Mmmmmmm! What’s for dinner mum? (ARTICLES a, am & the)

Fly farming is a mini-livestock industry poised to get big

For years Arnold van Huis has evangelized about the prospect of people around the globe happily and sustainably eating insects for protein. A tropical entomologist at Wageningen University in the Netherlands, van Huis has, among other things, coauthored a landmark United Nations report on the subject—as well as a cookbook.



Remember these simple rules about articles in English:

Frequently Asked Questions – Article Rules

Q.1. What are the cases when the Articles (a, an, the) are not used?

Answer.    The articles ‘a’ and ‘the’ are not used when real nouns, uncountable nouns and plural nouns are talked about.

Q.2. What are the Articles in the English language?

Answer.    An article is a word used to modify a noun. It is used to indicate whether a noun in a sentence is specific or general.

Q.3. How many types of articles are there in English Grammar?

Answer.    There are two types of Articles in English Grammar, definite article i.e. (The) and Indefinite article i.e. (a, an).

Q.4. When is the definite article ‘the’ used in English?

Answer.    Nouns in the English language are preceded by the definite article ‘the’ when the speaker believes that the listener already knows what he (speaker) is referring to.

Q 5. When are the indefinite articles ‘a or an’ used in English?

Answer.    While referring to an unspecified thing or quantity we use the indefinite articles ‘a and an’. The indefinite article is used when the thing that is being talked about is unknown.


Now, Continue Reading About Eating Insects:

Not surprisingly, it’s been a hard sell. In parts of the world, some of the nearly 2,000 known edible insect species are common menu items; yet insect food in the West remains a mostly niche affair.

But don’t write off the idea just yet. Insects are starting to enter the commercial agricultural food chain, albeit indirectly, through animal feed and pet food—a future, incidentally, that van Huis also envisioned. In fact, insect agriculture is a mini-livestock industry that could get big.

Shoppers can now buy fly-fed farmed trout in French supermarkets, eggs from fly-fed chickens in the Netherlands, and premium pet foods made with crickets in Chicago or with flies in Canada, the United Kingdom, and Europe. Industrial-scale insect farms are starting to dot the globe, with big feed and pet-food players such as Cargill, Skretting, Bühler, and Purina getting into the game.

The idea is to start taking pressure off existing protein commodities—soy, fishmeal, and meat—in producing feed and pet food. These commodities carry big environmental footprints and face increasingly uncertain supply chains as natural resources are stretched thin in a changing climate.

Crickets, mealworms, and other insects are commercially farmed. But the mini-livestock of choice for many of the biggest industrial insect operations around the globe is the black soldier fly (not to be confused with the common housefly). Why? In nature, fast-growing Hermetia illucens larvae stand out for their ability to gorge on a mind-bending range of organic wastes. The insect is a hyper-efficient nutrient upcycler, capable of creating high-value protein for fish, pigs, chickens, cats, and dogs.

Using back-of-the-envelope math, every 1,000 pounds of waste can produce 200 to 300 pounds of insect biomass, with larvae that are some 40 percent protein and 30 percent fat, says Texas A&M University entomologist Jeffery Tomberlin, who has studied the insect since 1998. The black soldier fly is also the most common insect for which the industry has managed to get regulatory approval for certain feed uses in the United States, Canada, and the European Union. Moreover, insect farmers hope to monetize the fly’s every component through products such as protein meals, nutrient-rich oils, and beneficial frass (poop and exoskeleton) as premium fertilizer. In short, they are eyeing zero-waste potential.

Industrial black soldier fly farming is an indoor affair that uses increasingly sophisticated (and often closely guarded) feedstock mixes, automation, robotics, and other technology for rearing, harvesting, and processing. Larvae are typically grown in vertical crates in a climate-controlled environment. They generally feed on some of the estimated 1.3 billion tons of food that is lost or wasted globally each year.

Shoppers can now buy fly-fed farmed trout in French supermarkets, eggs from fly-fed chickens in the Netherlands, and premium pet foods made with crickets in Chicago or with flies in Canada, the UK, and Europe.

InnovaFeed plans to open in 2020 one of the bigger industrial black soldier fly farms, in Nesle, France. At capacity, the facility could produce 15,000 metric tons of insect protein a year. The French biotech company is building its fly farm next to a plant that converts wheat to starches and sugars in order to seamlessly source wheat byproducts as larvae feed. UK-based AgriProtein likewise is developing a Jurupa Valley, California, operation designed to upcycle as much as 90,000 tons of food waste annually. And Dutch company Protix has a facility in Bergen op Zoom in the Netherlands that processes roughly 70,000 tons of food waste every year. Many of the larger insect companies are now in Europe. But there are big farms in Africa, Asia, and North America, too. And several European companies plan to expand beyond Europe.

