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How dirty are bugs? And is it okay if they touch food?


Sometimes I see people throw out an entire drink or bowl of food because a small bug was in it. Are they justified in doing this? Is there enough bacteria on common species of bugs (like ants, flies, beetles, dragonflies, caterpillars, moths, etc) to warrant any kind of health concern for a larger amount of food than what the bug was in contact with, or at all?


Well, first of all you should consider that insects and generally animals don't have so much hygiene, like us humans. Some of them, let's say the ants, yes some kind of hygiene is present, but not in the human degree. In fact, most insects are responsible for the most dangerous deseases in the world such as malaria , yellow fiver, sleeping sickness (espacially found in Africa because of the tsetse fly) and many kinds of encephalitis. This article claims that most of insects are carriers of deadly deseases. Also, about the second part of your question, you mentioned " If it is okay for bugs to touch food"… Well the answer is ofcourse no, because you don't know:

1. what the insect was touching before it "lands" to your food

2. If it has dropped any fecesto your food

3. And last but not least if the insect layed any kind of eggs to your food.

4. Some insects carry fungi that if a human being consumes them he might have serious problems, because some fungi are responsible for poisoning or infection.

The third one that I mentioned is responsible for the most cases of Tapeworm infection. This means that the eggs and larvae pass straight to your digestive system and create the infection. To sum up, unknown factors (like bugs) must not touch our food, because there is a chance of infection. To help you here's a wikipedia list that shows the most easily transmitted diseases to humans fron insects: List of diseases caused by insects.


Fact or Fiction?: Birds (and Other Critters) Abandon Their Young at the Slightest Human Touch

Does nature's proclivity to nurture override its flight mechanism?

It's a familiar summer scenario: a nest rests in the low crook of a crab apple tree. Inside, a baby oriole stretches its wings, attempting to trill. A little girl's face looms overhead. She reaches out her colossal finger to stroke the still-wet feathers. Just before contact, her father's voice booms: "Don't touch that bird!"

According to folklore, birds will reject their eggs and young if humans have so much as laid a finger on them. This prevalent belief, however, is for the birds: it denies animal parents' innate drive to nurture their broods and ignores a bird's basic biology.

No matter how flighty birds appear, they do not readily abandon their young, especially not in response to human touch, says Frank B. Gill, former president of the American Ornithologists' Union. "If a bird's nest is disturbed by a potential predator during the nesting or egg-laying stage," he says, "there's a possibility that [it] will desert and re-nest. However, once the young are hatched and feeding, [their parents are] by and large pretty tenacious."

The myth derives from the belief that birds can detect human scent. Actually, birds have relatively small and simple olfactory nerves, which limit their sense of smell. There are very few birds with extraordinary olfaction and these represent specialized adaptations. For example, turkey vultures are attracted to methyl mercaptan, a gas produced by decaying organic matter (and added to natural gas to make it smell bad), while starlings can detect insecticidal compounds in vegetation, which they utilize to keep their nests bug-free. Yet no bird's sense of smell is cued to human scent.

Still, there's good reason not to go fiddling around in an occupied nest. "The fact is, birds don't abandon their young in response to touch, [but] they will abandon [their offspring and their nest] in response to disturbance," explains biologist Thomas E. Martin of the University of Montana and the U.S. Geological Survey, who has handled birds from Venezuela to Tasmania without instigating abandonment. "They are likely responding to disturbance in relation to risk of harm to young."

In other words, birds, like economists, make cost-benefit decisions. If a bird has invested a lot of time and energy in hatching and rearing its young, that bird is more likely to, if possible, relocate its offspring to a new nesting site, rather than abandon them altogether when a potential predator has discovered the babies. Birds that live longer, like hawks, are more averse to risk (and more sensitive to disturbance) than short-lived birds, like robins and other songbirds. The former might abandon its young, while the latter is much less likely to do so.

The same logic applies to most animals. "In general, wild animals bond with their young and do not quickly abandon them," explains Laura Simon, field director for the Urban Wildlife Program at the Humane Society of the United States.

In fact, most creatures find extraordinary ways to ensure the survival of their young. Killdeer and ducks will feign a broken wing to lure a predator away from their babies, and raccoons and tree squirrels will speedily relocate their progeny to more protected pastures when a potential threat is skulking about.

Wild rabbits are the exception to this rule. "These animals seem to be the most sensitive to human and other smells. They're a flighty, high-stress species," Simon says. "Wild rabbits will sometimes abandon their nest when it's been very disturbed as when a lawnmower [runs it over or a] cat gets into it."

