HOW TO GET RID OF GRASSHOPPERS
Insects have always been a part of our lives. Oftentimes, they are considered as a nuisance and mere pests for gardeners and farmers. A few species even make it inside households to wreak havoc there. But actually, the truth is far more complicated than that. Insects play an important role in the environment, contribute positively to several livelihoods, and are even used as food by humans in some cultures. Most people are not aware of this, and would rather see insects as enemies who do not deserve to live another day on earth, the benefits largely unknown.
Who could blame them? Insects have caused billions of dollars in damages to crops all throughout the world. At home, they ravage plants in the garden, causing so much dismay to homeowners. Among these insects, one type stands out: the grasshoppers.
Grasshoppers are easily one of the most destructive insects of home gardeners and field crops. At first glance, they look delicate and harmless, but their hunger for plants is insatiable, eating about half of their body weight per day. Both the adults and nymphs can cause severe damage to leaves and stems of plants by chewing on them. In the United States, it is estimated that they consume around 25% of the available forage. But dare we say that grasshoppers have one great use to humanity: they can one day be a steady source of food to help feed the ever-growing population around the world.
It is easy to spot a grasshopper; they are readily distinguishable from all the other insects. Their appearance is distinct, and you would immediately recognize them if you see one. There are more than 200 species of grasshoppers in the United States, but not all are causing significant problems to gardeners. Two types of grasshoppers are most destructive: the aptly named devastating grasshopper and the valley grasshopper.
Adult grasshoppers are about 1 to 2 inches long. They come in green, or brown to reddish yellow in colour. They have prominent jaws, wings that are fully developed that enable them to fly, and relatively short antennae. Their hind legs enable them to jump high. Most grasshoppers are good fliers, though some species cannot fly. The nymphs already look like their adult counterparts, but they have wing buds instead of wings.
Adult female grasshoppers lay their eggs in the soil in areas where they can be undisturbed. Areas such as grassy foothills, Pasteur areas, roadsides, ditch areas, fence rows, and other similar areas. This happens in the late summer and early fall. These eggs are laid in the upper 2 inches of the soil. They are in elongated pods that can contain more or less 100 eggs. These eggs pass through the winter and hatch in the spring. The young nymphs then begin to feed on nearby plants. When they have finished off all of the food nearby, they immediately move to other places to look for a new supply of fresh plants to feed on.
Most grasshopper species moult 5 to 6 times in their lifetime before they become adults. Adults can live up to 2 months, or until such time as the weather becomes too cold to kill them, or the food supplies run out. They are also vulnerable to fungal diseases and parasites too and die because of these. They also have plenty of predators, which include birds, blister beetles that feed on the eggs, and of course, humans.
Grasshoppers are pests
Grasshoppers eat a wide variety of plants, general feeders as they are. Of the 200 species of grasshoppers in the United States, 30 can cause serious damage to plants. In large numbers, they can cause serious problems for farmers. During peak years for grasshoppers, they are even known to destroy entire crop fields. In some areas, 25% of lost crops are attributed to grasshoppers. They do show a preference for young plants, however. This is especially true with lettuce, carrots, onions, beans, corn, and some annual flowers.
The symptoms of damage caused by grasshoppers are similar to other insects that chew. These symptoms include holes in the leaves, stems and fruits. Sometimes they can even devour the entire plant.
Grasshoppers indeed can be such destructive pests. But now, scientists have found a way to make these insects beneficial to humans: they can help feed the world’s hungry. Yes, they are edible.
Would the grasshoppers be the solution to world hunger?
A large number of grasshopper species are edible. For the Western world, this may sound taboo, but many other cultures all over the world already have in their regular diet not only grasshoppers but many other insects as well. In Africa, it is a common sight along roadsides, being sold as snacks. In Mexico, they toast grasshoppers in oil after cleaning them, and they add lemon, garlic, and salt to taste.
The practice of eating insects has a name. It is referred to as entomophagy. It is widely accepted in many cultures. Insects are a major source of nutrition to them, and aside from the nutritional benefits, it also has economic and ecological benefits to rural communities. Lately, interest in this topic has increased in the United States and Europe, as it is seen as a major source of food in the future. So far it has not really taken off. For Americans, the challenge lies in how to overcome the mental hurdle of eating something they think is gross.
Some entomophagy educators realize that people may eat them if they cannot see them. That is why they used familiar food preparation to promote insect-based products, like turning them into hamburger patties, meatballs, and even turning them into powdered form. The lesser the grasshoppers are to being visible, the more likely they are going to be consumed.
Grasshoppers are high in protein, affordable to cultivate, and cultivating them helps cut pollution. If hunger is the problem, grasshoppers may be the solution.
How you can cook grasshoppers
Grasshoppers are a tasty and nutritious treat. What’s more, they have superior nutrient content. They are also affordable. One grasshopper has 6 grams of protein.
You may get your grasshoppers by simply catching them. Look for them in the garden during the mornings, when they are too lazy to move because of the colder temperature. Another way is to buy them. Grasshoppers are bought usually from Mexican shops. Grasshoppers are a major delicacy in Mexico.
Do not try to eat grasshoppers raw, or else you might get sick. Be sure to cook them first. Before cooking them, remove the wings and legs because these are not edible. As part of the preparation, clean the grasshoppers by running them under cold water.
The simplest way to prepare a grasshopper is by dry roasting them. First, you should freeze the insects for an hour, then place them on paper towels over a cookie sheet. Prepare your oven by preheating it to 200 degrees F then put in the grasshoppers and roast to about 1 to 2 hours. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
You may also saute grasshoppers. You will need garlic, serrano chile, lemon and lime juice, and diced onion. Marinate the grasshoppers in lime and lemon juice for at least an hour. Saute the garlic, serrano chile, and diced onion in a pan with olive oil. Do this over medium heat. After that, remove all the other ingredients then saute the grasshoppers for about 8 to 9 minutes. You will know if it is cooked when the grasshoppers are crunchy and brown.
Or why not try garlic butter fried grasshoppers. Sounds tempting, is it not? To prepare, melt ¼ cup of butter in a pan. Saute 6 cloves of garlic until golden brown. Then add 1 cup of grasshoppers into the pan and saute for 10 to 15 minutes. Stir occasionally.
Hopefully, these recipes can whet your appetite for grasshoppers. If you think you are not quite ready for them, that is perfectly okay too. You are not alone after all.
If you are bothered by grasshoppers and do not wish to eat them, you may simply call the best of North Carolina’s pest control services, the Go-Forth Pest Control.
Go-Forth is simply the best
To most of us, pests have become a normal part of life. We see them several times in a year and it seems like we just simply have to grin and bear with them. But here at Go-Forth Pest Control, we do not think you should just put up with them.
Go-Forth Pest Control is a family-owned commercial service solutions provider of modern pest control services and techniques. We bring in a new and fresh approach to the pest control industry, using family-friendly and pet-friendly methods of extermination that caters to your specific needs. You may check us on Facebook or Google us to see what our satisfied customers have to say about us.
Go-Forth Pest Control has earned the trust of residents and businesses in North Carolina for more than 50 years. For more information, or to set an appointment, just dial 336-841-6111. Our friendly operators are standing by.