Grasshoppers are a valuable source of protein, and they eat many different types of plants.

But how large an area do I need for a colony of grasshoppers providing about 100kg of "meat" a year? In a climate such as in Central Europe or the Northern US? How much farmland or meadow is required to provide food for such colony?

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    The real question is if it would be more efficient than just harvest the farmland. I also think grasshoppers can be quite aggressive with food consumption when in big numbers. They would be hard to keep under control. I think getting to chose when to plant and when to harvest, like with crop, has a great advantage over grasshoppers. Counterpoint is that grasshoppers can eat everything and only a few crops are efficient to produce. Jan 29, 2013 at 21:33
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    @StevenRoose But for animal protein sources, are grasshoppers mure sustainable than pigs or cattle for example? ;-) Feb 11, 2013 at 9:13
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    Link to somewhat related answer, extolling the virtues of insects for food.
    – Nate
    Aug 11, 2013 at 21:56

1 Answer 1


There are two important variables and one important caution here. The caution is that containing grasshoppers in an area may be very difficult, You may have to have insect screens fully covering an area. Keeping flying migratory livestock contained is somewhat difficult.

The variables regard climate. Grasshoppers don't survive freezing so you have a limited growing season, and the shorter the growing season the more land you will need.

Third is water. The more lush your landscape the less of it you will need.

So assuming you have ideal areas and can sustain a population of grasshoppers at 30/m^2 (this may be optimistic), with each grasshopper weighing about 0.1g, then each M^2 would produce about 3g of meat/year. 1kg = 1000g so it would take approx 333m^2, and so your 100kg would require about 33,333m^2. I don't know what you could grow that would sustain a population that size for very long (bamboo, maybe?) so you might want to assume at least 3-4x that size for sustainability reasons. I would therefore estimate approx one hectare to be safe, more if land is marginal.

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