Large group of insects that belong to the straight-winged insects (Orthoptera). The wandering, buzzing and thorn grasshoppers are among the most feared plant pests. In the vineyard they eat the leaves, young shoots and bark of young vines and in large masses can destroy entire vineyards by defoliation. Today they hardly play a role as pests in Europe. In the Middle Ages, however, they were a feared and regularly occurring pest, as reported by numerous sources in many countries. Between 1338 and 1340, the insects, coming from Asia Minor, invaded the vineyards of Klosterneuburg in Lower Austria. According to a contemporary report, they came in such huge swarms that they blocked out the sun and ate everything bare. In California and Australia they still cause considerable damage today. Locusts are mainly controlled with insecticides. Because of their jumping ability and similarity, the much more dangerous cicadas (leafhoppers) are often confused with the unrelated grasshoppers. See also under vine enemies.
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