A plague of grasshoppers has risen from the sands of the Spit, blanketing the dunes with the ravenous creepy-crawlies. Thousands of the insects, of various shapes, sizes and colours, are crawling over fences, plants and the Coast's beaches.

Entomologist and associate professor at Griffith University Gold Coast campus Clyde Wild said the hot weather was to blame for the sudden infestation.

"These will have been eggs laid in the sand or soil last year," he said. "They survived well because we have had a mild winter. Then, something like the bright, sunny weather we've had comes and they rise to the surface."

He said the fine weather, which benefited the grasshoppers, had also helped the local plant life grow, giving the hoppers a veritable feast.

While the plague is bad news for the vegetation, which is likely to be razed by the ravenous hatchlings, it is good news for the bird population.

"(Grasshoppers) can get into such numbers they eat the plants to the ground and they die. But it's part of the natural balance," he said. "They could do harm to plants, but doing harm is part of the natural process of life, death and evolution. It will be a feast for the birds without a doubt."

One of the Coast's major nuisance birds, the ibis, is unlikely to be attracted to the grasshoppers, as the bird's long, narrow beak makes it difficult for it to crunch the insects, said Mr Wild. He said magpies and crows would be the main beneficiaries of the plague.

Mr Wild said the grasshoppers would begin to leave as they turned into adults in the next few weeks.

"The last ones will be seen some time in early March," he said.

Be prepared for a second wave next summer, Mr Wild warned, as the offspring of this plague made their presence felt.

"If the summer continues with the current promise, they'll have a good season and we'll see plenty of them next year -- unless we have a hard winter," said Mr Wild.

Although the insects might look scary, humans had nothing to fear from the grasshopper swarm.

"For people there's no risk at all. They're not toxic and they don't bite," he said. "But the plant life on the Spit will look a bit ragged by the time they've had enough of it."