Devil Horse, Southeastern Lubber (Romalea guttata)

Order: Orthoptera
Family: Romaleidae
Genus: Romalea
Species: guttata


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Anniston, Alabama
Verbena, Alabama
Alford, Florida
Altamonte Springs, Florida
Anthony, Florida
Atlantic Beach, Florida
Babson Park, Florida
Brooksville, Florida
Cape Coral, Florida
Daytona Beach, Florida
Debary, Florida
Fort Pierce, Florida
Immokalee, Florida
Jacksonville, Florida (2 reports)
Jupiter, Florida
Lutz, Florida
Ocala, Florida
Oldsmar, Florida
Plant City, Florida
Spring Hill, Florida
Titusville, Florida (2 reports)
Winter Springs, Florida
Belle Chasse, Louisiana
Donaldsonville, Louisiana
Holden, Louisiana
Madisonville, Louisiana
Mandeville, Louisiana (3 reports)
Ponchatoula, Louisiana
Reserve, Louisiana
Springfield, Louisiana
Thibodaux, Louisiana
Magnolia, Mississippi
Marietta, Mississippi
Waynesboro, Mississippi
Elgin, South Carolina
Sardis, Tennessee
Broaddus, Texas
Devers, Texas
Mont Belvieu, Texas
Show all

Members' Notes:


On May 27, 2021, shadowscar00 from Altamonte Springs, FL wrote:

Have been seeing these guys around for a few years, didn\'t start gardening until a few weeks ago. Went outside to water my garden today and found a single lubber on my canna lilly and he had eaten a whole HALF of a leaf by himself in less than a day. Huge bug, hard to kill.


On Aug 1, 2017, stella1952 from SE, LA (Zone 8b) wrote:

VERY destructive. Kill 'em early or they'll eat nearly any plants in the garden. They LOVE lily vegetation. The only plants in my yard I've found they don't much like are azaleas & elephant ears. They will even chew on agaves, aloes & other succulents. Have tried a few sprays, but haven't found any to be very effective, especially when they are large.

When a little boy, my son taught me to grab 'em by the hind legs and throw them forcefully onto pavement. This either kills or stuns them so that they can be dispatched. There is an "ick" factor to this method and takes some nerve to grab the creepy things. I prefer to slip off my flip flops or shoes & smack the devil horses between them - less destructive to plants.

Other destructive but satisfying killing tec... read more


On Jul 15, 2015, sunkissed from Winter Springs, FL (Zone 9b) wrote:

This is the first year in over twenty I've had these ugly critters in my garden. I've seen them while hiking around FL in wilderness areas, but never my garden.
I haven't had a lot but the handful I found ate all my amaryllis leaves and native spider lily leaves. I read they like orchids but so far they've not found mine...yet. I also read they like tall grassy areas and my neighbor doesn't mow the backyard and maybe that has attracted them this year. The pesticide place said they can only be controlled during the nymph stage, when they are little and black. Unfortunately I missed that stage and rarely use pesticides, so I find since they are slow moving and don't pose a threat to humans, my shoe works very well but can leave a yucky mess on the bottom. So the best control is my h... read more


On Jun 1, 2014, Zingy from New Port Richey, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

These beasts are back in my garden. I hate to kill things but these beasts are on my "Hit Lits", nothing eats them. Currently I'm drowning them in soapy water. I did kill one with the Scrubbing Bubbles clone from the Dollar Tree.. but that could get toxic and expensive.
Update October 2015 - I forgot to mention that this Spring, in the nymph stage of the Lubber's development, we sprinkled Bayer systemic stuff in the dirt around the plant, and in a large pot of Amaryllis - the little black nymphs died. We also drowned some in soapy water after netting them.
I dislike using chemicals and killing things, but at my age and with my present health problems, I have to find easier ways to garden our 1 acre+.
Oddly enough, my husband stepped on a full grown giant, killing ... read more


On Jul 3, 2012, sidebyside from Brooksville, FL wrote:

They eat amaryllis foliage!


On Mar 24, 2012, Aegletes from Debary, FL wrote:

Thanks to the unusually warm weather this year, we have a plethora of nymphs now (March 2012). They have congregated in large groups on several plants, but so far, only seem to be eating the banana plants. In the past, very few survive to adulthood and they really don't seem to eat too much. They have somewhat "trimmed" my night blooming jasmine, but no complaints, since it grows so quickly anyway.


On Oct 23, 2010, faithpeach from Daytona Beach, FL wrote:

Dawn Dishsoap Is LUBBER LEATHAL! I had several that had taken up residence in my knockout roses and proceded to eat their way through them and Dawn in a pitcher mixed with water WORKS! Don't bother hunting down a working spray bottle, it dosent hurt your plants (in fact can be benificial)! Just saturate the infected area with foamy soapy water and a few minutes later, Dead Lubbers! Good Luck!


