Bug Farm

Four distinct women in Central Florida form a bond over crickets, superworms, and roaches on an insect farm in the small town of LaBelle.

AIRED: October 04, 2021 | 0:13:13

(gentle music)

(upbeat music)

- Our morning karaoke session.

Yeah, how you drink coffee in a small town.

- I really wanna YouTube us one day.

We'd be down in the late night show, driving and singing.

- I know, we just need a camera for the car.

- We need a selfie stick.

- We'll call it like, Porscha and Dorinda, hot box in.

Oh, I like that. - Hot box in.

- Hot box in. - Karaoke.

We sell to the local bait shops, the zoo in Tampa,

the pet place in Fort Myers, they buy from us also.

I think they'd be really good, deep fried

in some chocolate.

I'm just saying.

That might be a Southern thing though.

Deep fry it, barbecue, it don't matter.

I think it's a high possibility

that it's going to become that new fad thing

that everybody's doing.

And if it clicks, it clicks.

I don't know, the rest of that would be like,

pretty much in my opinion, like end-of-world prep,

like to replace protein,

so I try not to think that far, it's a little stressful,

but I mean, I'd eat some crickets.


- At first they were just like these little slithery worms.

- You know, I would feed them, I did my job,

but I didn't really like care about them like that.

And then to seem them grow up.

Like it is, like it's emotional.

I would've never thought I could care

about worms that way, like a child.

My daughter, she will not even walk in the building.

- She's like, Oh, it stinks.

Like when I call she's like, "You stink,

"you smell like bugs."

- Socially, Labelle is certainly not San Francisco.

I've been out here for about five and a half months now.

I'm in charge of technical development,

which really means

to actually make sure that the tech we make is usable.

And I think it's really important that we have farm hands

that have been farming for so long so they can tell me:

Hey, this stresses out the crickets,

this isn't working right.

And their input is super invaluable,

because I couldn't in a vacuum

make tech that was actually usable

for real cricket farmers.

I'd just be making something that looks good

on Gizmodo or something.


That's very hot.

If you put spit on it really fast,

it doesn't even burn, tricks of the trade.

It can continue to burn for up to a minute and a half.

It's kinda gross but it keeps your hands

from getting burned, so I do it every time.


- Holy cow it's raining.

Yeah, on my farm. - It's raining!

- I know.

She feeling better?

Alright, I love you.

Tell her I love her.

Alright, bye.

♪ Rain, rain, go away ♪

♪ Come back another day. ♪

♪ Me and Porscha want to play ♪

♪ Rain, rain go away. ♪

- Mostly, I feel connected to the roaches.

I feel like I'm a roach mom.

They're so sweet and animated,

and they're kind of the only bug,

that you can look at from a distance and see their face.

And they just have so many emotions having to do with

burrowing and hiding and coming out and looking.

You can tell that this guy is male,

by the way that his last segment looks.

This is a really beautiful roach.


Look at his little face.


- We do use the word "love" a lot.

And I believe it's somewhat

like a Southern hospitality thing.

And it's a little weird but like I'm a firm believer.

Like, it's the same like when I make my sweet tea

or when I make my rich dressing.

Like I believe if it's just done a certain way

and it's got that little extra.

It's better with love, like my super worms,

like when I'm feeding them and like cleaning their bins.

Like I really believe if it's not done in that manner

with love, like it's just not the same.

They seem to grow better, like, I don't, it's weird,

I really do believe that.

- Coming out here I was expecting a lot of hostility

and opposition because it's what I'd been told

by the people in San Francisco.

But really everyone here

doesn't wanna get in your way

and wants to make sure that you're being taken care of

and have what you need.


How the worms doing?

- They doing good.

- No gaps in production?

- The new worms look really awesome,

with all the new beetles we've added,

they're really cool.

- Yeah, they're great. - They're starting to look

like they did when I first started

which is a really good sign

- Great.

- Okay.

- No I'm okay.

Yeah a little bit.

- When I was pregnant with the baby.

All the time, all the time

All the time, nothing was hot.

- This is my little Mexican baby.

Yeah, what?

- Yeah, my husband, yeah.

Very much.

My mother in law no English very well.

I know I should learn Spanish, but--

I know.

English is hard enough.


What do you guys usually do, on the screen or the side?

- Long way since you had it like this.

So don't touch, 'cause it is hard for the worms

too to get boxed like that. - Sure.

- This job came in our life at a rough time

and it pulled us out of a lot of darkness.

- No doubt. - And so I think that's why

it's really important to us

to make sure it does good

it's because it did good for us.

- It was a turning point in my life to be responsible

for something and be accountable for something

and to do a good job.

- 'Cause we do have a lot of things that are going on.

So sometimes we have to take a longer lunch

to go deal with things or we have to do things

and they're okay with it.

- And there's no other job that we would be able

to get done in our personal lives what we have to.

- Yeah like have to, have to not just want to.

(instrumental music)


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