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Firefly Park Is Illuminated By 10,000 Lightning Bugs

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For plenty of people, a park populated by thousands of flying insects sounds more like a nightmare than a fun day out. But the concept becomes more appealing when it’s revealed that those bugs are all fireflies, whose bioluminescent properties make for a stunning visual display. The city of Wuhan in China’s Hubei province boasts such a firefly-themed park. At East Lake Peony Garden, visitors are invited to get up close and personal with thousands of the light-up creatures.

To make the existence of such a park possible, organizers imported 10,000 fireflies from neighboring Jiangxi province. Once the esteemed guests arrived, they were distributed among five distinct areas: a “zero-distance contact zone,” an observation zone, a flying zone, a larval breeding zone, and a “science popularization” area. The park also hosts specialized activities like dinosaur exhibits, camping festivals, family-friendly walks, and wilderness training programs for children—all amid the nighttime glow of the fireflies (or lightning bugs, if you prefer).

Due to fireflies’ need to hibernate in their larval stage during the winter months, their presence has to be a seasonal one. Wuhan’s firefly park opened for the first time this past May, with a crowd of approximately 5000 eager visitors hoping for a light show.

Chinese residents in particular might be drawn to the firefly park to see a natural experience that has grown increasingly rare over the years, as air pollution and environmental changes have caused the insect population to diminish. This appreciation, however, might have dire consequences for the fireflies themselves. Conservationists claim that any firefly attractions that rely on insects caught in the wild and transported to a habitat other than their own may lead to species endangerment. The harsh artificial lights and loud noises of human civilization can upset the firefly population, not to mention the potential harm done by visitors attempting to surreptitiously catch themselves a souvenir. As with so much of nature’s beauty, fireflies might be another thing best observed in the wild.

[h/t My Modern Met]

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Finnish Food Company Launches The World's First Insect-Based Bread
Fazer
Fazer

A Finnish food company has created a protein-packed bread using an unusual natural ingredient: crickets. It's billed as the world's first insect-based bread to ever be sold in stores, according to Reuters.

In September 2017, Finnish officials approved the cultivation and sale of insects as food. But Fazer Food Services in Helsinki has been testing a bread that contained flour, seeds, and "flour" made from dried crickets long before than decision. The company waited for Finland to give bug food products the go-ahead before officially launching their product in late November.

"We wanted to be in the forefront of food revolution," said Markus Hellström, Fazer Bakery Finland's managing director, in a news release. Plus, he added, "Finns are known to be willing to try new things, and the Fazer Cricket Bread is an easy way to get a feel of food of the future."

A single loaf of cricket bread will set customers back nearly $5. Each contains around 70 crushed crickets, which are currently sourced from the Netherlands. Currently, there's not enough cricket flour for Fazer to conduct nationwide sales, so the company is rolling the product out in stages. Just 11 locations in the Helsinki metro area sell Fazer Cricket Bread right now, with plans to eventually offer it in all 47 Fazer in-store bakeries.

Cricket bread has more protein than the typical baked good, plus it's believed be more environmentally friendly to boot. And Fazer company officials believe that Finns, in particular, are willing to bite.

The world "needs new and sustainable sources of nutrition,” said Juhani Sibakov, Fazer Bakery Finland's director of innovation, in the statement. “According to research, of all the Nordic countries, Finns have the most positive attitudes towards insects.”

[h/t Reuters]

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Which Rooms In Your Home Have the Most Types of Bugs, According to Entomologists 
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Insects can make any home their own, so long as it contains cracks, doors, and windows for them to fly, wriggle, or hitchhike their way in. And it turns out that the creepy crawlers prefer your living room over your kitchen, according to a new study that was recently highlighted by The Verge.

Published in the journal Scientific Reports, the study looked at 50 homes in Raleigh, North Carolina, to measure their insect populations. Entomologists from both North Carolina State University and the California Academy of Sciences ultimately discovered more than 10,000 bugs, both alive and dead, and a diverse array of species to boot.

The most commonly observed bugs were harmless, and included ladybugs, silverfish, fruit flies, and book lice. (Luckily for homeowners, pests like bedbugs, termites, and fleas were scarcer.) Not all rooms, though, contained the same distribution of many-legged residents.

Ground-floor living rooms with carpets and windows tended to have the most diverse bug populations, as the critters had easy access inside, lots of space to live in, and a fibrous floor habitat that could be either a cozy homestead or a death trap for bugs, depending on whether they got stuck in it. The higher the floor level, the less diverse the bug population was, a fact that could be attributed to the lack of doors and outside openings.

Types of bugs that were thought to be specific to some types of rooms were actually common across the board. Ants and cockroaches didn’t limit themselves to the kitchen, while cellar spiders were present in all types of rooms. As for moths and drain flies, they were found in both common rooms and bathrooms.

Researchers also found that “resident behavior such as house tidiness, pesticide usage, and pet ownership showed no significant influence on arthropod community composition.”

The study isn’t representative of all households, since entomologists studied only 50 homes within the same geographical area. But one main takeaway could be that cohabiting bugs “are an inevitable part of life on Earth and more reflective of the conditions outside homes than the decisions made inside,” the researchers concluded. In short, it might finally be time to make peace with your itty-bitty housemates.

[h/t The Verge]

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