On Oct 5, 2010, cyberageous from Everglades, FL (Zone 10a) wrote:

These bugs have wiped out our veggie gardens, ate citrus blooms and scarred the citrus fruit. They are the easiest to spray just before dark- they're tired too! They have such a bitter taste that the fish in the pond won't even eat them but once I did see a swamp rat carry one off!
I put wide cellophane tape (on backwards- inside out) on the bottom of my fruit trees to keep them at bay. (they stuck to it) Also, we use diazicide granules and have them down to a minimum in our gated area.
And they have a "purr" noise when they mate!


On Jul 25, 2010, CajunGranny from Donaldsonville, LA wrote:

After many years of not seeing any of these creepy crawlers, which were abundant when I was a child, they have invaded again! I can't stand the thought of stepping on them, so I spray them with wasp and hornet spray. That takes care of the problem.


On May 30, 2010, jpm627 from Reserve, LA wrote:

These grasshoppers are everywhere here and eat all our flowers and garden plants. Dawn liquid detergent mixed with water and sprayed on them will kill them within a few minutes. But a stomp works quicker. Between 10am and 3pm today alone, I stomped on 110 of them. I've been killing nearly 200 per day for 2 weeks. They are growing fast. Most are now 2" long, some are still smaller. I never ever saw these before Hurricane Katrina. They must have blown in with the storm. I hope the next storm blows them away!


On May 26, 2010, Howboutcha from Mandeville, LA wrote:

WD-40 kills them. But be careful if you use it and get it on any plants. I've killed close to a thousand in the past month just with WD-40 - and some with my hands or boots. They're a month behind last year as far as coming out of the ground. When they're red they're brand new but they turn black quickly. Roach spray works too but it's not as fast. Nothing in Mandeville, LA eats them. I'll throw smashed ones in the water and the fish will plonk at them but that's it.

They're awful, they'll eat anything and they all deserve to die! I don't know what purpose they serve because they just destroy destroy destroy. They're like little BPs running around.


On Jul 3, 2009, themoonhowl from Prairieville, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

These critters will not only devour crinums, but also do damage to agapanthus and daylillies. When ever we find a hatching, we use wasp and hornet spray on them. Since their breathing aparatus is in their rear end, for the large ones you have to spray from behind them. A trivia note: at one time these critters were collected and their chiton was used to make cough syrup.


On Apr 5, 2009, herb_lady from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

Yes, these are agressive & ravenous creatures. They return every year in early April & spread through my garden. The local nursery attendant said that they actually release a pheromone if you kill them when they're older that attracts more of them. If anyone knows of an organic method of control (aside from stomping on them while cursing at them when they're small), I would be happy to hear of it!


On Oct 26, 2008, chubbydoll from Jacksonville, FL wrote:

The only thing that will kill these suckers is BLUNT FORCE TRAMA....REPEATEDLY!! They are demon spawn!!


On Sep 30, 2008, Windy from Belleville , IL (Zone 6b) wrote:

Cats also help keep the population in check. When I had cats living outdoors these were one of their favorites.


On May 18, 2007, Two_and_a_cat from Titusville, FL wrote:

We live in a peaceful co-existance with these guys. We have a superabundance of anoles (many species) and they eat the young ones. Even though in April/May we see lots of the small ones, we never see more than a handful of the big uns in summer. I guess the anoles are pretty effective!


On Aug 10, 2006, jlm8109 from Ocala, FL wrote:

The Lubber nymphs hatch around May here.
Rid them while they are small. The adult can wipe out the leaves of a crinum lily over night and are extremely hard to kill. Insecticides don't seem to touch these giants.
I have had to resort to a large stick!


On Aug 2, 2006, DonnaA2Z from Jacksonville, FL (Zone 9a) wrote:

I hate these things.... ever since I was a kid they have scared me to death. "The Giant Grasshopper" is what my brother and I use to call them. This is one critter I make my husband chase down and kill.


On Aug 2, 2006, NematanthusNut from Mandeville, LA (Zone 9a) wrote:

These things appear every year about this time and will absolutely eat your whole garden in no time. I killed three on my front porch this morning. When confronted they rare up and stand their ground rather than flee. Creepy, scarey, destructive monster bug!


On Jul 30, 2006, justmeLisa from Brewers, KY (Zone 6b) wrote:

These grasshoppers will travel in huge swarms in the swamps. However, by the time they make it to your gardens they are usually traveling in very small numbers. They can be eaisly removed due to their size. The females can be up to 6 inches long. The males are much smaller. They produce an unpleasant smell by opening up their wings and make hissing noises when disturbed. One must remove them with care!