Speed Reads

bon appetit

New York City's bugs eat more than 2,100 pounds of dropped food every year

A new study, published in the journal Global Change Biology, found that New York City's bug population consumes more than 2,100 pounds of food each year.

To reach their conclusion, the researchers left hot dogs, cookies, and potato chips in New York City streets and parks. Some were placed in cages, so only insects could reach them, while other food was left in the open, available to rats and pigeons.

The researchers found that the bugs ate as much as three times more food in street medians than they did in parks. And the bugs ate 32 percent of the caged food, while animals, including rats and pigeons in addition to the bugs, ate 80 percent of the non-caged food.

While you might not think twice about what creatures are eating your litter, it matters: Fast Company notes that the ants are "curbing the population of larger pests, which can carry diseases and are more disruptive in general." At least that half-eaten food's not going to waste, after all.