EVERETT — A striped-eyed bug wound up a long way from home this spring.
That’s the Egyptian grasshopper, found by an Everett resident in April, the first time the insect has been detected in the state. As grasshopper season begins, state agriculture officials asked Everett-area residents this week to keep an eye out for the nonnative grasshopper.
The Egyptian grasshopper is found in the Mediterranean region of Europe, western Asia and North Africa. It’s unclear how one came to Western Washington.
The Everett resident first reported the striped-eyed, unusually large grasshopper in April, said Karla Salp, spokesperson with the state Department of Agriculture. Federal agriculture officials confirmed it was an Egyptian grasshopper in July.
There is no evidence of an established population. The single grasshopper was found alive, though sluggish, the agriculture department said in a blog post on Thursday.
“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,” Sven Spichiger, managing entomologist, said in the post.
The insect could pose a minor threat to crops, Salp said. The U.S. Department of Agriculture is researching the potential risks, she added.
There are more than 100 species of grasshoppers in the state, according to Washington State University. After reaching adulthood, grasshoppers mate and lay eggs in late summer.
The male Egyptian grasshopper can grow to be 2 inches long and females nearly 3 inches. Adults are typically olive, gray or brown. They have distinctive black vertical stripes in their eyes, which sets them apart from other grasshoppers. Young grasshoppers are green, though still have striped eyes.
State officials plan to conduct visual surveys in the area, but also hope to get the public’s help.
Think you’ve seen an Egyptian grasshopper around Everett? Send a photo, with the location where it was spotted, to firstname.lastname@example.org.