What Do Locusts Eat?
Locusts consume leaves and the tender tissues of plants. They are strong fliers as adults and tenacious hoppers as nymphs. Large swarms of locusts can completely strip the foliage and stems of plants such as forbs and grasses.
Some species consume a variety of plants, while others have a more specific diet. They often eat dry plant matter on the ground and will forage for weak or dead grasshoppers when plant food is scarce. As nymphs have a large appetite, they cause more damage than adults.
Locusts swarm when populations grow very large. One famously destructive locust was the Rocky Mountain locust. They were common west of the Mississippi River up until the beginning of the 1900s, but are now extinct in North America.
Currently, the American grasshopper damages agricultural crops, such as corn, cotton, oats and peanuts, citrus and dogwood trees, and many kinds of vegetables and grasses such as Bermuda grass and crabgrass.
Locusts in North America are far more likely to feed in numbers smaller than the huge swarms found in Africa.