If you suspect that a rabbit's nest has been abandoned, the Humane Society recommends making an "X" out of yarn or string over the nest and checking approximately 10 hours later to see if it has been moved. If the X has been pushed aside but the nest is still covered, that's a good indication that the mother has returned, nursed her young, and then re-covered them. If the X stays in place for 12 hours after the traumatic event, it's likely that the young rabbits have been deserted.

Of course, wild animals should be left undisturbed as much as possible. The general rule for finding a baby bird or any animal infant on the ground is simply to leave them alone. Most often, the parents are watching from a distance. But if a baby bird is found on the ground without its fledgling feathers and the nest is easily within reach, it can be returned without harm. The parents will welcome it back with open wings.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)

Robynne Boyd began writing about people and the planet when living barefoot and by campfire on the North Shore of Kauai, Hawaii. Over a decade later and now fully dependent on electricity, she continues this work as an editor for IISD Reporting Services. When not in search of misplaced commas and terser prose, Robynne writes about environment and energy. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia.


There are more than 11,000 species of moths in the U.S. alone.

Moths outnumber butterflies, their nearest relative, by more than 10 to 1, said Matthew Shepherd, communications director and senior conservation associate at the Xerces Society, a nonprofit organization focused on insect conservation in Portland, Ore. There are upward of 11,000 moth species in the United States alone &mdash that's more than all the bird and mammal species in North America combined.

Moths can range in size from smaller than a pencil tip to bigger than a songbird. The Atlas Moth, of Southeast Asia, considered the largest in the world, has a wingspan of nearly a foot (30 centimeters) &mdash more than that of a Baltimore oriole. The Royal Walnut Moth, one of the biggest North American species, has a wingspan of about 4.5 inches (11 cm). [Images: Ancient Moth Colors]


Most kids have poked a pill bug to watch it roll up into a tight ball. In fact, many people call them roly-polies for just this reason. Their ability to curl up distinguishes the pill bug from another close relative, the sowbug.

Yes indeed, pill bugs munch on lots of feces, including their own. Each time a pill bug poops, it loses a little copper, an essential element it needs to live. To recycle this precious resource, the pill bug will consume its own poop, a practice known as coprophagy.


God’s Dietary Laws: Why Pigs, Crabs And Lobsters Are Bad For You

God’s dietary laws prohibit eating carnivorous animals. Just as God created clean animals for food and by-products that humans could use, he created unclean animals for other reasons. Carnivores are prey animals that help to control the populations of other animals. Such is the case with mountain lion and wolves who keep deer populations in check. This helps keep the deer population down and weeds out the old and sick members of the herd naturally. This is just one good reason why we should not eat carnivores — sick animals could transmit disease.

Leviticus 11:7-8 and Deuteronomy 14:8 mention specifically that pigs are unclean and not fit for human consumption. Domesticated pigs have been used for a very long time as scavengers and will eat anything from garbage to dead animals and human wastes. Today, pigs in America consume more than 20 percent of the corn harvested in our country. Feeding corn, wheat and barley to pigs puts them in direct competition with our food crops. This is probably one good reason why God declared them unfit to eat. Jesus even allowed a herd of pigs to run off the edge of the cliff after He cast demons into them. This showed how little regard he had for them – or just how invaluable he found them to be.

Pigs, along with other unclean animals, can also transmit trichinosis to humans. This is caused by a small roundworm that finds its way into animal and human muscle. Bear meat, walrus and pig have all been a major player in transmitting infections to humans.

In Leviticus, the laws concerning aquatic creatures are addressed:

These you may eat of all that are in the water: whatever in the water has fins and scales, whether in the seas or in the rivers—that you may eat…. Whatever in the water does not have fins or scales—that shall be an abomination to you. Leviticus 11:9, 12

Science reveals what may have been God’s reasons for declaring certain sea creatures unfit for human consumption. Clean fish are those that swim in bodies of water while unclean sea life is comprised mostly of predatory scavengers or bottom dwellers. The fish and sea life that do the ocean cleaning are full of toxins and can be harmful to human health. Poisonous fish are generally covered in bristles, spiny scales, thorns or spines and do not have any true scales.

Even though the Biblical dietary laws would have us eat the safest of fish we must still be very careful. Many of these fish are now polluted with heavy metals, as the health and balance of ocean ecosystems becomes disrupted — mostly due to overfishing, toxic chemical spills and pollution.

What about shellfish, crabs and lobster?

Shellfish such as crab and lobster do not have fins or scales and are therefore prohibited for human consumption under biblical dietary laws. However, shellfish is a multi-billion dollar business and eating such aquatic life considered a delicacy in most parts of the world. We know that everything God created has a purpose so what is the purpose of shellfish, then?

