Saturday, May 17, 2014

All Abuzz About Insects

Bug season has begun in my part of the world with more rehashed research on the benefits of bugs and why we need more of them. More bugs are not something anyone wants to contemplate on a cool damp morning in cottage country. Clouds of biting blackflies are gathered outside my windows hungrily waiting for me to step outside. Millions of stinging mosquitos are breeding in puddles left by the spring rains. Not to mention deer flies, horse flies, gnats, no-see-ums and many others whose sole purpose for living is to drive humans mad.
   Meanwhile news sites are reminding us of the United Nation’s report on how insects are good for our planet and good for us to eat. The UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization says that 35 years from now the world will have nine billion people and food production will need to almost double. Land scarcity, fished out oceans, water shortages, and climate change will make feeding the world more difficult.  Insects, the UN says, are the solution to feeding a hungry world.
   “In the future, as the prices of conventional animal proteins increase, insects may well become a cheaper source of protein than conventionally produced meat and ocean- caught fish.”
   Raising livestock for beef, pork, lamb, poultry is inefficient, and some people say, unethical. You have to grow billions of tons of grain to feed those animals, then they pass gas which adds to global warming.
   Insects are protein packed and can be reared with little technical knowledge and capital investment. They don’t require butchering; you can eat them whole. And, I gather, they don’t pass gas.
   So there it is: the solution to the spring fly season is to start eating them.
   I’ve unintentionally breathed in and swallowed my share of bugs. I have never found them tasty, satisfying nor healthful. Whenever I feel myself running low on protein I’ll vote for a hamburger or a couple of strips of bacon.

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