05-13-08, 08:27 PM #1
Outpace locusts via harvesting?
It's my understanding that the various species of locusts considered "plagues" are actually edible themselves. I wonder if it's possible to harvest enough of them to make a significant impact on the overall swarm? Seems like it would be relatively easy to collect huge bales, and use them for food.
05-15-08, 03:50 AM #2
And cows can't eat them.
05-15-08, 06:40 AM #3
05-15-08, 08:52 AM #4
I googled it the other day when I posted this, and there was mention of "nets" being used.
Thing is --- I don't think the method of catching them would be an issue if it suddenly became profitable to harvest locusts (BTW - yes I know I'm making a bit of a leap in assuming "profit"). If I owned a locust-processing-plant, I could offer the usual "per pound" kinda thing, and people would suddenly appear out of the woodwork bringing as many bales as is possible to carry. They will worry about the "how" part, and I will give them a few conditions (example - they need to be fresh as possible [alive], not contaminated with pesticides, etc).
05-15-08, 10:49 AM #5
It would be easiest to simply breed them myself, but more expensive on my end since I have to worry about feeding and raising them to the desired size. Collecting from the existing swarms is bound to be cheaper. I guess there would be added incentive from farmers (who may participate in order to compensate for losses whenever their crops are damaged) or locals who simply wanted to make money.
05-15-08, 02:49 PM #6
Chitinous body parts make large scale mechanical processing difficult. The swarms are very mobile and localized - the harvesting equipment would have to chase them all over the country. The abundance is very much boom and bust - so the overhead cost would have to be made up in widely spaced years of good harvests.
The net result would be something like a sardine catch, maybe - if sardines had spiny, elaborate shells, and only schooled every third year or so in a different part of the ocean - so you had to spot them and be very mobile and fast with your harvesting gear.
The only thing I know of that's harvested like that is brine shrimp from Utah's Great Salt Lake. But probably something else in the ocean is - squid?
My approach, if the swarm came to my farm, would be to net them en masse and boil them down - maybe the chitin bits would float, or sink, or something. If that worked, the paste could possible be eaten somehow, or fermented or salted or the like. The model would be oil fish paste and sauce, tofu, etc.
I doubt it would come close to making up for the loss of forage and crops.
I didnt know locusts devastate grass.
05-15-08, 02:58 PM #7
I have this awesome idea...why not genetically introduce a locust that lacks wings into a population...
05-21-08, 09:20 PM #8
05-21-08, 10:56 PM #9
A practical issue
A practical consideration strikes me:
A desert locust swarm can be 460 square miles (1,200 square kilometers) in size and pack between 40 and 80 million locusts into less than half a square mile (one square kilometer). (National Geographic)
While it might, in the end, "be relatively easy to collect huge bales", at what scale would we start to make a dent in the population and effect?
"Locust". NationalGeographic.com. Viewed May 21, 2008. http://animals.nationalgeographic.co...gs/locust.html
05-22-08, 08:25 AM #10
I was originally going to say that it would be up to the community to figure out how to bring them to me, but for such an extended migratory range it would be unreasonable. They couldn't simply bag them up, and haul them hundreds of miles to my plant.
I believe there are also issues with locusts becoming "cannibalistic", and I could only imagine collectors bringing sub-standard locusts after making long trips.
It would be best to set up multiple "plants" around affected countries, and establish local staff that can be scrambled at a moments notice.
The exoskeleton problem may or may not be
complicatedexpensive -- they are certainly small intricate little critters , but it seems reasonable that machines or an assembly line could be created capable of doing whatever preparation (IE - removal of unpalatable parts; transformation into "product model").
I guess it would be valuable to note the weight of one locust, and multiply that number to achieve a "pound".......then figure out how much a locust swarm would weigh. This is not to say that the entire swarm would be harvested, just usable numbers when considering collection ratios.
By Orleander in forum Earth ScienceLast Post: 01-05-08, 03:30 PMReplies: 138