The Trouble With Crickets

David Cavena20 Jun, 2024 3 Min Read
Where would we put them all?

If you spend enough time listening to the Green Left, you might develop the impression that the most deadly animal on Earth is the cow. No government is pushing policies to severely diminish the global number of bears, and they're actively trying to protect shark populations. So why the bovine terror? Because, as with any mammal digesting plant matter, the cow's digestion process creates methane, one of the gases the Climate Cult are always bloviating about. According to Physics World, the U.N. is very concerned about the annual greenhouse gas output of livestock around the world.

Globally the livestock sector accounts for the equivalent of seven gigatonnes (7 × 1012 kg) of CO2 every year, according to the United Nations. This is around 15% of anthropogenic emissions – a similar proportion to cars. On a commodity basis, beef and milk from cows are responsible for the highest proportion of these emissions.

Their plan for getting rid of all of this excess plant food is to substitute insects for beef and dairy in our diet. If we eat bugs instead of livestock, the thinking goes, we can reduce our carbon dioxide output, and consequently, “climate change.” There’s a problem with this.

Just to replace beef in the global menu (not other ruminants also creating methane), we’d need to slaughter annually about 550 trillion crickets, refine their carcasses, dispose of the waste, and ship them worldwide. Ensuring parents for the next generation of half-a-quadrillion crickets, and the successful raising to slaughter age of the next half-quadrillion, would mean keeping nearly two quadrillion (2,000,000,000,000,000) crickets. How we transport, house, feed and slaughter this number of bugs is unknown.

And here's a question they never seem to ask: Do bugs also create greenhouse gases? Yes, of course they do. A recent study which looked at "mealworms, locusts and crickets, all of which are consumed around the world, as well as sun beetles and cockroaches, which people do not eat" found that the "insects emitted 80 times less methane" when compared, "weight for weight," to cattle.

The greenhouse gases you know.

An average adult cricket weighs 0.5 grams. An average beef, at slaughter, 1,400 lbs, or 635 kg, the weight of 1.3 million crickets, or 3.5 times the caloric equivalent of 363,000 crickets with one beef. One doesn’t eat all of a cow, and one doesn’t eat all of a cricket, so the weight-for-weight comparison may be purposefully irrelevant disinformation. One wonders whether the inclusion of bugs no one eats was intentional to increase the multiplier to 80; mis- or dis-information? From a 2,400-lb cow one gets only 880 lbs. of edibles; what is the proportion in crickets? No idea. We aren't told.

Whatever the GHG equivalent, we are left with housing, feeding, waste disposal of quadrillions of insects to displace livestock in our menu. Human health is an issue, as well:

Some research shows that people who have shellfish or dust mite allergies might want to avoid consumption of crickets, as they may have an allergic reaction.


Parasites were detected in 244 (81.33%) out of 300 (100%) examined insect farms. In 206 (68.67%) of the cases, the identified parasites were pathogenic for insects only; in 106 (35.33%) cases, parasites were potentially parasitic for animals; and in 91 (30.33%) cases, parasites were potentially pathogenic for humans. Edible insects are an underestimated reservoir of human and animal parasites.

All of which is to say, replacing steaks with bugs is a plan so half baked that only complete idiots could come up with it. Unfortunately for us, that's who's running the show.

David Cavena is a native southern Californian exfiltrated to Arizona. An IT professional for 40 years, he has pushed cows in California, dudes and horses in Wyoming, and programmers in Los Angeles and Phoenix. An avid outdoorsman – skier, backpacker, water skier and scuba diver – David writes from Arizona.


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2 comments on “The Trouble With Crickets”

  1. To be clear, I think this whole bug-eating thing is a scam and will take a steak over a cricket pizza every time. But to answer the author's question about the amount of cricket that's edible, I did a little research. Studies indicate that crickets yield about 80% of their body weight as edible food. That's because crickets have a higher feed conversion efficiency and less inedible biomass compared to traditional livestock like cows.
    To summarize:
    Cows: 37% of body weight is edible.
    Crickets: 80% of body weight is edible.
    But "housing, feeding, waste disposal of quadrillions of insects to displace livestock" still doesn't outweigh this disparity. Stick with livestock.

  2. Don't forget that all the grass that the cows don't eat will die and decompose and generate just as much methane as the cows ...

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