Keeping Insects

Keeping Insects

Caring for a praying mantis, butterflies, stick insects and beetles

Grasshoppers

Whether or not you want to keep grasshoppers as pets or as food insects for your reptile, mantis or other pet, this page is the place for you. Here you can find how to take care of grasshoppers and locusts, with a special focus on the “common” pet grasshopper species Locusta migratoria and Schistocerca gregaria. You will also learn how to breed them.

A grasshopper nymph. You can see it is not yet adult because of the short underdeveloped wings.

Grasshoppers fall in the order of Orthoptera, in the suborder Caelifera. Grasshoppers are sometimes called locusts. There are many species, the most famous ones are the desert grasshoppers that also occur in the bible as one of the plagues. Both species Locusta migratoria and Schistocerca gregaria are desert grasshoppers and are in the family Acrididae. Both species reach a size of around 7 cm in length.

Development and life cycle of grasshoppers

A female grasshopper lays eggs in small egg clusters, usually in the ground but she can also deposit them in plant material. Young grasshoppers are called nymphs and already look like miniature versions of the parents. Nymphs lack wings, only adult grasshoppers have fully functional wings. Grasshopper nymphs grow fast and shed their skin (molt) around 8 times in the process. At the last molt both males and females grow long wings that pass the abdomen.

It takes around 2 – 3 weeks for eggs to hatch. In around 4 weeks the nymphs reach adulthood. Around two weeks after that they begin to mate and produce eggs. If the temperature is low, development and breeding will slow down too. A grasshopper will die of old age when it has been an adult for around 5 months.

Schistocerca gregaria nymph

Housing your grasshoppers

Housing grasshoppers is easy. You need a container that is big enough, has some ventilation and can be closed properly to prevent escape. Grasshoppers can chew through fabric gauze, so net cages or cages with a fabric cover are not suitable for grasshoppers. A fauna box, a glass terrarium or a plastic terrarium with metal mesh for ventilation will do. If you keep the grasshoppers as pets, a glass terrarium with a mesh lid will look good. If you keep the grasshoppers to feed them to reptiles or praying mantises you a plastic container is more practical, as it is lightweight and cheaper. Make sure the container is big enough for all grasshoppers. Twelve adult grasshoppers need a cage of around 50 x 50 x 30 cm at least. Bigger is always better.

Fill the bottom of the container with dry sand, dry oatmeal flakes or dry coconut fibers. Place some dry twigs or branches in the enclosure to provide extra surface for the grasshoppers to sit on. The food of the grasshoppers, grass and/or leaves, will also serve as decoration and perching areas. Make sure light reaches into the container, either by a light bulb (see next section about Temperature) or by natural light. Direct sunlight shining into the enclosure could heat it up too much, make sure to prevent overheating.

Schistocerca gregaria nymph seen from top

Temperature and humidity

The grasshopper species Locusta migratoria and Schistocerca gregaria are desert species. They need a dry and warm environment to thrive. A too humid environment will result in infections and death of the grasshoppers. A too cold environment will slow down development and make breeding grasshoppers impossible.

Keep the temperature during the day between 25 and 35 degrees Celsius. By night you can allow the temperature to drop to 15 degrees Celsius. The best way to heat the enclosure of grasshoppers is with a regular light bulb. It is also possible to heat the terrarium with a species heat bulb, found in reptile-specialized pet shops. You can heat the enclosure with a heat mat too. More information about heating any insect enclosure can be read at our page Temperature.

Keep the humidity low by placing dry bedding in the enclosure (dry coconut fiber, oatmeal flakes or dry sand) and not spraying with water. Grasshoppers do need moisture to survive, but can get this from their food. Lightly spray fresh food with water before feeding it to your grasshoppers. If you feel like the enclosure is getting moist, for example when you have an enclosure with little ventilation or if the enclosure is placed in a room with high air humidity, then you can better skip the spraying of the food. The locusts will get all their moisture from the fresh plant material that you give them.

Locusta migratoria nymph

Food and feeding grasshoppers

Locusta migratoria and Schistocerca gregaria eat only plant material. The best food and easiest food you can give them is fresh grass. Even better is fresh reed, reedgrass or canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) if available. Fresh wheat leaves, corn leaves and other vegetable plants may also be eaten. But actually, many plant species will be eaten by grasshoppers. You can try to feed them any kind of grass-like species; if they eat the plants, it means that this is a suitable plant species. Generally grasshoppers will refuse to eat any poisonous plants. Be very aware of insecticide, if any plant has been spraying with insecticide it will be deadly to your grasshoppers.

Place the food plants inside the enclosure of the grasshoppers. They will start to eat from it instantly. At some point the plant will be too dry to eat, then the grasshoppers should be fed again with fresh plants. Once in a while you should clear out all old dry plant material from the enclosure.

