A medical entomology class will be offered for the second time this summer during intersession. The class will be taught by assistant biology professor Ryan Stork.
Stork said the main goal of the course is to make students more aware of how arthropods, or insects, influence their lives. The class will also discuss health, political and cultural influences.
“Our lives are dependent on these small bugs but we are losing that recognition in our society as we remove ourselves from our food sources and nature in general,” Stork said. “Understanding this connection is important as we try and care for our environment in this and future generations.”
National Geographic recently published an article titled “Menu of the Future: Insects, Weeds, and Bleeding Veggie Burgers.” Which focuses on how humans are going to feed Earth’s growing population without depleting its resources. The article suggested several different options for food, bugs being one of them. It suggest using baking products like cricket flour, a popular item in countries like Indonesia. Eating bugs can have a positive health impact, crickets offer more protein and micronutrients per pound than beef, according to National Geographic.
“It is true that bugs are an ecologically efficient protein source and one that we as humans need to use more as our population grows. Many groups around the world already eat bugs but in the West we have not caught on,” Stork said.
Senior biology major Jared Holley enrolled in the class during intersession 2017. Holley said he took the class to gain a better understanding of the impact of bugs on human health.
“I was curious,” Holley said. “There are so many different types of insects that surely, they have a large.”
Stork said student do not have to be biology majors to benefit from the class. Everyone is directly influenced by bugs in some way.
Stork said he brings samples of insect snacks as part of a lecture. Students are not required to eat the snacks, but they allow students to confront the idea of eating bugs after learning about the benefits.
“Most people don’t understand the major influence that bugs have in their everyday life and they can benefit by learning not only about the animals themselves, but also about the many misunderstandings that our culture has about them,” Stork said.