By Montana Grant

Posted: February 2, 2023

Fishermen are always looking for a new bait. There may soon be a new candidate for the worm can.

Scientists from Australia have found that a local beetle larva will eat and digest Styrofoam! These meal worm looking Larvae readily slice, dice, and consume polystyrene plastics!

For those mega recyclers out there, polystyrene is not readily recyclable or accepted at curbside recycle drop offs. The material is used for insulation, packing, and packaging but often ends up in the landfill, or floating in our waterways. Like many plastics, it takes forever to breakdown and go away.

A special enzyme, in the Zophobas Morio beetle’s digestive system, breaks down the plastic. This species of Darkling beetle is common and eager to do the job. The reality is that there will not be giant pits of plastic consuming beetles but rather an enzyme replication product that would do the trick.

I wonder if the Styrofoam eating larvae will make good fishing bait. Will they have floatation built in due to the Styrofoam that they eat? Floating them off the bottom of weedy lakes could do the trick. These larvae could also be dyed to add some color attraction as well. We could grow them at home and feed them the packing Styrofoam from our newest shipped fishing gear.

Another question that I would ask is what happens to the Styrofoam after it is digested? Is the waste product useful? What goes in must go out so…? Remember that Australia is also where marine toads, dung beetles, rabbits, and other invasive species have done huge environmental damage.

You are what you eat!

Montana Grant

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