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This Buddha Sculpture Is Made from 20,000 Dead Beetles

Japanese artist Yoneji Inamura spent six years of his life collecting 20,000 beetles of different varieties and using them to create a five-foot sculpture of a popular Buddhist deity.

It’s unclear how and when exactly Inamura started catching and collecting beetles. Some sources claim that it was during his days working for the local railroad, in Itakura, Japan’s Gunma Prefecture, after noticing that the rhinoceros beetle’s horn resembled the fingers of the Buddhist deity, while others say that he was helping local children collect beetles and just became fascinated with them. Living in a rural area of Japan, Inamura was always surrounded by various types of beetles, including rhinoceros beetles, winged jewel beetles, drone beetles, longhorn beetles, just to name a few, and he dedicated most of his free time to catching and adding them to his collection.

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Brazilian Scientists Bake Bread Out of Cockroach Flour

With food shortage expected to become a major problem in the next decades, many experts believe that insects could become a major source of nutrients for people in the future. We already have plenty of insect based recipes and restaurants have begun putting bugs on their menus, but we need an effective way of using them as replacements for staples of our current diet, like wheat. Well, a couple of Brazilian food scientists have make a breakthrough in that area after successfully turning a species of cockroaches into flour and using it to bake bread.

Andressa Lucas and Lauren Menegon, two engineering students at the Federal University of Rio Grande, in Brazil, have developed a flour made from cockroaches that contains 40% more protein than regular wheat flour and can be used to make all kinds of baked goods. It also contains lots of essential amino acids, as well as amino acids and lipids. And before you start acting all disgusted, the flour is not made from bugs like tho ones crawling through your kitchen at night, but of a species called Nauphoeta cinerea. They are sourced from a specialized breeder, where they are produced according to the hygiene requirements of the ANVISA, the Brazilian health surveillance agency, and fed exclusively on fruits and vegetables.

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Man Sprays Insecticide in Ear to Kill Trapped Cockroach

After several attempts to remove a cockroach that had crawled into his ear while he was sleeping, a Chinese man decided to kill the intruder by spraying bug spray into his ear canal.

The 60-year-old man from Chengdu told doctors that a cockroach crawled into his ear on February 1st. He could feel it wiggling around inside, so he tried to force it out with various tools. First he tried using his fingers, then he moved on to ear wax scoops, toothpicks and tweezers. None of them proved successful, so he then tried scaring the insect by hitting his head with his hands, but that didn’t work either. After three days the insect seemed to have advanced further into his ear, so he decided it was time for desperate measures. He grabbed a canned on insecticide and sprayed it into his ear, hoping to kill the intruder.

This time, the man, referred to as Liu Qian (a pseudonym) by the media, was successful, but that didn’t actually solve his problem. The cockroach died almost instantly, but it remained stuck in his ear. Doctors say the chemical warfare the man waged on the insect didn’t help very much, as the spray caused his ear canal to swell up, trapping the bug inside. In the end, he had to visit a doctor to have the cockroach removed, an operation that took only a few minutes. It turned out that the insect measured around one centimeter.

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French Noodle Maker Is Struggling to Keep Up with Demand for Insect Pasta

When artisanal pasta maker Stephanie Richard added insects to her pasta on a whim, she had know idea what a huge hit it would become. The demand for her ‘protein-rich’, crunchy noodles is now so huge that she’s struggling to keep up with orders!

Richards, who strongly believes that insects are “the protein of the future”, said she got the idea for adding them to pasta in 2012, while trying to develop a high-protein version for athletes. That’s when an insect distributor in eastern Lyon contacted her about adding bugs to her pasta, and she was completely sold on the idea. She started producing insect flour pasta around Christmas that year, and the product pretty much started flying off the shelves. Her shop launched the unusual pasta just before the winter holidays, and sold around 500 bags in a matter of days.

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This Wasp’s Sting Is So Excruciating You can’t Help but Fall Down and Start Screaming

The Tarantula Hawk is a type of wasp with an excruciatingly painful sting that lasts only three minutes, but feels like a lifetime. The pain, rated four (highest) on the Schmidt sting pain index,  is best described as “fiercely electric”. Bug experts and people who have been stung claim the pain is a lot like getting electrocuted. And the best strategy to deal with it is – get this – to lie down and start screaming!

According to a report in the Journal of the Kansas Entomology Society, “Tarantula hawks produce large quantities of venom and their stings produce immediate, intense, excruciating short term pain in envenomed humans.” The report adds that “the instantaneous pain of a tarantula hawk sting is the greatest recorded for any stinging insect,” but “the venom itself lacks meaningful vertebrate toxicity.” In other words, the wasp’s sting isn’t deadly, but it’s so painful that it’ll make you want to die.

