Grasshopper Poop: Everything You’ve Ever Wanted to Know

Written by Emmanuel Kingsley
Published: September 23, 2022
Image Credit iStock.com/Eileen Kumpf
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Grasshoppers are members of a suborder of insects called Caelifera. With origins in the early Triassic, some 250 million years ago, they belong to what is conceivably the oldest existing group of chewing herbivorous insects. Grasshoppers are also members of the Arthropoda phylum, which is the largest phylum, along with spiders, crabs, scorpions, and every other insect on the earth. These insects, which number in the millions, are present on every continent but Antarctica.

Like most insects, grasshoppers are herbivores. Given that grasshoppers live in a wide variety of habitats, this means that different grasshoppers eat different plants. Because of their somewhat strict plant diet and small bodies, it is easy to wonder what their poop looks like. Is it as small as they are? Does it smell? Discover everything you’ve ever wanted to know about grasshopper poop here.

What Do Grasshoppers Eat?

grasshopper eating
Typical plants that grasshoppers consume include alfalfa, rye, and barley.

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Most grasshoppers are herbivorous and will consume a wide variety of plants. Since grasshoppers inhabit a wide range of habitats, this implies that various grasshopper species consume various plant species. Generally speaking, grasshoppers will eat plants that are plentiful and easily accessible in their environment. However, despite not being particular, grasshoppers still have a preference for some plants over others. This is not about the flavor of the plants but because of their availability and nutritional value. In addition, certain grasshoppers devour poisonous plants. The toxins from these plants are stored in their bodies to prevent predators from attacking and consuming them. 

Typical plants that grasshoppers consume include alfalfa, rye, and barley. In general, grasshoppers will mostly eat plant material. To gain more protein, grasshoppers also eat carrion or other animal dung if vegetation is not easily accessible. When other plants are abundant, grasshoppers avoid eating less common foods like fungus, moss, and bark. When given the chance, they will happily consume grains, flowers, and grasses, which are their favorite. Some grasshoppers are omnivores as well, thus they will eat animal goods.

What Does Grasshopper Poop Look Like?

grasshopper pooping
Grasshopper poop is small, brown, and solid.

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It is difficult, but not impossible, to find grasshoppers inside your house. Because of this, it might be hard for people to identify grasshopper poop, even if it is staring them right in the face. A lot of people seem to think grasshoppers and other insects do not poop, but they do, just like almost every other animal. Generally, insect poop is called frass. For a lot of insects, their frass is usually in liquid form, while others form their frass into pellets.

Grasshopper frass is small, brown, solid, and oddly shaped like a grain of rice or even smaller. Like most insects, grasshoppers do not eat a lot at once. As such, they do not poop a lot. Grasshoppers also consume fruit while it is still hanging from the branch, bite enormous holes out of leaves, etc. To know whether or not grasshoppers have been in a place, look under where they have been eating. They are known to leave rectangular droppings that are easily identifiable.

Is Grasshopper Poop Harmful?

grasshopper poop
Although not popular, grasshopper poop can serve as fertilizer.

kurt_G/Shutterstock.com

There are at least 11,000 known grasshopper species, and they are most active during the autumn months but are present from spring to fall. In many respects, grasshoppers are destructive, but they also have a good impact on the environment. One of the ways they benefit the environment is by fertilizing vegetation with their droppings. Although grasshopper poop is good for the environment, the same is not for humans. For humans, grasshopper poop is advised against because it contains bacteria and several types of fungi that can make you sick. 

As such, it is advised to stay away from grasshopper poop. For some parts of the world like Indonesia and some parts of Africa where people have grasshoppers as a constant part of their diet, it is advisable to cook them before eating. The reason for this is that grasshoppers may carry nematodes that are harmful to humans. 

Up Next:

10 Incredible Grasshopper Facts

What Do Grasshoppers Eat?

Do Grasshoppers Bite?

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Sources
  1. Bulwark Exterminating, Available here: https://bulwarkpestcontrol.com/how-to-get-rid-of-grasshoppers/
  2. ThoughtCo, Available here: https://www.thoughtco.com/information-on-insect-poop-1968406