Harvesting Midges for Fertilizer (study)

In many parts of the world, e.g. N. W. Scotland, New Zealand, British Columbia and Nova Scotia (etc etc) there are almost incalculable numbers of pesky biting midges. A colossal nuisance to tourists and locals alike. But perhaps they could be put to good use – by capturing them and then using them as fertilizer? Researcher Amer Aldahi at the University of Sheffield, UK, believes so. In an experimental setup, he used a ‘Predator’ octanol-based midge collector and collected midges in prodigious amounts.

[…] wet midge biomass was evaluated here for its fertilizer potential. Such biomass could be applied to soils directly or after a period of composting and could be used alone or together with waste plant materials. One could envisage large amounts of such biomass being produced by individuals or perhaps council-run midge collectors (and co-operatives) and, as a result, relatively large amounts of material could be made locally available to farmers and the public. Transport costs might however, limit the wide-spread collection and use of midge biomass on an industrial scale. Certainly however, an individual octanol-based collector, when located in a high midge area, could supply useable nitrogen fertiliser to homes, allotments, and even small to medium sized fruit and commercial fruit and vegetable growers. The production costs of midge biomass could be offset by local authorities, hotels or other tourist locations, where the waste is produced when attempts are being made to reduce the tourist-nuisance potential of vast numbers of midges or mosquitoes.”

See: Section 5:11 of STUDIES ON MICROBES INCLUDING POTENTIAL HUMAN PATHOGENS FROM INSECTS AND OTHER INVERTEBRATES. PhD thesis, ALDahi, Amer (2017) University of Sheffield, UK.

Note: The midge mountain photo is provided courtesy of MidgeBusters of Dunoon, Argyll, Scotland, from whom you can purchase a Predator.

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