by Scott Kight, Associate Certified Entomologist (ACE) | Fort Myers Pest Control

Insects With Nutritional, Environmental and Economic Benefits?  

Most of us hate bugs and believe that the only good bug is a dead bug. Let’s face it, Fort Myers Pest Control’s business is to eliminate these pests. But scientists around the world have come up with many ways of using insects for the good of mankind.

Since the beginning of time man has used insects as food. In many cultures around the world, certain insects are staples in people’s diet or are considered a delicacy. Scientists have stated that as the world population is growing and our global wealth is advancing, meat consumption is rising dramatically. Currently, about 70% of farmland is being used for meat production. If this continues, it will prove unsustainable. Livestock is the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, including methane and nitrous oxide. Insects have a much lower environmental burden, while their nutritional value measures up to chicken or beef. In tropical countries, people don’t eat caterpillars, beetle larvae, grasshoppers and termites because they don’t have a choice but because they taste good. Insects are high in protein and have essential fatty acids and important vitamins. Food programs in developing countries are increasing their focus on insects because traditional meat is often too expensive, insects are a very good alternative.

Scientists are working on creating genetically modified insects. They have already developed a variety of transgenic silkworm that spin industrial-strength or glow in the dark fibers, or make silk with human proteins. A mosquito may soon be engineered to be unable to carry one type of malaria parasite. Field tests are underway to determine the safety of using transgenic pink bollworms, designed to spread sterility to wild bollworms, to protect agricultural crops. British scientists are getting ready to release thousands of genetically modified male olive flies. The idea is the olive flies will be used to kill off wild pests that damage the crop. The male olive flies that would naturally mate with the females, ultimately resulting in the death of female offspring at the larvae or maggot stage. The thought is that this would lead to a reduction in the olive fly population, which would allow the trees to produce fruit without the need for chemical sprays.

As you can see the image of an insect in the world is changing. They are being used to improve our health and provide nutritional values around the world. I’m glad the scientific community is embracing these options but as for Sammy Swat we still believe that eliminating these pests from our lawns and homes is the best thing to do.