Howdy, Stranger!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Sign In with Facebook Sign In with Google Sign In with OpenID Sign In with Twitter

In this Discussion

grasshoppers

Hi, I'm new to this group and am wondering if anyone has any experience farming grasshoppers. There isn't much info on the web or in books, and hardly anyone nationwide is providing live grasshoppers for sale. It makes me wonder if they are difficult to grow. Does anyone have any info on this? Thanks!

Comments

  • Hello Lin,

    First of all, welcome to this forum! It has brought me many information I couldn't find elsewhere :) Where are you from if I may ask? Because in most of Europe and America you can find grasshoppers pretty easily.

    As for farming being difficult: yes and no. It's difficult because they are quite vulnerable to diseases and toxics in food (from insect repellent) and you have to feed them VERY fresh grass 4-5 times a day.

    It's easy because when given the right amount of heat (+35 degrees Celsius) they will reproduce like madness :)

    In my opinion this goes for pretty much all pest insects: once you know how to feed them with artificial diet and housing, it's not that hard anymore to breed them.

    If you want any more information, just ask me and I will tell you what I know.

  • Hi Lin, - You want to know which grasshopper you wish to breed, even if do not know their scientific name. Presumably you are already looking at ones in your own country; so it would be helpful to know the general region.

    If you have an idea of the grasshopper that interests try to look what type of plants you remember seeing it near; for example if you are in a rice growing area & the grasshopper visits those fields. For some grasshoppers a captivity (artificial) diet including oats (for example) grow less than when (instead of oats) their diet has wheat.

  • Note to my post: I was talking about Locusta migratoria, sorry for not clarifying that in the first place!

  • Thank you both for your comments. I live in NE Washington State about 20 miles from the Canadian border in a small mountain mining town called Republic. We have lots of grasshoppers here but I'm not sure what kind they are and will need to go to the extension office to find out. Winters are cold with snow and summers are hot and dry. I'm looking to raise food grade Grasshoppers. We have 40 acres and are surrounded by lots of vacant land. Vegetation is native grasses and whatever we have growing in the garden!

  • According to the University of Washington we have over 100 species of grasshoppers in this state. Apparently the redlegged, clearwinged, and migratory are the most common.

  • Nutritional data (category summarized in 11 different tables) on different grasshopper varieties from Mexico. Check out Table 2 for varieties with over 70% protein; free full text= http://halachicadventures.com/wp-content/uploads/2009/09/grasshopper-nutrition-2012.pdf

  • Hi Lin, - Let's start with the migratory Melanoplus sanguinipes because there is some data on a Palouse region (Lewiston, Idaho) variety of this. Here's a link to how this grasshopper looks = http://bugguide.net/node/view/33775/bgimage

    The ideal grasshopper rearing temperature range is considered to be 30-33* Celsius (86-91F); yet if you are dealing with night time low temperatures that is an influence. At a constant 30C the Idaho M.sanuinipes grasshopper took only 26 days in going from egg hatching to moult into adult and at that time average weight was 357 mg. each. If the daytime (12 hr.) temperature was 33*C the same life cycle took 41 days & each grasshopper weighed 335 mg. on average.

    Compounding the issue is the nutritional quality of what M. sanuinipes gets fed once the are in their later instar stages. A relatively lower quality diet of about 1.6% nitrogen & 7.5% "sugar" carbohydrates as compared to a higher quality diet of about 4.8% nitrogen & 21.7% "sugar" carbohydrates resulted in the lower quality fed grasshoppers having only about 71% of the weight gain than their age mates fed the higher quality feed formulation.

    Source of data (2007) "Growth, Development, and Nutritional Physiology of Grasshoppers from Subarctic and Temperate Regions"; free full text = http://naldc.nal.usda.gov/download/12241/PDF

    Now, if your idea is to rear grasshoppers on plants culled from your local environment & not a purely artificial diet (like laboratory controlled diets) it bears looking at where your plants will come from. In other words to determine optimal growth using what's available you need to think of more than just how much to feed.

    Plants growing among other kinds of plants will have lower nitrogen & also more of what is basically non-"sugar" carbohydrates; which are plant components such as lignin, hemi-cellulose & cellulose. Whereas plants growing among just their own kind will have higher nitrogen & more of what I classified as "sugar" carbohydrates; which are starch & a range of plant sugars (not just sucrose).

    Different varieties of Melanoplus grasshoppers also naturally are drawn to different kinds of plants; which might be a function of the capability (adaptation) to feed better in respect to the "fats" (lipid) which the different types of plant surface wax have. The variety M. lakinus will preferentially feed on 60% of plants classified C4 plants (ex: corn) & ony 40% of plants classified as C3 (ex: wheat & most vegetable); whereas the M. arizonae preferes almost the opposite kinds of plants, seeking out only 36% of C4 plants & 64% of C3 plants.

    Unfortunately I have no data to the M. sanuinipes grasshoppers prefered ratio of C4 to C3 plants; since Palouse is wheat land my assumption is your M. sanuinipes will do better on a relatively low C4 plant diet (sort of like M. gladstoni's 41% C4 plant preference + 57 % C3 plant preference). In other words should you want to rear what you call the "migratory" grasshopper try to select C3 plant vegetation that grows among it's own kind & you'll have a higher quality diet (more nitrogen & convertable "sugar") so the life cycle from egg to adult moult is faster (than a low nutrient diet with lots of C4 cellulose).

    One of the reasons I bring up the difference between plant feed stock is because if one were rearing a different grasshopper some actually prefer no C4 vegetation (ex: Booetittix argentatus & Tropidolophus formosus), while others prefer exclusively C4 vegetation (ex: Boopedon nubilum & Syrbula fuscovittata). Any grasshopper variety can be raised on a basic diet comprised of what they are offered, but each variety seems to be better adapted to some ingredients than others; and a laboratory blended artificial diet is probably going to cost too much for any commercial operation.

  • Italics appearing in above comment is unintentional & not for emphasis.

  • Thank you Gringojay. Very informative!

  • Hargol Food Tech says has developed manipulated envorment for 2 week grasshopper egg cycle completion instead of 40 weeks. Design uses vertical rearing for maximizing space & because grasshoppers swarm, unlike crickets, collecting large quantities are easier to harvest than crickets. Company hints it has lined up US$5,000,000 of orders for next year with some well known large business.

Sign In or Register to comment.