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Amazing grasshopper harvest with nets, in the Philippines.

 
master pollinator
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Check out the video

These boys ran with their net, for about 30 seconds. My best guess is that they got between 3 and 5 lb of grasshoppers.

In the video, I heard a boy say the word for sack, but I don't know if he's saying that they got a full sack or if he just wants someone to hold the sack in order to dump the grasshoppers in.

Obviously, this is not a typical day, or there wouldn't be one leaf on any plant in this video. But there are some very large grasshoppers in the Philippines and plagues of them sometimes affect corn and grazing land.
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This is an excellent way to put away chicken feed. This one run, produced enough to feed several chickens for a day.

 No doubt, the chickens are very well fed right now, if they are running free. But plagues of grasshoppers don't last. So they would need to be dried or preserved in some other way. People cook grasshoppers in oil and they also feed coconut and other oily things to chickens. Perhaps, grasshoppers could be fried with chopped up coconut or oil palm, to produce a dried chicken feed, that would be quite nutritionally balanced, and could be stored. Or just store them dry.
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They could also be a component of silage. Bugs go into silage all the time, when corn silage and haylage are made. In this case, they could be the main protein component. Any corn field hit by a plague like this, is likely to be a loss, so the remnants could be harvested, run through a chopper and turned into silage that has a good mix of protein and sugars. Pigs will definitely eat it.

I'm not sure how often this happens, but it obviously happens often enough that the people have developed a good netting system and they are saving the grasshoppers.

 The same thing happens in Africa when plagues of locusts go after the crops. Some people quickly specialize in capturing locusts and they have no problem in finding willing farmers, hoping to get rid of them.

Outbreaks like this, seem like something you would need to plan around, when choosing a time to plant corn or grains. I wonder if this also means that a poorly timed planting would create the ultimate trap crop. Grasshoppers love to go after corn when it's just a couple feet high and nice and tender. So you plant the corn one month before the event and it would be like "lambs to the slaughter", or maybe "bugs to the windshield."

There are other netting systems used by commercial grasshopper hunters in Vietnam. They are going after much smaller specimens that have value as human food and as bird feed, for expensive pet birds.

I imagine that if adults took the harvesting of grasshoppers seriously, they could produce hundreds of pounds per man each day. With rural labour rates at $6 to $8 per day, that seems like some pretty inexpensive feed. I hope people are doing this for their own chickens, but haven't been able to find much on it.
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It will be interesting to see whether typical levels of grasshopper infestation, offer enough chicken feed to make it worth having someone on the net regularly. It's a double harvest, because not only would they be capturing chicken feed, they would be preventing crop damage.

If someone were working a field or garden with a one man swing net, I'm sure that chickens and ducks would learn to follow that person, so they could benefit from those that get away.

I will definitely get my own net, so that I can give this a try.

You may have noticed trees with hanging pods in the video. They are most likely trees in the pea family, which produce high protein fodder. Grasshoppers go after this type of tree , so that might make a suitable trap crop.
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Grasshoppers are 30% protein, 30% fat.  That's a lot of nutrition for birds . . . or for humans.

When I lived in Africa, the kids were usually the ones who caught the grasshoppers and roasted them, as kids didn't get meat hardly ever.  Even the littlest ones quickly learned how to catch them, skewer them with a small sliver of bamboo, and then roast them on a small fire that an older sibling would kindle for the kids.

There is so much fat in grasshoppers that you don't have to put any addition fat in the pan when you roast them.  They just skitter around in a dry pan and leave a little film of oil.  A little salt . . . makes a quick nutritious snack for the kiddos.
 
Marco Banks
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Dale Hodgins
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That guy is cooking up some pretty scrawny looking grasshoppers. The kids in the Philippines are catching a much larger species. I'm sure it was the same with the ones in Africa and the locusts there.

This video is a bit funny, because of the odd vocalisations of the filmmaker.


 
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In Africa the kids "pick" the hoppers early in the morning, when it's still sort of cold in the air, they either can't or don't like to move with lower temperatures. I once read that actually, ancient hunter-gatherers were not not only gathering berries, roots etc, but also all sort of grubs.
 
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I like my grasshoppers fried. I don't remove the heads, but I do remove the wings and legs. Then fry in chili infused peanut oil. Served with some brown rice it is quite good. The grasshoppers are mostly protein and fiber, the oil is the fat you need for energy, and the rice makes for a nice carbohydrate boost. I carry dehydrated cooked rice and hot peppers in the bush.
 
