WorldHard-working Colombian beetles clean garbage, retire as pets

Hard-working Colombian beetles clean garbage, retire as pets

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TUNJA, Colombia — Three yellow-and-black beetles clung to the shirt of Germán Viasus Tibamoso, a Colombian environmental engineer who makes use of beetle larvae to rework meals waste into fertilizers.

As he inspired them to maneuver alongside, he murmured to them in Japanese – making an attempt to get them accustomed, he mentioned, to the sounds of their future properties.

The not-so-little bugs – which might develop as much as 17 centimeters (6.5 inches) lengthy – have a remarkably productive and complex life among the many people who breed and accumulate them.

Viasus operates an organization known as Tierra Viva in a rural space across the metropolis of Tunja, a metropolis some 150 kilometers (95 miles) northwest of the Colombian capital of Bogota.

An try as a postgraduate pupil to provide natural fertilizer with worms failed, Viasus mentioned, however he discovered beetle larvae within the luggage of earth that remained. He tried utilizing them as an alternative. And it labored.

Tons of meals scraps collected from close by communities are unfold in concrete ditches and lined with earth. Then beetle larvae – the stage between egg and maturity – are launched.


PHOTOS: Exhausting-working Colombian beetles clear rubbish, retire as pets


They chew by way of the refuse and their digestive microorganisms rework it right into a fertilizer wealthy in nitrogen and phosphorous.

After 4 months or so, the product passes by way of a filter that separates the fertilizer from the larvae, who’re on the level of turning into grownup beetles.

They mate, and their eggs are used to begin the method anew. The adults, nevertheless, go on very completely different journeys. Some are headed for scientific labs. And a fortunate few embark on a future throughout the Pacific in Japan, the place beetles are standard as pets, and are even bought over on-line emporiums equivalent to Amazon.

Tierra Viva has been exporting the bugs – largely Hercules beetles – since 2004, and Viasus mentioned they will convey as a lot as $150 every.

This yr the corporate despatched 100 beetles to Tokyo – down from 300 final yr – held in little plastic instances with air holes and meals.

The gross sales are sometimes within the firm’s variant of cryptocurrency, known as “Kmushicoin” – a variant on a Japanese phrase for beetle.

Viasus, 52, mentioned he hopes the mission can develop and prosper for one more century – maybe with its fertilizer utilized in reforestation initiatives.

“It’s very troublesome in Colombia … as a result of we do it with none assist from the state or every other entity. In every other nation of the world, a mission like this is able to get plenty of assist,” he mentioned.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Instances, LLC.



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