You may have seen people eating bugs on TV. If you have ever watched the Travel Channel, you may have seen Andrew Zimmerman, self-proclaimed “bug guy”, enthusiastically topping dishes of scallops and onions with sautéed bumblebees from Taiwan or white ants from Uganda and heartily proclaiming how delicious they are. In fact, Zimmerman will tell you that not only are these specimen delicious, they are a clean protein source, replenishable and free! Well, you make a point, Zimmerman, and to each his own, but presuming you (the reader) prefer to keep your food and insects separate, here are some things you should probably leave out of your picnic basket.
If you like to crack the occasional brew while you enjoy your meal, you may be out of luck. Studies show that beer drinkers are likely to bring the bugs. In fact, even the consummation of one 12 oz beer is enough to bring on the swarm. This Bug’s For You? Maybe not.
While you’re at it, you may want to leave out the bananas, prunes, raisins, lima beans, avocados and spinach. All of these foods are rich in potassium which increases the lactic acid you release through your skin, and mosquitos are attracted to lactic acid.
And, bad news for salty snackers! Chips, roasted, peanuts and crackers are high in sodium which also increases your lactic acid output. “But what’s a picnic without the chips?” you ask. Well, apparently, a bug-free one.
Also, you can forget about dessert. Hey, we’re bummed about this one too! It seems that the sweet smell of candy, cakes and pies can act as a magnet for dogs and mosquitoes, as well as humans.
Now, shall we check in with the bug baiters? According to the Mississippi Entomology Museum, tuna, hot dogs, and peanut butter will bring the ants, and it has been rumored, that these tiny invaders have a predilection for cheddar cheese as well, so you may want to leave that home. And, I hope your not planning a romantic rendezvous complete with wine and grapes, unless you want to share your date with moths, beetles and flies. Wines and fermented fruit are also among the foods associated with luring the evil buggers.
Ok, so let’s get this straight, no pb+j, no tuna sandwiches, no chips, no beer, no wine and no sweets. So what can you bring? Garlic, anyone? Mosquitos hate garlic; so if you really want to keep those pests away, you may want to hang a bulb near your picnic site or fortify yourself with some supplements. But proceed with caution. If you load up on too much of this malodorous product you may end up repelling most of your picnic guests as well.
Maybe at this point, we should just accept the fact that a picnic just comes with bugs. Maybe we should accept the fact that these crafty crawlers are just a natural part of the al fresco experience. But if you choose to go this way, just remember, Andrew Zimmerman says, for best results, you should always take the wings off before you eat them.