In addition to producing animal feed, some industrial insect farmers also see opportunities to make a dent in pet-food meat products. A recent UCLA study pegs cats and dogs as responsible for up to 30 percent of the environmental impact of meat consumption in the US. But it’s the aquaculture industry’s urgent demand for alternatives to soy-based feed and fishmeal that is driving the current insect farming boom. Aquaculture is the world’s fastest-growing food sector, and fish farmers face volatile soy prices and rising fishmeal costs as overharvesting of wild forage fish used in fishmeal takes its toll.

For now, insect protein remains relatively costly, but industry watchers expect prices to drop as production increases.

So, could black soldier fly protein be more sustainable than conventional feed sources? Early research results are guardedly optimistic. Unlike soy production—which has led to deforestation in the tropics—indoor-farmed black soldier fly protein can be grown locally, year-round. The authors of a recent sustainability analysis at a Protix pilot plant in the Netherlands suggest that the black soldier fly may already be a more environmentally viable protein source than soy in places where water and land are scarce. They found that producing one kilogram of black soldier fly meal consumed (and polluted) 93 percent less water than producing one kilogram of soy meal. Another pivotal issue is energy use. Indoor insect farming is energy-intensive—causing some companies to already turn to renewables.

As global demand for farmed fish and meat only continues to grow, many researchers see potential for insect feed to lower the environmental footprint of food production. But that potential largely hinges on what the larvae are fed, says Sergiy Smetana, an environmental scientist at the German Institute of Food Technologies who has analyzed black soldier fly feed impacts. Waste products that are not already used for animal feed or otherwise recovered for re-use have the greatest sustainability prospects, he and others suggest. Looking ahead, industry watchers see the need for more safety research and clearer regulations. Today, a tangle of regulations limits what commercial farms can feed their larvae and what animals can in turn be fed with their products. In the West, black soldier fly protein has been approved most widely as feed for farmed fish.

Van Huis, for his part, is urging researchers to explore the feasibility and safety of using low-value waste—from catering castoffs to manure—to make animal feed from black soldier flies. Tomberlin, who was part of the team that published the black soldier fly genome in 2019, states that in nature, the larvae feed on “pretty much anything decomposing, we still haven’t really found the limits.” Black soldier flies are extremophiles. Researchers have even discovered that they have antimicrobial and pathogen-killing properties. Further research and selective breeding efforts for the mini-livestock may bring about new breakthroughs that pay off for both the insect industry and sustainability. “We’re still just scratching the surface on the capacity of this insect,” Tomberlin says.


  • Would you eat insect products?
  • Have you ever knowingly eaten insects?
  • If Macdonalds offered an insect based BigMac would you try it?


Write 150 words about what you think is the future of insect farming. Do you think this is a viable way to feed a growing population in the future. GRAMMAR:  Please be careful about when to use an article and when not to use an article before a noun.  REMEMBER THESE NOTES:  Articles are used before nouns or noun equivalents and are a type of adjective. The definite article (the) is used before a noun to indicate that the identity of the noun is known to the reader. The indefinite article (a, an) is used before a noun that is general or when its identity is not known.



The very basic rule of the article says that the article ‘the’ is used before a singular or plural noun, which is specific. It indicates a particular thing/s or person/s in case of a common noun. Example: The teacher she spoke to at the exhibition was very rude.

  • Rules of Articles With Examples

    The rules of articles (a, an, the) given below are divided based on the types of articles.

    Article Rules for the definite article ‘The’

    Rule 1 – The very basic rule of the article says that the article ‘the’ is used before a singular or plural noun, which is specific. It indicates a particular thing/s or person/s in case of a common noun.


    The teacher she spoke to at the exhibition was very rude.

    He lost all the money borrowed from the lender.

    Rule 2 – Article ‘The’ is used when the listener knows what the speaker is talking about.


    The mangoes you kept in the refrigerator last night do not taste good.

    Did you complete all the homework?

    Rule3 – ‘The’ is used to generalize the whole class or group.


    The honest are respected.

    The beggars are not always needy.

    Rule 4 – ‘The’ is used for geographical points on the globe.

    Example: The north pole and the south pole can never meet.

    Rule 5 – ‘The’ is used for the nouns that cannot be counted.


    The water in the Pacific ocean is freezing.

    Two robbers stole all the money from the bank.

    Rule 6 – ‘The’ is used with geographical nouns, depending on the size and plurality of the noun. ‘The’ must precede the names of oceans, rivers, group of islands, lakes, mountains, countries with united states or islands, etc.