Schistocerca gregaria nymph

Breeding grasshoppers

It is very easy to breed grasshoppers as long as you keep them in the right circumstances. They really need high temperature, low humidity and plenty of fresh food. If you have males and females, breeding will occur naturally. You don’t need to move the eggs or nymphs to a different container. If you like, you can of course. The nymphs are very small, so you might want to keep them in a different container than the parents to cater to their needs, prevent escaping and keep a better eye on them.

If you really keep grasshoppers well, you will be awarded with a lot of young grasshoppers. Make sure this is actually what you want! If you don’t want to breed with the grasshoppers, remove the bedding with the eggs or collect the eggs and place them in the freezer. This will kill the eggs before they start to develop. Never release grasshoppers into nature. They can cause plagues, disrupt nature and compete with native grasshopper species.

Locusta migratoria nymph

Buying grasshoppers

It’s actually very easy so buy grasshoppers. You can buy them in reptile-oriented pet shops. They are sold there as feeder animals. They are sold in different sizes, from small nymphs, to bigger nymphs and to adults. If you want to keep them for fun, you can better buy the nymphs. If you want to breed them, it’s faster to just buy the adults.

Make sure the grasshoppers look healthy when you buy them. There should not be any dead grasshoppers in the container.

Next page: Ants as pets
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www.keepinginsects.com

Where does grasshopper come from refrigerator

In today’s food culture, competing buzzwords abound: fast versus farm-to-table, delivery versus sustainability, ready-made versus home-cooked. The tension lies in a seemingly dissonant appetite for both convenience and locally-sourced, fresh food.

But Kentucky restaurateur and farmer Ivor Chodkowski and his business associate Eddie Vetter (no, not Vedder of Pearl Jam fame) are resolving this with a line of products that support regional farmers while providing supermarket shoppers a more convenient way to eat local.

Chodkowski is probably best known locally for co-founding Grasshoppers Distribution, a farm-to-table distributor that lasted for six years until closing in Dec. 2013. At the time of its closing, Grasshoppers Distribution’s network included more than 70 local farms and artisans, and had paid more than $2.25 million directly to Kentucky and Southern Indiana family farms.

But Chodkowski says a growing desire for convenience was part of Grasshoppers Distribution’s downfall.

“There was what we used to refer to as a core group of really hard-core supporters who would go anywhere for us, any drop location, eat whatever it was that we had — processed or unprocessed,” he says. “But there was another, maybe larger, layer of people who wanted something more from us, who wanted something more convenient.”

That’s where the launch of Grasshoppers, a line of prepared and frozen foods made with locally grown produce, comes in. Grasshoppers plans to buy produce from local farmers and process it into packaged items like dips, pickled vegetables, frozen saute packs, and soup mixes.

The products will be created at Chef Space, the non-profit Community Venture’s incubator kitchen in the West End, and will be sold at local grocery stores like Rainbow Blossom Natural Food Markets.

“People have a desire to eat well and support their local economy, but they’re often time-strapped,” Vetter says. “Our products are sold in stores where people are already shopping, so there’s a convenience factor we hope will appeal to a community-minded consumer.”

There are other local shops making pre-prepared foods in-house, including Paul’s Fruit Market and Fond. But Grasshoppers has already partnered with a half-dozen local farms and several additional partners like Bourbon Barrel Foods and Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, making the sheer size of their operation something new for the community.

“There are other companies across the country that do local processing and local distribution,” Vetter says. “But we didn’t see a lot out there making it as accessible and easy to get to as we have, so we do feel like we are on the front end of a movement.”

Ultimately, the duo hopes to expand the concept to more farms, stores and eventually into new cities — but for now they say Grasshoppers is focusing on making the journey from field to fridge shorter and more convenient.

More information about Grasshoppers can be found here.

wfpl.org

Grasshopper

Item details

Lead Free Pewter, Neodymium Magnet

Show your love for the Beautiful Grasshopper with this Hand Made Pewter Fridge Magnet, it makes a wonderful gift for any of your friends or that special someone Hand Made in the USA with Lead-Free Pewter by Creative Pewter Designs This beautiful Refrigerator Magnet was hand sculpted in clay and then made into a mold to be cast in Lead-Free Fine English Pewter After casting, each piece is hand finished and polished for a beautiful antique look Proudly Made by American Artists 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Antiqued Pewter: Finish This is our most affordable finish. After casting the Refrigerator Magnets, we soak them in a water-based acid that blackens the Refrigerator Magnet, we then polish each piece to give it an antique look.

Antiqued Copper Finish: Electroplated with Copper this finish adds another affordable option for anyone looking add a little something to their home, refrigerator, or toolbox.

