Should we be worried about grasshoppers? Imagine yourself taking a nice walk through your garden, admiring the lawn you worked so hard to keep green and trimmed. You stumble upon a grasshopper. You consider letting it jump on you, when you give it a second thought: are grasshoppers dangerous? Do grasshoppers bite? That’s exactly what this article is about, but first let’s talk a little about grasshoppers themselves.
Grasshoppers are a part of the insect order Orthoptera, along with crickets and cockroaches. Although often dubbed herbivores (i.e. they eat plants), some grasshoppers can actually eat fungi such as mushrooms, and can even dead animals! However, most do prefer eating plants, and especially clovers and cotton.
Grasshoppers are found all over the world, except the Antarctic as it is too cold for them to survive there. They prefer warmer climates and are usually not seen in winter. As the name suggests, these insects tend to live in grassy areas such as fields and meadows, but they can live anywhere where there is a lot of plant material available to consume.
You probably already know this, but grasshoppers can jump and leap great distances. Not all of them can fly, but there are some species with wings that allow them to do so. For those that cannot fly, their jumping abilities surely make up for it: they can actually leap up to twenty inches. This is an especially large distance given their size.
To gardeners and farmers, grasshoppers are often considered pests. They can easily consume multiple times their body weight in plant material. But do grasshoppers really pose any danger to humans, aside from ruining crops? This brings us to the main topic of this article: do grasshoppers bite?
The short answer is no, grasshoppers do not bite humans on purpose, and their mouths are simply too small to cause us any real damage anyway as you can see from the video below.
Let’s look into this question a little further.
Do grasshoppers bite?
Grasshoppers can bite, but they probably won’t bite you. Obviously, they need to bite in order to eat their food, but they do not usually bite humans. This is not one of the defense mechanisms that they use to ward off predators. They will not bite you out of anger and will not bite on purpose.
The only instance in which you would have to worry about them biting you is if you keep them as pets. It is unlikely that you would do this anyway. Pet grasshoppers can bite humans by accident, especially if hand-fed: when eating their food, they might just accidentally take a nip out of you.
Rest assured, however: if they do bite you by accident, their mouths are too small to cause any serious pain and the bite probably won’t even break the skin. Furthermore, since the majority of species do not possess any venom, you don’t have to worry about that either.
To sum up the question can grasshoppers bite: Grasshoppers can technically bite, but they don’t pose a threat.
See the video below of a guy giving a grasshopper all the time in the world to bite him without interrupting it and it did very minimal damage to his skin. They are virtually harmless.
Are grasshoppers dangerous?
As they cannot bite or sting, most grasshoppers do not pose any threat to humans. There are some species of grasshopper, such as the Aularches miliaris, which are particularly dangerous as they emit toxic foam when provoked. However, these grasshoppers are only found in Indochina, so they aren’t really something you would have to worry about seeing in your backyard on a daily basis.
While most aren’t dangerous per say, grasshoppers can be pests. Especially if there are a lot of them, grasshoppers are able to cause serious damage to crops and plants just by the amount of plant material they consume, much to the dismay of farmers and gardeners alike.
Do grasshoppers sting?
Grasshoppers cannot sting. There are no reliable records of grasshoppers being able to sting and no records of them having an apparatus to do so. However, they do possess other defensive mechanisms, such as spitting.
Do grasshoppers spit?
Yes! As one of their defense mechanisms, grasshoppers are able to spit out brown liquid, in what is called defensive regurgitation. It is also sometimes called “tobacco spit”, possibly due to its color. But don’t be fooled: their saliva doesn’t actually contain any tobacco. The spit itself is not dangerous: it is just digested material and enzymes and cannot actually cause any harm to humans.
Are grasshoppers poisonous?
Not all grasshoppers are poisonous, but some are.
Many grasshoppers are even edible! Grasshoppers are a very popular insect for eating, and they actually contain a lot of protein (more than some meats). Fried grasshopper dishes are especially popular in countries such as Mexico, Thailand, and China.
However, there are species of grasshopper which can be toxic or dangerous if consumed. These species tend to be brightly colored to ward off predators, but this is not always the case. For example, the Eastern Lubber, although plain in color, can kill small animals and cause discomfort in humans if consumed.
Another potential hazard when consuming grasshoppers (especially for dogs or cats) is the possibility of harmful pesticides and parasites present on or inside the grasshopper. Since many farms spray their crops with pesticides, these chemicals may remain on the outside of the grasshoppers’ skin, possibly causing them to be toxic to pets if eaten. Furthermore, grasshoppers are also carriers for many parasites such as roundworms, which can then infect animals when the grasshopper is consumed.
Most grasshoppers are harmless
We’ve learned that, for the most part, grasshoppers are not dangerous and do not bite humans on purpose. While some grasshoppers can emit toxic foam or can be harmful if ingested, this is only true for certain species. Most grasshoppers are harmless, other than being pests when in large groups.
Furthermore, while they are often considered annoyances, grasshoppers can actually be beneficial to the environment. They are important in various food webs. Since they are frequently eaten by birds and other larger animals, they can help these populations survive and thrive. Grasshoppers are crucial parts of the environment, despite often being seen as pests. What is even more interesting is that their droppings are useful fertilizers for crops and help return nutrients to the soil. So, don’t worry about those grasshoppers in your yard; they are actually a good thing!