Lobsters are nocturnal bottom walkers and scavengers that scavenge for dead animals and debris on the ocean floor – they are like the vultures of the oceans. Lobsters have even been seen burying dead fish and digging them up a little at a time to eat. Crabs will eat just about anything and are known as professional garbage hunters.

The Encyclopedia of Aquatic Life tells us that crabs, common shrimp and lobsters all feed off of dead and decaying matter. Therein lies their occupation — they were created to be the cleanup crew for the bottoms of lakes, rivers and oceans. They were not intended to be eaten by human beings. Eating raw or undercooked crabs, crayfish, shrimp or snails puts anyone at risk of a severe parasitic infection.

Closer observation of oysters, mussels, scallops and clams shows us that God also had a very significant purpose for these creatures. They are found in streams, coastal areas and lakes and are considered filter-feeders. They are stationary — meaning they do not go hunting for their food but rather pump large amounts of water over their gills, trapping small pieces of silt, bacteria, viruses and plant debris for their dinner. The International Wildlife Encyclopedia tells us that mussels and other filter-feeders are the ultimate scavengers of the sea. They are the detail cleaners, so to speak. Their role is to purify the water.

Now, you have to ask yourself, once you really understand the role that these creatures play in their natural habitat, do you still want to eat them? Eating scavengers and filter-feeders is kind of like eating whatever is in your vacuum cleaner bag or septic tank. When scavenger and filter feeders make meals out of dead, decaying material along with pathogenic viruses, heavy metals and nerve toxins and we eat them — we are also eating all that they have eaten!

According to the FDA, raw oysters, mussels and clams are responsible for 85 percent of all illnesses caused by eating seafood. Such conditions as hepatitis A, salmonella, Norwalk virus, cholera and paralytic shellfish poisoning are just a few of the problems that are often linked to shellfish consumption. The more waste we dump into our oceans, lakes and streams, the greater the risk of getting sick from eating shellfish and other aquatic scavengers becomes.

Think about this: Pregnant women, the elderly and people with compromised immune systems are warned against handling uncooked shellfish. If God’s dietary laws prohibiting the consumption of anything without fins or scales were followed, there would be no reason for such a warning.

God did not leave birds, reptiles and insects uncovered in His laws. Carnivorous birds are obviously very important to controlling the populations of other groups of animals. Because these birds eat the flesh and blood of their prey, they become possible agents for transmitting disease and are unclean. Birds that prey on fish also accumulate a large amount of toxic chemicals in their bodies and are also prohibited.

Leviticus 11: 29-30 42-43 tells us that reptiles are also unclean. Only insects from the locust and grasshopper family are permissible and have been used as a food source in the Middle East for thousands of years. John the Baptist is recorded to have eaten a diet comprised of honey and locusts.

Next in the series: Are Old Testament dietary laws still applicable today?


When you have an itch, what is happening under your skin?

The average human body is covered by about 20 square feet (2 square meters) of skin. Skin is the only organ that is constantly exposed to potential irritation. And, with so many things coming into contact with your skin daily, you're bound to get an itch or two. Serious itching can be caused by allergies, disease, emotions and infections, but let's take a look at what causes the common itches that aggravate you everyday.

Itching, also known as pruritus, starts with some kind of external stimuli, including bugs, dust, clothing fibers and hair. Like tickling, itching is a built-in defense mechanism that alerts your body to the potential of being harmed. In this case, it might be the potential of being bit by a bug.

When the stimuli lands on your skin, it may not bother you at first, but soon it will begin to rub back and forth across your skin. Once the hair or dust scratches your skin's surface layer, receptors in the dermis of the skin will become irritated. In a split second, these receptors send a signal through fibers in the skin to your spinal cord and then up to the cerebral cortex in your brain.

The same fibers that send itching signals are also used to send pain signals to the brain, which once led some scientists to believe that itching was a form of light pain. That notion has since been dispelled by research, which showed that pain and itching elicit opposite responses. Pain causes us to withdraw and itching causes us to scratch.

As soon as we feel an itch, our first natural response is to scratch the spot of the itch with our fingernails. The reason for this response is simple -- we want to remove the irritant as soon as possible. Once you've scratched the area of irritation, you are likely to feel some relief. When your brain realizes that you've scratched away the irritant, the signal being sent to your brain that you have an itch is interrupted and therefore no longer recognized by the brain.

Even if you don't remove the irritant, scratching will at least cause pain and divert your attention away from the itching. The irritant that caused the itching is very small, maybe only a few microns in length, so it disturbs only a few nerve endings. When you use your fingernail to scratch the spot where the irritant is, you not only remove the irritant but you irritate a lot more nerve endings than the irritant.