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this might be a bit of an odd question, but with all bigger animals you remove the guts -- I always assumed it was for health reasons in addition to the whole ick factor. With bugs I'm guessing it isn't really an issue?

I have issues with eating bugs. someday I might get over them lol, but for now if I get my protein that way its through insect flour.

As for processing, bugs die quite quickly in the cold, so just putting containers of them in the freezer would do the job, then can be spread in a single layer in a dehydrator or in the oven. I didn't realize they were such high fat creatures, that means they would spoil quickly if ground. either leave them whole dehydrated or ground and sealed with an oxygen absorber would be sufficient I would think. a nearby store sells them as such, as well as dry canned in a tin.
 
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Eating bugs is more common in the tropics and warmer areas, I mean if you go to the far north, you would not find any, but the nearer the equator you come, the more insects are around. I believe in eating what is local.
 
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In Japan I ate crickets, which were a staple protein source in the northern mountainous inland regions in the old days (not common anymore, by any means, but worth seeking out). They were roasted in a big hot pan with a very light brown sugar sauce and absolutely delicious, crispy and super satisfying. I imagine grasshoppers would be similar, assuming you don't have scratchy issues with wings (them being a bit bigger).
 
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Grasshoppers can see quite well. I wonder if the boys had access to a clear net or maybe a green or tan net if they could increase their harvest with the same amount of work.

When I was a kid in Northern Utah, large flocks of turkeys were herded in the hills west of our town. The turkeys foraged on bugs and plants. In mid and late summer they gained weight fast by eating grasshoppers and Mormon Crickets.

Turkey ranching has gone by the wayside. The grasshoppers and crickets are still there though.  

 
Dale Hodgins
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Ryan Hobbs wrote:I like my grasshoppers fried. I don't remove the heads, but I do remove the wings and legs. Then fry in chili infused peanut oil. Served with some brown rice it is quite good. The grasshoppers are mostly protein and fiber, the oil is the fat you need for energy, and the rice makes for a nice carbohydrate boost. I carry dehydrated cooked rice and hot peppers in the bush.



Is there anything you can compare the meat to? I'm hoping you say shrimp or T-bone steak. I'm sure that I'm going to eat some now that I know about this, and that there are large specimens in the Philippines. I wouldn't want to sit around gutting things that are microscopic.

Judging from the size of the ones on YouTube it seems like you'd be getting about as much nutrition as from some of the small fish like smelt.

My primary interest is as chicken and pig feed, and it would sure be nice to put it in a silo and not have to mess with each grasshopper individually. I don't know if the oil and protein would be a problem if silage is made. Something I will definitely test, if we get the right infestation.

The only other bug that I hope to try are the very large grubs that sometimes live in coconuts. I watched a video of some people in New Guinea roasting those and it didn't seem gross, since it was pretty much little balls of fat. The kids in the video, ate. voraciously. I watch another video where a bunch of kids in the Amazon captured dozens of tarantulas and then one of the older kids started a fire and they roasted them. There was a preamble to the video, saying that their father's had come up dry hunting, several days in a row and the kids were sick and tired of sweet potatoes.
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Ryan Hobbs
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Morgwino Stur wrote:this might be a bit of an odd question, but with all bigger animals you remove the guts -- I always assumed it was for health reasons in addition to the whole ick factor. With bugs I'm guessing it isn't really an issue?



I think it depends on what they eat. Grasshoppers just eat fresh green leaves and grass. If it was a toe-biter (a large water bug native to my area) that eats fish and frogs I might be concerned. I have dug cicada grubs out of an old stump and cooked them by the fire on a plank. They popped like popcorn. I'm not fond of them, but I can eat them if I have to. I think pretty much any insect is better fried, and the Thai who eat the most insects of anybody, nearly always fry them.

Also, you remove the guts, but that doesn't mean you don't eat them too. A breakfast I have periodically is chorizo with eggs. Look up that ingredient list if you dare. I have eaten plenty of unusual things. Think about it like this: Go to a sushi shop and get unizushi. It is rice and unfertilized sea urchin eggs. It's delish tho. It's very weird to eat the eggs of a little spiky ball from the sea floor, but it's really good. So what's the problem with bugs and guts if you can eat urchin eggs?
 
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