Departments - RearView

News and notes from the industry and the insect world.

May 28, 2013
PCT Magazine

Hungry? Have a Cricket

As you’re reading this, you might be a little hungry (you certainly are now, since we’ve mentioned it). It might be that time of the day between breakfast and lunch, or between lunch and dinner. You need a pick-me-up. A boost of energy to carry you through to the next meal. If only you had a few crickets to keep you full…

Or, that’s what a certain Utah entrepreneur has in mind with a new line of energy bars made from, yes, crickets. Yum.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Pat Crowley wants U.S. consumers to realize crickets’ protein potential. While not uncommon in other countries like Mexico, eating insects hasn’t quite caught on in the United States. “Our main mission is to make it culturally acceptable,” Crowley told the newspaper. “We thought the cricket was a fairly easy transition, as opposed to a worm or a beetle.”

We’ve seen crickets; we’re not sure they appear all that more palatable.

Nevertheless, the Salt Lake Tribune reported that Crowley’s small business moved more than 2,000 bars in February of 2013. The Chapul Bars (Chapul is Aztec for “cricket,” or “grasshopper”) go for $3 per bar, each packed with the equivalent of 12 crickets (that’s 6 grams of protein, for those of you keeping score). Keeping with the out-of-the-ordinary theme, the bars come in flavors such as Thai, with Crowley’s signature cricket flour mixed with exotic elements like coconut flour, agave nectar, ginger and lime.

Never before has your blueberry granola breakfast sounded so tame.


Singing the Termite Blues

A new TV spot from Hulett Environmental Services, West Palm Beach, Fla., hit the South Florida market during the Academy of Country Music Awards in April. Appropriately, it featured famed pitchman Greg Rice as a country singer bemoaning the termite blues.

I’m packin’ up my plants and food, the termite tents are coming,

I’m packin’ up my pets and meds, the termite tents are coming.

So went the “Termite Country Blues,” before an informative Hulett employee pops in to inform viewers of Hulett’s “no tent termite service,” easing Rice’s blues. “No need to evacuate, no need for pet boarding,” the ad says. That’s music to customers’ ears. Watch the video at bit.ly/ZKh9uR.


Ants and Arithmetic?

Fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata) certainly aren’t the friendliest of creatures — for a number of reasons — add now the new findings from the scientific journal PLoS ONE, which tell us that these pests “use math” to deduce the fastest, rather than the shortest, routes to their particular destinations. Devious.

The study found that when fire ants crossed different surfaces, they chose the path that would minimize time rather than distance. The fire ants were placed in the corner of an enclosure, with a cockroach meal placed at the opposite corner — in between a series of obstacles were placed, such as smooth felt, rough felt or glassy surfaces. By and large, the ants chose the routes that led them across smoother surfaces, which minimized the amount of time separating them from their cockroach lunch, rather than the distance.

The researchers suggest that the ants’ behavior is consistent with a mathematical principle called Fermat’s principle, which relates to how rays of light travel. It states that the path taken between two points by a ray of light is the path that can be traversed in the least time — the fire ants in the study did the same thing.

According to the study, the ants rely on pheromones to find the quickest route, with the chemical trail left by the pests converging into one optimum route over a period of time.