Parasitic Worm that causes Grasshoppers to Commit Suicide

Horsehair Worms take over and brainwash Grasshoppers to actually commit suicide, by convincing their brains to jump into water and ultimately to their death. To see the purpose of this gruesome killer, examine the facts.

A Horsehair Worm may look innocent enough, as it is just a thin long worm. However the larvae of this worm can infect the central nervous system of Grasshoppers and Crickets and control their thinking process, once they become adults. This is how the Horsehair Worm develops to adulthood and uses its host to carry on reproduction.

The Horsehair worm can be brown, black or yellow and can reach lengths of three to four feet depending on its host. They live in bodies of water, and will also be found in anything that can hold water. This is what led to the name as a Horsehair Worm. Water troughs used to allow livestock to drink, including horses, would be found to have these worms. Therefore early on, people began to think that these worms came from Horse Hairs falling into the water and becoming worms. But this is not the case at all. As a matter of fact, this parasite is first laid as an egg near any source of water. These eggs then develop into larva that is seen as a source of food for other insects. Grasshoppers and Crickets in particular, like to eat this larva. Once it is ingested it becomes a parasite to the host Grasshopper. They use the host to develop and grow in the host, while the Grasshopper is still alive and going about their normal life. The Horsehair Worm can then grow to full size while still in the host. Once the Worm is an adult and ready to reproduce, they excrete a protein that can allow them to control the host brain. This allows them to control the Grasshopper in a way to make its brain want to find a source of water. Once the water is found, the worm then brainwashes the Grasshopper into a suicidal jump to its death. Once the Grasshopper is in the water, the adult Horsehair Worm can exit its dying host by boring a hole and escaping into its natural habitat. The poor Grasshopper is left for dead.

This is all done, so the adult Horsehair Worm can be in the water to find a mate. However this parasitic killer eventually meets its own demise upon mating. Once the Male finds and fertilizes the female, he dies. Then when the female lays her eggs, she dies. This unusual behavior is all driven by reproduction.

The power that the Horsehair Worm protein has over the central nervous system of its host is so strong that researchers are studying this along with human behavior. This protein causes a Grasshopper to do something completely different than its natural inborn instinct. Therefore this could help scientist with human Central Nervous System and Brain behavior studies. If a small parasite can force a host to water, even though it doesn’t want to, then convince it to commit suicide, it is worth studying what this protein really is.

Either way, we do not want to be infected or controlled by such a powerful brain altering concoction. But we have nothing to fear, as this parasite worm has not been found to harm Humans, other than possible vomiting. So, this is not a Nashville Pest Control issue to be concerned with. As a matter of fact, the Horsehair Worm might actually help control other insects that would be considered a pest (crickets, grasshoppers, roaches, ants).  However, if you do not want to wait on natural selection or survival of the fittest, call Certified Pest Control Nashville, TN to immediately address any pest issues you may want solved. Our family is happy to offer year round pest protection plans to keep your family safe from invading insects; and always courteous, effective service with a smile. Local Family; Local Business = Trust.