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Mexican Artist Recreates Classic Paintings on Real Butterflies

After experimenting with candy and toothpaste paintings, Mexican artist Cristiam Ramos is now working with preserved butterflies. He spends several hours pouring over each wing, painstakingly decorating them with detailed replicas of classical paintings.

Butterfly wings don’t naturally make for good canvases – they’re small, and the texture isn’t altogether right for painting. They’re each about 12 cm in length, so Ramos has to use a magnifying glass to get the intricacy and details right. He spends a good 56 hours painting each wing, meticulously applying one brushstroke at a time.

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Anty Gin – World’s First Gin Made Using Ants

True to its name, ‘Anty Gin’ is literally made from red wood ants. British distiller Will Lowe collects thousands of ants from the forests of Kent and prepares the gin at his lab-style distillery in Cambridge. The bizarre concoction is the world’s first gin to be made from insects, so naturally, it doesn’t come cheap. Each 70cl bottle costs £200 ($313), and contains the essence of 62 ants.

The idea for Anty Gin came about when Danish organisation Nordic Food Lab contacted Lowe, who makes custom gins for a living. “We were approached by a company from Copenhagen called Nordic Food Lab who explore the culinary qualities of insects and argue for the eating of them in western cuisine. They asked us to come up with a gin where the typical citrus flavor came not from lemon or lime peel, but from ants.” Lowe said.

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30 Days of Bugs – Student Goes on Insect Diet for a Whole Month

We’ve heard people going on all sorts of crazy diets, but this one is a first – an American student recently went a 30-day bug fest! Throughout  the month of February, Alabama student Camren Brantley-Rios ate insect-laced meals three times a day.

The 21-year-old, who documented his bug-eating experience on a blog called ‘30 Days of Bugs’, believes that traditional meats such as pork and beef are unsustainable as sources of protein. He considers insects to be the diet of the future, so he’s experimenting with creepy crawly ingredients to make delicious dishes.

There was a time when Camren himself was repulsed by the idea of consuming insects. But now that he’s actually done it, he says it hasn’t been too difficult to get used to. “I’m mainly sticking to three species,” he said. “Mealworms, waxworms and crickets. Those are definitely the bulk of my diet. But I’m trying here and there to incorporate things a little bit more exotic.”

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Guy Claims He Has Tamed a Japanese Giant Wasp, Keeps It on a Leash

The Japanese giant hornet is known as one of the world’s largest and most aggressive insects. It is two inches long with a quarter-inch stinger, can fly at speeds up to 25 mph, and is feared for its powerful, poisonous stings that claim at least 40 lives in Japan every summer. So when a Japanese man made an outlandish claim that he had actually tamed a hornet, no one really believed him.

But Twitter user Mikuru625’s has been trying to convince everyone that he actually has a pet giant hornet by posting photos of it. He said that he had captured the hornet with a butterfly net and held it with tweezers while he removed its sting and poison sacs. He then put a string around its thorax, so that the insect follows him wherever he goes. “He does bite occasionally but it doesn’t hurt,” the owner says.

Dead Stinger For A Pet Causes Debate in Japan

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80-Year-Old Woman Dedicates Her Life to Swatting Flies, Kills Up to 1,000 Per Day

When 80-year-old Ruan Tang had retired, around 14 years ago, she wanted to spend her time doing something useful for her community. And when she realized how much the flies were bothering people during the summer, she decided to do something about it. Tang is now a woman on a mission – to swat as many pesky flies as possible.

“I decided that killing flies was the best way for me to be useful – and I’ve been doing it now every day since,” she said. Tang, who belongs to the Changmingsixiang Community in eastern China’s Hangzhou City, has made it her full-time hobby – for the past 14 years she has spent eight hours a day, seven days a week, killing flies.

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This Collection of Bat-Eating Spiders Is Probably the Scariest Thing You’ll See Today

It’s hard to imagine a fragile spider killing and eating a full-grown bat. I mean there’s no way a tiny spider could have any sort of muscle power over a fully grown bat, right? Believe or not, there are eight-legged bugs out there that can pounce on bats and eventually devour them. And when they can’t, they rely on their superior web-spinning skills to get the job done.

