WEST DOVER – When Jason Cimex first began keeping ticks in his home, his friends and family thought he was going buggy, but now that he has started his own company selling the powdered bugs as organic proteins they are a little more understanding.
“I still don’t really like it,” says Cimex’s mother, “but I get it. I was so glad when I found out there was a reason for the bugs. I don’t eat them myself, but I guess there are a lot of people who do. So good for Jason for tapping into that market.”
Cimex began his business by collecting deer ticks, often luring deer into his yard with acorns and dried corn and then leaping onto them from behind a bush to comb some of the precious insects into a plastic tub. These days he doesn’t need to fling himself onto the local wildlife to increase inventory. Cimex’s house has become a tick breeding ground.
“I still catch as many wild ticks as I can,” Cimex says. “I think we’re killing two birds with one stone, by reducing Lyme disease while creating renewable proteins. But yeah, I don’t rely on the wild ticks as much as I used to.”
According to the product’s website, tick powder can be used in a variety of consumables, from flavoring microbrews to forming tick burgers. The powder is available at several local organic markets, although no restaurants have signed on to use the product despite Cimex’s repeated attempts.
“There’s a stigma for sure,” Cimex said, mashing up some of the bugs by hand for future use. “People think bugs are gross. But honestly, when you think about it, isn’t everything kind of gross? It’s just what you’re used to. Once tick powder becomes commonplace, it won’t be weird at all.”