Antiqued Gold Finish: Electroplated with 22K Gold this finish adds another affordable option for anyone looking add a little something to their home, refrigerator, or toolbox. (Please note a picture of the Antiqued Gold is not listed as this is a new line, they are however, available and do present a lead time of 1-2 weeks depending on quantity ordered)

Hand Painted Finish: Each painted Refrigerator Magnet is carefully done by Hand with fine detailing to create the realism and beauty of the real life image. Three coats of Flex Coat epoxy are added to ensure the paint will not chip or fade. The Painted Refrigerator Magnet truly becomes a beautiful home accent.

Height (IN): 0.5 Width (IN): 1.75 Diameter (IN): N/A Thickness(IN): N/A Weight (OZ): N/A

Show your love for the Beautiful Grasshopper with this Hand Made Pewter Fridge Magnet, it makes a wonderful gift for any of your friends or that special someone Hand Made in the USA with Lead-Free Pewter by Creative Pewter Designs This beautiful Refrigerator Magnet was hand sculpted in clay and then made into a mold to be cast in Lead-Free Fine English Pewter After casting, each piece is hand finished and polished for a beautiful antique look Proudly Made by American Artists 100% Satisfaction Guarantee

Antiqued Pewter: Finish This is our most affordable finish. After casting the Refrigerator Magnets, we soak them in a water-based acid that blackens the Refrigerator Magnet, we then polish each piece to give it an antique look.

Antiqued Copper Finish: Electroplated with Copper this finish adds another affordable option for anyone looking add a little something to their home, refrigerator, or toolbox.

Antiqued Gold Finish: Electroplated with 22K Gold this finish adds another affordable option for anyone looking add a little something to their home, refrigerator, or toolbox. (Please note a picture of the Antiqued Gold is not listed as this is a new line, they are however, available and do present a lead time of 1-2 weeks depending on quantity ordered)

Hand Painted Finish: Each painted Refrigerator Magnet is carefully done by Hand with fine detailing to create the realism and beauty of the real life image. Three coats of Flex Coat epoxy are added to ensure the paint will not chip or fade. The Painted Refrigerator Magnet truly becomes a beautiful home accent.

Height (IN): 0.5 Width (IN): 1.75 Diameter (IN): N/A Thickness(IN): N/A Weight (OZ): N/A

www.etsy.com

The Nutrition Values of Edible Bugs & Insects

The Nutrition Values of Edible Bugs & Insects

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The next time you’re staring into the refrigerator racking your brain trying to come up with something to make for dinner, consider heading outside instead. Your local specialty market and international cooking stores are likely stocked with edible insects, which the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations are touting as a nutritious way to meet the nutrient needs of humans. Consider these nutrition facts as added motivation to give any number of six-legged creatures a try.

Grasshoppers and Crickets

Normally seen hopping through your yard or heard making chirping sounds after dark, grasshoppers and crickets probably aren’t what you would consider dinner. A 3.5-ounce serving of raw grasshoppers contains between 14 and 28 grams of protein, which is quite a lot for such a small amount of food. That translates to between 30 and 60 percent of the 46 grams of protein women need each day and between 25 and 50 percent of the 56 grams men need on a daily basis. Grasshoppers and crickets are a good source of unsaturated fats, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, which can help lower your risk of heart disease. These insects also supply small amounts of iron, though the exact amount depends on how large the bug is.

If you tend to shoo the ants away when you’re having a picnic, perhaps you should invite them onto the blanket as part of your meal. A 3.5-ounce serving of red ants supplies about 14 grams of protein, according to the National Geographic website. The same serving of red ants also supplies 6 milligrams of iron, which is 71 percent of the 8 milligrams men need each day and about one-third of the 18 milligrams women require on a daily basis. Ants are also a good source of calcium.

Beetles are among the richest insect sources of protein, according to National Geographic, but the exact amount depends on what type of beetle you’re eating. A giant water beetle, for example, supplies about 20 grams of protein per 3.5-ounce, serving while the same amount of June beetle supplies 13 grams. A serving of palmworm beetle can have as much as 36 grams of protein. Like other insects, beetles supply calcium and iron, as well as a good dose of zinc. The exact amounts depend on the size and variety of beetle you’re eating.

Additional Insects

Caterpillars are another excellent source of protein and other minerals. A 3.5-ounce serving of the average caterpillar contains 7 grams of protein and about 13 milligrams of iron. A serving of the mopane caterpillar supplies between 31 and 77 milligrams of iron, however, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The mopane caterpillar also supplies about one-fourth of the potassium you need each day, as well as 100 percent of the copper you require. Termites are a good source of heart-healthy unsaturated fats, and about 49 percent of their body composition contains these beneficial nutrients.

healthyeating.sfgate.com

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