we called monkey worms, they lived in the stem of a certain weed that grew tall and narrow.

  • Reply
    Kay Dallas
    July 6, 2017 at 8:03 am

    Not sure I would this grasshopper. Matter of fact I know I wouldn’t lol. But interesting!

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    July 6, 2017 at 7:01 am

    I found a grasshopper just yesterday, well, what remained of him. He was hanging in the wooden door to my spring house. He or what was left of him was a dried out hull. He looked like he would jump if I got too close then I realized he was sitting just too still. He was a dried out hull but he looked to real and alive. He even had those round eyes and there he was, just hanging out on the door!

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