Grasshopper Rearing

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Grasshopper Needs

Rearing Habitat

  • A gallon jar or aquarium with a screened lid.
  • Source of radiant heat (light bulb or desk light) close to, or preferably, inside the cage. This enables insects to select an appropriate temperature. Light should be on approximately 16 hours a day. This gives heat, they need to be warm.
  • Cup of sand for egg-laying. Sand (or vermiculite) needs to be moist to touch, but not saturated. Water needs to be added at regular intervals to keep the sand moist. If the cage is on legs, cut the bottom to hold the sand container level with the bottom of the enclosure. This way the grasshoppers can find the sand and do not have to crawl up into the container.

Food
Fresh mixed plant material, e.g., lettuce, cabbage, grass. Try whatever is available. Make sure food is well washed to remove any pesticide residues. Also give a small cap of bran or wheat germ as they need some dry food.

Water
None. They usually get water from food. Keep fresh food and bran available and insects will eat appropriate amounts to establish water balance. It is best to keep the humidity low and the enclosure dry rather than wet.

Taking Care
Cleaning
Remove frass and uneaten plant material daily.

Handling
Insects can be handled gently with fingers. Hold them on either side of the thorax from above. Do not catch them by a back leg. If you do that, they will often cast off the leg and escape. In general, it is easiest to catch individuals in a small container such as an old pill bottle (approx. 4"x1").

Raising Young
In the northern U.S., species may have an egg diapause. It may be possible to avoid this by keeping insects in long-day conditions. Incubate eggs at about 30°C (83°F) and cover sand with a jar to prevent drying out and allow the babies to hatch. Place in an area that is warm like near an oven or motor. Make sure they do not dry out. Young stages are very small and can get through most wire gauze.

Other Concerns
Precautions
Some people become allergic to grasshoppers and develop skin or respiratory problems. This is very unlikely to occur in a short time, but it is best to keep insects in a well-aerated place.

Special Considerations
Grasshoppers cannot survive freezing. Normally, grasshoppers only feed above 20°C (69°F) (a light bulb will provide adequate heat). They will die if it gets too hot (more than 45°C (112°F)). They get diseases if it gets too cool or moist.

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Lesson Plans Information Sheets Rearing Sheets Bibliography
Center for Insect Science Education Outreach The University of Arizona
Contact:CISEO
http://insected.arizona.edu
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