Purging Germs: Health Booster or Bad Idea?

Most of the germs lurking about our environment and that live on our bodies are not only harmless they've been with us for millennia, says Martin Blaser, MD, professor of internal medicine at New York University.

As human behavior has changed over the past half century, many microbes, such as some that live in the gut, are disappearing.

"These perform important physiological functions but because of modern life they are changing and some are disappearing," Blaser says. "Those disappearances have consequences -- some good, some bad."

When we overly sanitize infants' environments to protect them from illness, we may instead be depriving them the opportunity to build a strong immune system.

In addition to overzealous hygiene campaigns that may prevent kids from exposure to natural microorganisms that are good for them, there are other practices -- like the overuse of antibiotics -- that threaten to make us less healthy, not more.

Still, there is the possibility of going too far in the other direction. Many proponents of the hygiene hypothesis say that the germs in the dirt are good for you.

"It's an interesting idea," Blaser says, "but my view is those germs are irrelevant to us. Those microbes in dirt are adapted to dirt they are not adapted to the human body."


What Happens When a Fly Lands on Our Food?

As it happens, flies don’t just look disgusting, but actually are pretty disgusting creatures with a number of bad habits. One of these bad habits is simply loving other really disgusting stuff. That is to say that flies are attracting to things like corpses, like faeces, like rubbish and like stagnant water. And when a fly lands on your food, there’s a good chance that it has just come from landing on some poop. As you might imagine, this means that their hairs can actually still carry traces of faeces and bacteria from those sources and it means that they can end up on your food… not good!

I actually have a friend who works in developing countries to help supply them with fresh water (yep, I feel unimportant too). One of the big issues they have out there is sanitation, and to demonstrate to them how important this is, they sometimes take a strand of hair, dip it into some manure, and then dip it into a glass of water. Then they ask those watching to drink the water. Normally they say no…

Flies also have a slightly bad habit of puking everything. If your dinner date did that, you’d probably leave.

The reason that flies do this is that they can’t chew, and so they need to spit their enzymes out onto the food they plan to consume, and then ‘slurp’ it back up. So when they land on your grub, this is actually what they’re doing.

Flies can carry cholera, typhoid and dysentery and they are actually twice as germ-ridden as cockroaches. So next time you see a fly land on your dinner, imagine it’s a cockroach. Still going to eat that?


17) Funny dirty memes for tree huggers.

𔄝 minutes into photosynthesis and chill.”

“Five minutes into photosynthesis and chill.”

“You flip her over for [censored] and she arches her back like…So you look down like…Pathetic.”

“Would a gay shop owner decline service to someone because they were straight? No. Because gay people aren’t [censored]. Well…Technically.”


Shutterstock

If you use a cloth mask, not washing it is the same as wearing a contaminated mask. A washing machine with the hot water setting on, using your normal detergent should be sufficient for cleaning it. Once clean, the mask should be thoroughly dried, on a clothesline or dryer.


The ugly

In Western cultures, we have a natural aversion to bugs. Our skin crawls if we see flies crawling on a piece of meat or a mealworm infestation in our flour bin.

But in most countries of the world, bugs are routinely eaten and even enjoyed.

In Ghana, it’s common to snack on roasted termites. In southwest Brazil, queen ants are a popular delicacy.

But in Europe and North America, we are doing everything in our power to avoid eating these nasty insects.

The FDA Defect Levels Handbook [15] states that there are certain “natural and unavoidable defects” in foods which can be allowed without posing a threat to humans.

In any macaroni and cheese product, you may have as much as 225 insect fragments per each 225 grams. Frozen broccoli may contain an average of 60 aphids or mites per 100 grams. Imported olives, peanuts, and a variety of spices including ginger, allspice and black pepper all allow a certain amount of insect fragments.

In this context, any repulsion you feel towards eating insects seems a bit misplaced.

Not to mention, those who have tried edible insects, even those who were skeptical to begin with, report that the taste is not objectionable or unpleasant at all. Depending on the type of bug, they are variously reported to taste like nuts, mint, or even bacon.

Edible insects.

  • Are already a dietary staple In most countries
  • Have been allowed by the FDA to be present in certain foods
  • Don’t have an unpleasant taste

And when you think of all the good that you accomplish for your body, for the world, and for the environment, overcoming your cultural disgust seems like a small price to pay.

So the next time anyone offers you roasted mealworms or a cricket protein bar, go ahead and give it a try.

Now I would like to hear from you.

Would you like to start eating bugs or would you like to learn more?

Let me know what you think in the comments below, and I’ll give you a heads-up.

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