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Grasshopper - Life Cycle
There are three stages in the grasshopper life cycle — the egg, nymph, and adult. The female lays the eggs in the soil and surrounds the eggs with a frothy liquid that hardens to form a protective structure or “pod”. Typically, a female grasshopper will lay about 100 eggs during the summer and fall. Egg pods are deposited in the upper few inches of soil in grassy areas of uncultivated land such as roadsides, field margins, and pastures. A long, warm autumn favors better nutrition and increased egg-laying by grasshoppers.
Winter is spent in the egg stage. Hatching time is influenced by temperature, with earlier hatching occurring after a warm spring.
General life cycle of the grasshopper.
Source: Grasshopper Biology and Management, North Dakota Extension Publication E-272
Tiny grasshopper nymphs hatch from eggs in the spring and early summer. The egg hatch for a single species may extend over a month or more. Nymphs resemble wingless adults and develop (molt) through five or six stages (instars). After each instar, they shed their cuticle (skin) and grow larger. Nymphs must start feeding within one day after egg hatch and usually feed on the same plants as the adult.
Because of limited fat reserves, young nymphs are vulnerable to adverse weather just after hatching. Young nymphs are quite susceptible to weather and natural enemies. Cool, wet conditions during egg hatch reduce grasshopper numbers. Grasshopper nymphs normally reach the adult stage in five to six weeks.
Adult grasshoppers, the only stage to have wings, readily move out of hatching areas and begin egg-laying one to two weeks after becoming adults. Adults live two to three months, depending on the weather. All developmental stages are influenced by temperature, and grasshopper growth can be advanced or retarded by favorable or unfavorable temperatures.
Most grasshopper species produce one generation per year.