What We’re Reading, Watching, and Learning in August

Aunt Fannie Blog

As perpetual learners and constant questioners, the Aunt Fannie’s team is always looking for ways to up our game—and we believe there’s no better teacher than science and nature itself. That’s why we’re always scouring the web, magazines, podcasts, and tips from friends to discover fascinating new facts about insects, wild research about the microbiome, new, safer ways to care for our homes and our loved ones with truly natural ingredients, and information that will help us help you more every day (and if our obsessive reading helps us win at Trivia Night, that’s a sweet bonus). Here’s what caught our eyes this month: probiotics for bees, how a 24-year-old hopes to clean up the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, and a few reasons to think about eating bugs.

Fighting colony collapse with probiotics for pollinators. (via Fast Company)

Bees and other pollinators are vital to our survival, and while we still don’t know exactly why colonies are dying, some folks are hoping offering the winged wonders some helpful bacteria might boost their immune system and help them thrive. SeedLabs, a branch of the startup microbiome outfit Seed, has created a blend of probiotics designed to support honeybees’ defense against pesticides and diseases found to kill of hives. We’re buzzing with anticipation! 

Climate change will mean more insects, and less food for humans. (via the Atlantic)

crickets

Our favorite microbiome writer Ed Yong (author of I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life) turns his lens on the insect world in this recent article on climate change’s impact on crop-loving insects. According to Yong, between 10 and 20 percent of crops produced around the world are eaten by insects, and new research suggests that number will rise starkly with each degree of global temperature rise: “As the future gets hotter, the very hungry caterpillar is going to be even hungrier.” One possible solution? Eat those crickets! New research suggests munching on protein-rich insects increases healthy gut bacteria, and may even reduce inflammation in the body. And if you need some help coming up with recipes for grasshopping, the Smithsonian’s new Bug Out cooking show features insects as the main ingredient.

Is perfect skin linked to gut health? (via the New York Times)

From The Beauty Chef, an Australian company offering probiotic-laced skincare products to makeup guru Bobbi Brown’s probiotic “pixie sticks,” the New York Times dives into fresh ways folks are looking to boost beauty with good bacteria. According to Dr. Yasmine Belkaid, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease’s microbiome program, “Big promises have come too fast, but in the next 10 to 15 years there could be some very impressive products on the market.” Clear skin is on the way, with science.

Why mosquitoes love runners so damn much (via Runner’s World)

According to Jonathan Day, Ph.D., a mosquito researcher and professor of medical entomology at the University of Florida, runners produce a lot more carbon dioxide than sedentary folks—probably three to four times as much—and they also produce a lot of other mosquito attractants, like lactic acid and an increased surface body temperature. Not a runner but still feel like a skeeter feeder? Check out our article on why some folks are more prone to bug bites than others, and pick up a box of our Mosquito Wipes—made with food-based ingredients that are safe for pets, kids of all ages, and babies over 6 months old!

How a 24-year-old entrepreneur from the Netherlands hopes to eradicate the Great Pacific Garbage Patch (via Here and Now, NPR and WBUR in Boston)trash plastic

You’ve probably heard a lot of buzz about the growing problem of plastics and trash in our oceans—about about 538 million pounds of it—and one young man named Boyan Slat is trying to do something about it. Early this September, Slat and a crew working under the name “The Ocean Cleanup” will deploy a 2,000-foot, U-shaped boom more than 1,000 miles off the coast of California. This article explores why this could work, but more importantly why we need more diverse and creative ways to tackle the plastic problem that grows trickier every year.

Aunt Fannie’s in the News: These are the best natural all-purpose cleaners at Whole Foods Market (via MindBodyGreen)

Did you know that Whole Foods Market keeps a running list of banned cleaning ingredients to keep customers safe while they scrub? We use whole, food-based ingredients that you can recognize, pronounce, and even eat—and we’ve done the research to combine those ingredients in radical ways that work better than conventional products without compromising the health of our kids, pets, and our indoor environment. Want to find Aunt Fannie’s in a Whole Foods near you? Check out our handy online store locator.