The insect warfare on ‘The Americans’ isn’t all that outlandish
How realistic is any of this? Well, it’s hardly plucked from thin air.
This season on the spy drama “The Americans,” the Cold War hinges on a few insects.
Just as the shelves in Soviet grocery stores are becoming barren, Russian agents Elizabeth and Philip Jennings (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) stumble onto a terrifying American plot. It looks like the United States is breeding an insect capable of either destroying Russia’s wheat supply or poisoning the wheat the U.S. exports to the Soviets. Either way, it would be a devastating blow to Elizabeth and Philip’s motherland, so the pair get to work thwarting lab experiments (and killing some innocent bystanders along the way).
So how realistic is any of this? It’s hardly plucked from thin air.
University of Wyoming professor Jeffrey Lockwood wrote a book about entomological warfare, “Six-Legged Soldiers: Using Insects as Weapons of War,” and he weighed in on where the story line might have come from.
The U.S. was indeed accused » of entomological warfare during the Cold War — but not by Russia.
“There were a number of accusations made by the Cubans that we had used insects to spread dengue fever and a whole bunch of crop pests,” Lockwood said. But the accusations, which were mainly lobbed during the 1960s every time Cuba had an issue with its crops, were never proved.
Keri Russell as Russian spy Elizabeth Jennings on the FX series “The Americans.”