Insect rearing workshop at Miss. State - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Insect rearing workshop at Miss. State

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Just go outdoors at dusk dark in Mississippi and you'd think we have enough bugs already. Well, there are certainly enough insects but maybe not the right kind. And that's a part of what the insect rearing workshop is all about; to teach the best ways to raise consistent insects and plenty of them.

 Dr. Frank Davis of Mississippi State organized the workshops several years ago because he saw there was not really any instruction out there in academia on how to raise bugs.

"It teaches the principles and procedures for rearing high quality insects from a small number of a hundred adults per week," said Dr. Davis. "And now, we have one group in Guatemala that is rearing the fruit fly at 1.3 billion flies per week." 

Those fruit flies they release have been sterilized and sent into the wild to mate. And the result is no offspring. Dr. Muhammad Chaudhury from Lincoln, Nebraska is doing the same thing with screw worms. 

"So that these sterilized males will mate with the wild females and will not produce any progeny anymore and that's how we eliminate the complete population from the area," said Dr. Chaudhury. 

Researchers are here who want to study how certain factors affect life over the generations. Well, 30 generations of people would take a while. But 30 generations of insects can be attained in a semester. There is one young lady here who raises butterflies for aesthetic reasons, and to send to classrooms. They are even experimenting raising black flies as catfish food. 

Dr. Frank Franklin of Birmingham, Alabama has a very different interest in insects. He is a nutritionist. 

"Largely because I think they could be a food source for young children internationally to address global hunger and the massive amounts of under nutrition that there is around the world," said Dr. Franklin. 

So, next time before we swat ‘me, let's think about the ways insects are helping solve world problems with the help of the insect rearing workshop at Mississippi State. And then swat ‘em. 

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