Breaking News
Nagaland Post Logo
You are here:  Skip Navigation LinksHome » Show story
Grasshoppers a treat, not threat: Agri Dept
NPN: Dimapur, 04 Jul 2008
Published on 5 Jul. 2008 12:05 AM IST
Print  Text Size

State Department of Agriculture has set at rest speculations of imminent famine and other dark forebodings due to current invasion of the long-horned grasshoppers (Tettigonidae family) in Nagaland.
The department has, on the other hand, suggested consuming the edible winged creatures by the population at large as a first towards biological pest management and getting rid of the grasshopper.
“Many insects are consumed as delicacy in different parts of the world. They have rich nutrient value such as protein, fats minerals and vitamins,” stated a press release issued by Director of Agriculture.
The department said the commonly edible insects include grasshoppers, crickets, grubs, caterpillar beetles, winged termites, wasps and bee larvae, ants, cicadas, stink bugs and aquatic insects.
The nighttime hunting of hoppers by the local populace is not new either.
“Similar incidences are reported in East Africa where with the introduction of street lights into towns has revolutionized the tettigonid grasshoppers collection as vast numbers of the insect are attracted so much that streets are sometimes completely blocked to traffic by people who come to collect the insects,” the release added.
And what might be music to many grasshopper hunters, the department said the male species of the long-horned grasshopper are “good singers producing the characteristic ‘katydid’ particularly on warm summer nights.”
Of the two types of grasshoppers -short-horned and long-horned – the short-horned grasshoppers (Acrididae) are voracious feeders, more injurious and threatening to the crops than the long-horned grasshoppers, the department said.
It also said the species of short-horned grasshoppers are found in two phases, i.e, the solitary phase and the gregarious phase. “When the solitary phase congregates in large numbers as nymphs and adult swarm to fly long distance destroying vegetations on their ways are called locust. Those which do not have this ability are simple called grasshoppers,” it added.
Thus all locusts are grasshoppers but all grasshoppers are not locust.
The department said the present invasion of grasshoppers in the state does not come under this category as the extent of damage caused by them is less harmful in comparison with the short-horned grasshoppers.
Although the hopper is highly relished by the local populace, the outer body of the insect is highly chitineous and may pose problems in digestion. The department suggested removing appendages like wings, legs, antennae and head of the grasshoppers before eating them.
The department also cautioned that not all insects are safe to eat because many of them produce toxic metabolites and defensive chemicals as toxins, which may cause allergies in some people.
“The present species of long-horned grasshoppers are edible and almost the whole population of the State consumes it and thus plays a very important role in the biological pest management,” the department said.
Hence, it was not advisable to use chemical spray due to many factors such as health hazards to humans, animals and environment, the department added. 

Tips for protection of crops
•    Besides human predator, conserve other natural enemies of the grasshopper such as snakes, toads, birds (mynah, sterling, sparrow and crows), spiders and praying mantis.
•    Install light traps in the field during nighttime or make bonfire where electricity is not available.
•    Spray the crops 2-3 times at intervals with 5% neem seed kernel extract (NSKE) or neem oil @ 2 ml per liter of water as antifeedant and repellant.

Comments:(0) Login or Register to post your Comment
(Available for registered users only)
More News