Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Meet the Beetles

June Bugs emerging from the ground,  North Carolina
One of my scientist friends is a climate change expert and has come to meetings in California the last couple years.  It's given us a chance to catch up and, for me, to learn new things.  This year, when we were out walking, I asked what the biggest issues were going to be that we would be facing imminently.  You can probably guess the first would be water.  Next?  Bugs!  Bigger, buggier bugs.  We see evidence of this already with Lyme disease, Dengue Fever and West Nile Virus on the rise, and the influx of fire ants and killer bees.  As the temperature has risen, the range of insect species expands and as they expand, the damage they do can be catastrophic, destroying crops, exacerbating the spread of wildfire, and spreading disease.

Mantis on my mailbox

It's not all gloom and doom, though.  Insects really are fascinating.  Although they can wreak havoc, they also do a lot of good, from pollinating plants to natural pest control.  My praying mantis visitors are always a welcome sight, as I understand (and hope) they can control black widow populations.  And entertainment wise, you can't beat a field of fireflies on a warm summer evening.


It does seem like there are more bugs than I recall in the past - bigger, more exotic ones, things I've never heard of.  We were visited by a "Dobsonfly" at a playground in Maine this summer.  A huge thing, with 4" wings and when its photo was blown up, quite intimidating!  Apparently, rare and harmless, but quite amazing.  I find I've been photographing more insects these days.  Changing interests?  New camera?  More bugs?

Another interesting take on insects…In a report released last year, the UN reminds us there are more than 1,900 edible insect species! Apparently 80% of the world already eats bugs, something the western world is reticent to embrace.  The most commonly eaten insect - beetles - long-horned, dung, june and rhinoceros varieties.  High in protein, they can be roasted over coals and enjoyed like popcorn.  Or enjoy the latest pairings, Beer and Bugs!  Embrace the change!


1 comment:

  1. “Finding the best part in the worst environment”, it’s the motto for anyone who is concerned about climate change. I believe that things will get better if more and more people are willing to change! Well said, Martha! Let’s embrace changes!