Bugs Come In A Variety Of Flavors
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Insect eating in the U.S. has typically been reserved for challenges on reality shows such as "Survivor" and "Fear Factor." However, the icky feeling Americans have toward eating bugs isn't shared with much of the world. And with an eye toward sustainability, even Americans may soon be changing their tune, since bugs require nearly 1000 times less water to produce than a pound of beef and release fewer greenhouse gases. Plus, with more than 1,400 of the 900,000 known species of insect being safe to eat, there must be a variety that meets your fancy.
Meet The Flannel Moth Caterpillar, AKA The Donald Trump Caterpillar
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The flannel moth caterpillar doesn't look like flannel, a moth, or a caterpillar. But it sure does look familiar, doesn't it? The insect, found in the Peruvian Amazon, bares a striking resemblance to 2016 presidential candidate Donald Trump — or at least, to his infamous hairdo. Trump has long been known for his blonde combover, and this caterpillar — whose scientific name is the Megalopyge opercularis — has bright yellow hairs that has earned it the nickname "the Donald Trump caterpillar."
If Cicadas Come Out Once Every 17 Years, Why Do You See Them Every Summer?
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In certain parts of North America, you can expect it every summer: the constant, droning buzz of cicadas. The periodical variety of the winged insects spend most of their lives underground, sucking sap from tree roots as they slowly grow into adulthood. Finally, after either 13 or 17 years, depending on the breed, the cicadas finish counting the annual blooming of the trees, wait for the soil to warm, and tunnel straight up out of the ground. But if periodical cicadas only emerge every 13 or 17 years, why do we see them every year? It's because they don't all emerge at once. Cicadas are grouped into roughly 15 broods: 12 broods of seventeen-year cicadas and 3 broods of thirteen-year cicadas. Each of these broods emerge in different years, so residents in cicada regions rarely spend a summer without them. On top of that, many other species of cicada aren't periodical but annual, meaning they emerge every year. Learn more about cicadas with the videos below.
Key Facts to Know
The mouths of cicadas are more like straws than jaws, made for sucking up plant juices. 0:48
The United States is home to 15 geographically distinct populations of cicadas. 1:26
In 2015, a 13-year brood and 17-year brood of cicadas both emerged. 4:04
Swarm Of Bees After You? Jumping Into Water Won't Get Rid Of Them
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In 2014, a swarm of bees attacked and killed a landscaper in Arizona. Experts believed the man was pursued by a hybrid of African and Western honey bees known as "killer bees." This type of bee is especially dangerous because they are more sensitive to humans and more defensive than other species. But the scariest thing about killer bees may be that they can form swarms of about 2,000 and follow a victim for a quarter mile or longer. So what do you do if you find yourself being pursued by a pack of angry bees? The good news is that most people can tolerate about 10 bee stings per pound of body weight. But if the swarm is large and angry enough, here's what to do: run. Seriously. A healthy adult should be able to outrun a swarm of bees. It's also recommended that you pull your shirt over your head to protect your face, and do not swat bees or flail your arms. And, unlike the cartoons, don't jump in a body of water. Bees have been known to hover above the surface and wait until people come up for air. Watch the video below for more on killer bees.
from Slate Magazine
Key Facts to Know
Warwick E. Kerr "created" killer bees when hives of his African honey bees escaped and interbred with Western honey bees. 0:19
Most humans can tolerate about 10 bee stings per pound of body weight. 1:17
If you're being pursued by a swarm of angry bees, jumping into a body of water won't make them go away. 1:43
Is Cockroach Milk The Next Great Superfood?
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Imagine drinking a glass of cold, refreshing milk... except that milk came from a cockroach. It's a situation that seems more outlandish than it really is. Scientists have identified cockroach milk as a potential "superfood." Not all cockroaches produce milk, but the Diploptera punctata cockroach does, as it is one of the few insects that gives birth to live young. In the mid-gut of this particular type of cockroach, there are protein crystals that are about four times more nutritious than cow's milk. If milking a cockroach seems ridiculous, it's because it would be. Instead, an international team of researchers is looking into sequencing the genes that create this milk protein crystal in labs. "The crystals are like a complete food -- they have proteins, fats and sugars. If you look into the protein sequences, they have all the essential amino acids," one of the researchers, Sanchari Banerjee, told the Times of India. Find out more about cockroach milk, and other surprising benefits of cockroaches, in these videos.