    The Ganga is a holy river.

    The English Channel is the longest river channel.

    However, ‘the’ must not precede the following

    • Names of continents, like Asia, South America, etc
    • Names of countries, states or streets like Alaska, Bolivia, New town street, etc.
    • Names of Single lakes, mountains, islands or bays, like Chilika Lake, Hudson Bay, etc.
    • Names of languages like Spanish, French, etc.
    • Names of Sports such as basketball, cricket, football, etc.
    • Names of subjects like Economics, Mathematics, History, etc.

    Rule 7 – ‘The’ is mandatorily used for things that are only one of a kind in the universe.


    The Sun and the Moon shine bright in the sky.

    The planet earth looks beautiful from space.

    Rule 8 – ‘The’ does not mean all.


    The books are my favourite (not all the books, just the books talked about)

  • Article Rule for Indefinite Article ‘A’ and ‘An’

    Rule 1 – The article ‘a’ is used before a consonant word or any vowel with a consonant sound.

    Indefinite article examples:

    A man is sitting on the chair.

    She goes to a university in Delhi.

    Similarly, the article ‘an’ is used before the words beginning with a vowel (a, e, i, o, u) or the letter of a consonant word with a vowel sound.

    Indefinite article examples:

    She is an innocent girl.

    He is an honest man.

    Rule 2 – A singular common noun always requires an article ‘a’ or ‘an’, but a plural common noun does not require any article or can have ‘the’ to particularise that noun.


    I saw an elephant. (Refers to a random elephant)

    I saw elephants in a zoo. (No article is required)

    I have seen the elephant again. (Refers to the elephant already seen)

    I have seen the elephants again before leaving the zoo. (Refers particularly to the elephants of the zoo which were seen earlier.)

    Rule 3 – A/An is used to make a Proper noun a common noun. Proper nouns do not take articles but to make them common nouns, a/an is used.


    He thinks he is an Abraham Lincon. (not referring to the actual person but someone like him)

    She is an Indian. (India is a proper noun but ‘Indian’ is a common noun)

    Rule 4 – Indefinite article ‘a’ or ‘an’ is used to refer to numbers sometimes.


    The baby is playing with a doll (one doll)

    I owe him a thousand bucks. (one thousand dollars)

    He drove 120 kilometres in an hour (one hour)

    Aspirants of various government exams can check important topics for English language preparation:

    Check English for Competitive Exams for more relevant topics such as rules for articles, conjunctions, list of synonyms and antonyms, idioms and phrases and more.

    Rule 5 – The indefinite article (a/an) precedes the descriptive adjective


    She is an amazing dancer.

    What a nice Villa!

    Rule 6 – The indefinite article is used with the determiners (few, lot, most)


    There is a little drink in the glass

    I have a few guests coming over

  • When Not to Use an Article

    We do not use any article at all in some cases. The articles ‘a’ and ‘the’ are not used in the following cases:

    1. When Plural Noun is talked about:

    Correct – Girls like pink (the sentence is talking about girls in general)

    Correct – The girls in my hostel like to play kabaddi. (the sentence is specifically talking about girls of the hostel)

    2. When Uncountable nouns are talked about

    Correct – Water Scarcity is a problem. (it is uncountable)

    Correct – The Water scarcity in my locality is a problem. (talking about specific locality)

    Incorrect – There is a water scarcity in my locality. (here again, scarcity is uncountable)

    3. When Real Nouns are talked about, i.e. names of people or places

    Incorrect – I want to visit the Australia.

    Incorrect  – She talks to the Sam for articles.

    1. Sample Questions- Article Rules for English Grammar Section

      The importance of knowing the rules of articles for the English section of various competitive exams can only be understood by knowing the type of questions asked in the examination, based on the same.

      Hence, given below are the samples questions of Articles in the English Language asked in the verbal ability section of various government examinations:

      Directions – Pick out the best-suited article for each sentence.

      Q1. ____ lilies in your backyard are beautiful.

      1. A
      2. The
      3. An
      4. No article

      Answer ( )?

      Q.2. How much ____ snow do you get in winters?

      1. A
      2. An
      3. The
      4. No Article

      Answer ( )?

      Q.3. Where’s ___ axe he just used?

      1. An
      2. A
      3. The
      4. No article

      Answer ( )? 

      Q.4. She ate ___ fruits for lunch.

      1. The
      2. A
      3. An
      4. No article

      Answer ( )?

      Q.5. We saw ___ lions in ___ Safari

      1. The, the
      2. The, A
      3. The, no article
      4. No article, the


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