Science - September 28, 2006

Insect festival attracts thousands

At least twenty thousand people came to the City of Insects festival in Wageningen last week. The attempt to break the record for insect eating received overwhelming media attention. Television viewers as far away as China and Brazil saw and heard how 1747 people braved a portion of mealworms.

show, even with small six-footed creatures you can reach a wide public,’ commented Dicke.

One of the most important objectives of the Academic Year Prize, which the Wageningen entomology team won in June with its plan for City of Insects, to make scientific research interesting for a wide public. The organisers estimate that at least fifteen thousand people came to the last day of the festival, Saturday 23 September, when activities were organised at sixteen locations throughout Wageningen.

At the end of the afternoon, about four thousand visitors gathered in the Salverdaplein, and the organisers managed to persuade 1747 people to eat a portion of stir-fired mealworms flavoured with garlic, all at the same time. Professor Arnold van Huis, a tropical entomologist and fervent supporter of insects as food, also finished his serving of mealworms, but placed the world record in perspective. ‘Just 25 kilograms of insects were prepared for the entire festival – that’s peanuts compared with the amounts consumed in Africa.’

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