You might remember the brown grasshopper perched on the aloe I showcased last month ( It looked at me unblinkingly then and paid no attention to my cell phone coming ever closer to capture its image. Significantly, it was on its own and I thought nothing more about it. Since then I have seen it – or another solo traveller – on our back path. These large brown grasshoppers are commonly found in gardens and are recognised by the dark brown spots on their wings – and are quite fearsome when observed closely.

Less welcome was seeing it – or a pal or a pal of that pal – in the flower bed I am trying to nurture against all odds. At first I admired how well it blended in with the dried leaves that the Berg Wind has piled up in the corner.

Then I noticed it was nibbling a leaf of a calendula seedling I had planted less than a week ago. Given that some countries north of the equator have been devastated by swarms of locusts, I was pleased this was a single one – and they do have to eat after all. What is one leaf when there are many more?

It was only when I looked at these photographs that I realised how much of the plant had already been eaten. Today I see the entire calendula plant has been nibbled to within an inch of its life – only the base of the stem is left with not even a vestige of leaves in sight. If this is what a single grasshopper can do, imagine a swarm of hundreds of them chomping their way through your garden – never mind your crops!


    • I have only once experienced a swarm of locusts that made our windscreen greasy and got stuck on the wipers. The whirring sound of their wings will remain with me forever. I see horrendous photographs on the internet of people doing their best to get rid of them to no avail. It is no wonder they form one of the ten plagues of Egypt referred to in the Bible.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. They are such voracious eaters. Here, their lifecycle is relatively short, but they make up for it by growing exponentially eating constantly. Calendulas seem to be favored by katydids as well as grasshoppers. I often see their bright green bodies against the bright orange flower. Luckily, the blooms keep coming!
    I, too, am glad we don’t get ‘plagues’ of locusts.


    • I am fervently hoping that I will get to enjoy some flowers – checked the bed this afternoon and saw no sign of this (now) unwelcome intruder. Hopefully it has discovered a tastier source of food elsewhere!

      Liked by 1 person

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