Photograph courtesy National Geographic Studio
Photograph courtesy National Geographic Studio

Are Fly Farms a Solution to Food Waste?

You’ve probably heard that more people around the world are eating insects to help reduce agricultural waste and replace protein in meat-based diets. But have you ever seen farmers raise flies to make animal food?

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Photograph courtesy National Geographic Studio

A few months ago, the National Geographic video team came across a new research project being conducted at the Guangdong Entomological Institute in Guangzhou, China: Researchers were raising fly larvae using food waste and then feeding the larvae to cows, poultry, and chicken.

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Photograph courtesy National Geographic Studio

According to Xincheng An, a researcher involved in the project at the Guangdong Entomological Institute, the soldier fly (Hermetia illucens) is one of only a few species of insects that can effectively process kitchen garbage.

An and others are working to improve on this agricultural model with hopes that it could dramatically help reduce waste in the agricultural system. Chinese companies are already investing.

Watch how Chinese scientists turn soldier fly larvae into fertilizer and animal food.

Gross or Brilliant? Using Bugs to Feed the Animals We Eat