Examine of northern Ontario bugs goals to assist enhance meals manufacturing

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TIMMINS – Northern Ontario is known for its abundance of beetles.

Now researchers from southern Ontario are curious to learn more about our insects for several reasons, including participating in a larger project to increase food production.

A team from the University of Guelph has set up several fly traps and is collecting samples.

Tents are set up in the boreal forest in Northern Ontario. Known as the “Malaise” tent, it is used to trap insects.

Young research technician Emily Kyle said they were trying to catch flying insects.

“So they fly into the sides of the trap and then they fly into the bottle and fall back into the liquor bottle,” Kyle said. “It catches them.”

Researchers venture into the north because they say that in the mixed forest plains of the south there is nothing more original due to urbanization. They say the north is less affected by humans, which allows them to compare.

Dirk Steinke of the University of Guelph said the goal is to understand the diversity of beetles in this part of Ontario.

“That’s why we decided on certain locations or certain regions,” says Steinke. “We’re trying to understand how much influence we humans have already had on these species.”

Kyle said she comes into town every two weeks to collect samples.

“We’ll see what this one has in this sample today,” she said. “Today there are a lot of flies, moths and butterflies, but every time I come back it’s different.”

There are 45 tents in northeastern Ontario. They are found in urban areas, in provincial parks, and in areas where trees have been harvested.

“We are trying to use DNA-based methods to identify everything that is in one of these bottles,” said Steinke.

“So there is a small section of the genome that is characteristic of each species, and then we can determine which animal species were caught there and when.”

Officials said that some insects can tell us things about environmental health.

The project is also part of a larger program called Food From Thought, a Guelph University research project aimed at developing solutions to improve agricultural production.

Sampling started in May and runs through October.