Inside the booming business of cricket catching

Published February 3, 2022

12 min read

It’s a cold night, and strong winds are blowing atop a hill in southwest Uganda.

The wind rattles the four-by-eight-foot metal sheets that form the slanted walls of the giant insect trap. A diesel generator roars a few yards away, powering a 400-watt bulb at its center. The light is blinding to human eyes, but it’s a magnet for Ruspolia differens. In Uganda they’re commonly referred to as “grasshoppers” or nsenene (en-SAY-nay-nay),but they’re actually cone-headed bush crickets.

At the bottom of the metal sheets, dozens of drums stand empty. Soon, hopes Kiggundu Islam, chairman of the local bush cricket trappers association, they’ll be filled with millions of the nearly three-inch-long insects.

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