One of the earliest sightings of bat-eating spiders occurred way back in 1941, when Indian scientist G.C. Bhattacharya (of the Bose Research Institute) walked into a cowshed in a village near the city of Calcutta. In a letter to an unknown publication, he wrote a detailed account of his experience: “Entering into the cowshed, I noticed a pipistrelle bat struggling to drag itself out of a crevice between two bamboo strips of a wall and a big house-spider was seen firmly gripping the former by the neck with its powerful mandibles.” No matter how much the little bat kicked, and screamed and flailed, the spider held on with a death-grip. “There was intermittent gasping and screaming of the bat,” Bhattacharya wrote.

Eventually, he focused a torch on the spot and as soon as the light fell on the pair, the bat screamed loudly and managed to drag itself through a certain distance on the matted shed wall. About 20 minutes later, the bat, thoroughly exhausted, stretched out its wing and gave in.   Bhattacharya then captured both victim and predator in a glass jar and took them home for closer observation. The next morning, he found the spider resting peacefully at the top of the jar, while the bat lay dead at the bottom, untouched. It had visible injuries to its neck and had died sometime during the night.

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Hemeroplanes Triptolemus – The Creepy Snake That’s Actually a Harmless Caterpillar

Looking at a photo of Hemeroplanes triptolemus, nine out of ten people would swear it’s a snake. But look closer, and you’ll realize there’s something peculiar about it – the body is unusually short and ends abruptly with a large reptilian head. The truth is, it’s not a snake at all. The Hemeroplanes is actually a caterpillar pretending to be a snake. And it does a darn good impression of the deadly creature, often fooling curious travelers and predators alike.

Hemeroplanes are moths of to the Sphingidae family, found in many parts of South America, Africa and Central America. In the larval form, they are capable of expanding their anterior body segments to closely resemble a snake, complete with reptilian scales and scary eyes. To make their mimicking act even more believable, the harmless caterpillar will sometimes even snap at potential predators. Of course, they have no real fangs so they can’t really do any serious damage, but their appearance is convincing enough to scare even humans away,

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Meet Steven Kutcher – The Guy Who Gets Insects to Act on Camera

Have you ever wondered how the insects in movies do exactly what they’re supposed to? How do they know they’re even in a movie scene and play along with the plot? Like the spider that bites Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) in Spiderman. The bees that swarm Matt Damon in We Bought a Zoo. The spider that walks four feet and slips into a slipper in the cult classic, Arachnophobia. Or the giant mosquitos in Jurassic Park.

It turns out that there’s actually a person behind all these shots, manipulating the insects to do his bidding. That man is Steven Kutcher, 69, an entomologist who has been working in Hollywood since 1976. He has been a part of over 100 feature films, numerous commercials, music videos and TV movies.

“I think of myself as a bug wrangler, a consultant. I’m not the cheap guy who trains dogs and chickens and happens to have a tarantula,” he said. “I’m both a scientist and an artist. I think Steven Spielberg said I was the first entomologist in the film industry. I brought the science of insect behavior to the film industry.” It’s pretty obvious that Mr. Kutcher takes immense pride in what he does.

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Fascinating Orchid Mantis Mimics Flowers to Attract Unsuspecting Prey

The orchid mantis, named after the flower it strikingly resembles, fools prey and predators alike. Its imitation of orchids is so convincing that insects are more attracted to it than the real deal.

Camouflage isn’t a strange concept; many animals and insects adopt clever disguises to avoid predators. But orchid mantises are unique. They stand out instead of blending in, beating orchids at their own game.

Most people find insects gross and disturbing. I must confess, I’m one of them. But I caught myself admiring pictures of orchid mantises. They are such beautiful creatures with their petal-shaped legs and rich pink, white and purple bodies. These features create a “tantalizing lure” for insects, says James O’Hanlon from Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia.

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Bugs the Size of Your Hand – The Titan Beetle

As its name suggests, the Titanus giganteus, or Titan Beetle, is a giant of the insect world. Adults can grow up to 6.5 inches (16.7 cm) long and have incredibly strong jaws that can snap wooden pencils in half, so just imagine what they could do to your fingers. Luckily, these scary-looking bugs are quite harmless to humans.

The Titan beetle is one of the most mysterious creatures on Earth. It lives unobtrusively deep in some of the South America’s  hottest tropical rain forests and only ventures out when seeking out mates. The larvae of this amazing insect have never been found, but judging by the large boreholes found in dead trees in their natural habitat, scientists believe Titan beetle grubs feed on decaying wood below ground for several years before reaching maturity. The size of these holes suggests the grubs are around two inches in diameter and up to a foot long. Just like the Atlas Moth, the Titan beetle doesn’t feed during its adult life cycle, using the reserves gathered in its pupa stage to fly around long enough to find a mate. Because they mostly sit around waiting for males to seek them out and fertilize their eggs, females have rarely been spotted.

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