Thursday, August 25, 2022

Pest alert: Everett area residents asked to report sightings of oversized, striped-eyed grasshopper

Cassie Cichorz and Karla Salp
Pest Program and Communications

Close up of the head of an Egyptian grasshopper showing the striped eye
Egyptian grasshoppers have striped eyes
Photo credit: Hectonichus, CC BY-SA 4.0,
via Wikimedia Commons
It is grasshopper season and, if you live near Everett, it is a good time to keep your eyes peeled for an unusually large grasshopper with unusual eyes.

An Everett resident reported one Egyptian grasshopper (Anacridium aegyptium) to Washington State entomologists earlier this year and USDA entomologists recently confirmed it as the first detection of the insect in Washington State. The Washington State Department of Agriculture will conduct visual surveys in the area but is asking the public to also be on the lookout for this large grasshopper with striped eyes.

The grasshoppers typically feed on plant leaves. Adults are usually olive, gray, or brown in color and are most likely to be seen toward the end of summer. Young grasshoppers can be green and may blend in with vegetation. Males can grow to over two inches

Green grasshopper with striped eyes on a green leaf
While young Egyptian grasshoppers are green, 
they still have striped eyes.
Photo credit: Metin Gulesci

long and females can be almost three inches long. The key to identifying these insects is their eyes - they have distinct black striping on their eyes that sets them apart from other grasshoppers.

“An overwintering grasshopper could easily hitchhike, so this is another case where we are asking the public to help us figure out if this is just a single specimen,” Sven Spichiger, WSDA managing entomologist, said. Only one living, but sluggish, grasshopper has been confirmed. There is currently no evidence of an established population.

Residents near Everett who believe they have seen this insect should send a photo to for identification and include the location where it was spotted. If you believe you have seen one outside of Washington State, please take a picture of it, note the location, and report it to your State Plant Regulatory Official or State Plant Health Director.

Adult Egyptian grasshopper on a green leaf
Adult Egyptian grasshopper
Photo credit: Metin Gulesci
Egyptian grasshoppers are generally regarded as a minor pest of concern in their native habitat but could be an occasional pest to crops, orchards, and vineyards. USDA is gathering available scientific information to help determine the potential risk of this insect.