Be on the lookout for oversized, striped-eyed grasshoppers in Everett area

EVERETT, Wash. — People who live in the Everett area are being asked to report sightings of an unusually large grasshopper with distinct striped eyes.

Earlier this year, an Everett resident reported seeing an Egyptian grasshopper (Anacridium aegyptium). Entomologists with the U.S. Department of Agriculture recently confirmed that sighting was the first detection of the grasshopper in the state.

The Washington State Department of Agriculture will survey the area but is asking the public to also be on the lookout for the large grasshopper with unusual eyes.

Typically, the grasshoppers eat plant leaves. Egyptian grasshoppers are generally considered to be a minor pest of concern in their native habitat but occasionally could be a pest to crops, orchards and vineyards, according to WSDA. The USDA is gathering information to help determine possible risks from the insect.

“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,” WSDA managing entomologist Sven Spichiger said.

There has only been one confirmed sighting of a living, but sluggish grasshopper, and so far, there is no evidence of an established population.

“We still have a lot more to learn about. These are brand new insects popping up in our state. We try to get the word out there as quickly as possible because the sooner that you detect and find a population if there is one in the state, the better chance you have at eradicating it,” said Karla Salp with WSDA.

Adults are usually olive, gray or brown in color and are most likely seen near the end of summer.

Young grasshoppers can be green and may blend in with plants. Males can grow to more than 2 inches long and females can reach nearly 3 inches long, according to WSDA.

Young Egyptian grasshopper

The black stripes on the Egyptian grasshopper’s eyes make them distinct from other grasshoppers.

People living near Everett who think they have seen the insect are asked to send a photo to pestprogram@agr.wa.gov and include the location where it was spotted.

Anyone who believes they have seen an Egyptian grasshopper outside of Washington state is asked to take a picture of it, make a note of the location, and report it to their state plant regulatory official or state plant health director.