No threat from grasshoppers: Nagaland Govt

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Kohima, Jul 6 (UNI) The Nagaland Agriculture department has ruled out apprehensions of famine following invasion of grasshoppers in several areas of the state.

A release issued by the Director of the Agriculture Department stated that the long-horned grasshopper of 'Tettigonidae' family, which had invaded many parts of the state did not pose any threat to the vegetation or cultivation.

On the consumption of the edible winged creatures by the population at large, the department stated that it was a form of biological pest management in order to get rid of the grasshoppers.

''Many insects are consumed as delicacy in different parts of the world. They have rich nutrient value such as protein, fats, minerals and vitamins,'' the release added.

The commonly edible insects included grasshoppers, crickets, grubs, caterpillars, beetles, winged termites, wasps and been larvae, ants, cicadas, stink bugs and aquatic insects.

''Although the grasshopper is highly relished by the local populace, the outer body of the insect is toxic and may cause problems in digestion,'' the release said and suggested removing appendages like wings, legs, antennae and heads of the grasshoppers before preparing for food.

It also cautioned that all insects were not safe for consumption, because many of them produced toxic metabolites and defensive chemicals as toxins, which may cause allergies.

The release stated that there were two types of grasshoppers - short-horned and long-horned.

''The short-horned grasshopper (Acrididae), are voracious feeders, more injurious and threatening to the crops, while the long-horned grasshoppers are not so damaging,'' it added.

It also stated that it was not advisable to use chemical sprays due to many reasons such as health hazards to humans, animals and birds, and it has adverse impact on the environment also.

For the past one month, a large number of people in Kohima had been catching grasshoppers, approximately 3,000 to 4,000 kgs in a single night, yet the invasion was still continuing.

UNI AS DPM AB SK AS1412

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