Bugs that Drink Beer and Blood

The New York Times reported Tuesday on Frank Davis and his USDA lab at Mississippi State University. Frank raises and studies armyworms and other agricultural pests. He says his bugs love beer and then love each other. Er, that is to say, drinking beer seems to put them in the mood. Seriously – it’s in the New York Times so it’s gotta be true. You can read it right here.

Bugs are on my mind for another reason though. Tomorrow morning at the crack of 4am, I head off to Colombia where I will be meeting with coffee farmers as part of my research for my next book. Large sections of Colombia are equatorial jungle and when I think of jungle I think of bugs. Creepy crawlies that suck your blood. Or at least mosquitoes.

I’ll be packing bug juice and a solar-powered mosquito repellant thingy.

ArhuacoThe first place we’re going is near a place called Valledupar where we’ll be meeting members of the Arhuaco indigenous community. The Arhuaco are believed to be descendants of the ancient Tayrona civilization which dates back as much as two millennium according to some claims. You can read more about them in this National Geographic article right here.

I hear they drink chicha, so in addition to the research I’ll be doing on their efforts to market organic, shade-grown coffee, through fair trade coffee companies like Cooperative Coffees, I’ll also be seeking some wisdom about their ancient beer drinking customs. And believe me, as soon as you start reading about these people, wisdom is the first characteristic that comes to mind to describe the content of their strangely premoniscient religious beliefs about climate change. It’s a little early to report on them when I haven’t even been there yet, so I’ll stop at that and promise to report more when I return in about ten days.

Meanwhile, keep an eye on the new coffee blog I’ve started with my co-conspirators on the next book: http://www.BeanActivist.com. If possible, we’ll try to post something there during the trip.


4 Responses to Bugs that Drink Beer and Blood

  1. Dave says:

    Bon voyage! Lucky dog.

    If my experience in Honduras is any indication, mosquitoes at coffee-growing elevations are sluggish, and not much of a nuisance.

  2. Lu says:

    I would like to know who were the arhuaco you actually met. Being myself a Arhuaco, usual Arhaco “ambassadors” do not speak for the rest. Believe me.

  3. beeractivist says:

    Hi Lu, I met several Arhuaco folks who are working to export coffee. I don’t have my notes around, so I couldn’t tell you their names at the moment. But they neither presented themselves as, nor did I interpret them as, or write about them as, “ambassadors” who speak for “the rest.” I did, however, expect them to be representing the coffee-exporting interests of the farmers in their community. And as far as I can tell, that’s what they did. The buyers I accompanied ended up contracting for more of their coffee.


  4. Kamikaze Drink…

    […]Bugs that Drink Beer and Blood « Beer Activist[…]…

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