Can Locusts Be Eaten? If Yes, Should We Consume Them To Stop Locust Attack In India?

Hanima Anand |May 29, 2020

Many people may have tried eating locusts before and don’t have any health problems after that. These insects are sources of protein but should we eat them to stop current locust attack in India?

Millions of swarming locusts are attacking Indian states, ravaging seasonal crops of farmers who already got hit by the coronavirus pandemic. Can locusts be eaten so that people can reduce their number and lessen the damage?

Locus Attack In India
Millions of locusts are ravaging farms in India & Pakistan.

In fact, locusts are a huge source of protein. Many countries in the world, especially in Asia and Africa, also use grasshoppers as a kind of food. However, whether we should eat them or feed animals to manage locust swarms as well as stop locust attacks in India now is not a simple question to answer.

Can Locusts Be Eaten
Seeing locusts destroying crops, many people think of turning them into food.

In the past, grasshoppers and locusts could be considered a great source of protein and some other essential nutrients. People also collected them very easily with hands or buckets.

These insects were then fried or grilled, becoming a delicious dish for many residents in developing areas where thousands might be struggling for food.

Can Locusts Be Eaten 2
Locusts used to be among the most popular insects to be eaten.

However, given the modern context, we strongly oppose eating locusts due to health concerns. Nowadays, pesticides and insecticides are used widespread to kill such insects as locusts. These toxic chemicals will remain inside locusts even when they are dead or alive.

That’s why eating locusts now may make people die of toxic substances remained in these insects.

Can Locusts Be Eaten 3
Dead or alive, locusts may contain traces of pesticides in them.

The Food and Agriculture Organization also gave a warning about this:

“Locusts that have been killed by pesticides should under no circumstances be consumed, because they may still contain traces of pesticides. In the context of the ongoing locust upsurge and the control campaign in East Africa, no one should eat any locusts, living or dead. Pesticide does not always kill the locusts immediately.”

Locust Attack In India 3
India might be facing the most serious locust attack in its history.

Back to India situation, millions of locusts have attacked states since Monday. Districts in Rajasthan were most seriously suffering, namely Sri Ganganagar, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Ajmer or Dausa. Other states that also saw the same threats are Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, and Maharashtra.

Locust Attack In India 2
No one knows how many hundreds of millions of locusts there are.

Below is the recording from Mumbai residents when locust swarms flying over the sky of this city.

The Indian government is also using helicopters and drones to spray chemicals onto swarming locusts. This, once again, answers the question can locusts be eaten safely.

Please do not eat locusts under any circumstance to protect your life and others.


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