Breeding locusts

November 29, 2021

Breeding locusts

They will cover the face of the ground so that it cannot be seen. They will devour what little you have left after the hail, including every tree that is growing in your fields. They will fill your houses and those of all your officials and all the Egyptians—something neither your fathers nor your forefathers have ever seen from the day they settled in this land till now.

Did anyone recognize the excerpt above? That's what happens when you breed locusts the wrong way - you don't just improvise locust breeders! We do things the right way, work with reliable partners, and don't destroy anyone's crops.
Soon locusts and grasshoppers will become one of your favorite snacks. Here's a bit of information about this insect.

It is one locust in particular that we will be talking about: the migratory locust. They are born white and turn dark after a few days. These locusts need only forty days to reach the adult stage and their large size guarantees an excellent yield in a very short time. In other words: few resources used for their development and many calories available to be transformed into food.ù

A few weeks ago EFSA (European Food Safety Authority) decided to include the migratory locust and its derivatives in the list of foods suitable for production and consumption in the European Union. The body, after the long phase of study and research characterizing its work, has not found any valid reason to prevent the last leap, that is the locust from arriving in our kitchen cupboards. Thus continues the trend begun with the historic decision on flour moths a few months ago: it would seem that the old continent is beginning to like insects!

A species easy to breed and whose use, like that of all edible insects, could generate a considerable positive impact in the ecosystem that hosts us so patiently. We have already made this point, but if we compare the consumption of land and fresh water required by the growth cycle of the locust with that of any other protein of animal origin on the market, there is no competition: locust beats red meat 10 to 1.

What's more, even feeding the migratory locust becomes an opportunity to implement virtuous practices: cereal production waste products are in fact perfect for feeding these small animals, and the prospect of reusing resources that would otherwise be destined for waste becomes a fundamental part of the constitution of a supply chain capable of becoming increasingly sustainable and circular.

The exerpt quoted at the beginning of the article is a snippet from the Bible, it comes from the book of Exodus. The locusts were one of the ten plagues that struck Egypt, a terrible and death-filled episode. However, if we wanted to keep a connection with this text, it might be better to recall the moment in which a desert was filled with manna (a sugary secretion produced by certain plants), and everyone could eat to their fill at a time when there was nothing left to eat. It appears again in Exodus, a few pages later.

That's what insects are: an excellent source of food that you don't expect and that pop up when you need them most.

So let's take them into consideration!