Edible Insect Sources
I am so thrilled that I am already receiving requests on where to buy edible insects. There are several reputable domestic sources for live bugs, which I have listed here, and others may be found on the web. As you can imagine, currently the demand for food-grade insects is somewhat low, which will naturally affect supply. Clearly, by raising demand, supply will soon follow!
It’s usually best to get live insects when you can — think of them like shrimp: the fresher, the better. You can buy canned bugs at some Asian grocery stores, but the difference is like that between freshly seared tuna steak vs canned tuna fish; you may not get the full experience.
Finding live insect farms is really pretty easy. Just type “live crickets” or “live waxworms,” etc., into Google. Once you decide on a farm, if you’d like to take it a step further, call them up and ask what they feed their stock on. If the answer is satisfactory, order away!
Hotlix: The Original Candy That Bugs
Hotlix is an established purveyor of insect candy: lollipops with scorpions, meal worms, or crickets inside; candied ants; and assorted chocolate-covered bugs. They also sell prepared ’larvets’ and ‘crickettes’, which are toasted and flavored like potato chips. They are often the supplier for restaurants like Typhoon, which serves bugs on the menu. If you call them up, you can order “food-grade” insects like toasted crickets and preserved scorpions. The great thing about Hotlix is that they are the only place in the US that raises and prepares insects specifically for human consumption.
San Diego Wax Worms
When I called San Diego Wax Worms to ask about their rearing practices, the woman on the phone said that her husband “sometimes eats them raw.” That was a big selling point for me (although I don’t recommend eating bugs raw). They have great customer service, good prices, and their wax worms are always very healthy and tasty.
I don’t know what it is about Fluker Farms crickets, but they taste great! Ideally, order 5-week old crickets — larger than that, and their exoskeletons get a little tougher and their flavor slightly more intense. Smaller than that, and they are, well, pretty tiny. (Ultimately, they’re all fine — you’re just getting the snobbery of a bug-ficionado.) The best deal is to order 1000, and to make some room in your freezer. They arrive live in a box at your door. Since they’ve had a day or so to purge, you can just put the box directly into your freezer . Once frozen, collect the crickets and rinse them in a mesh strainer (though Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, author of Creepy Crawly Cuisine, doesn’t recommend rinsing them!).
Southern California Compton-based bug farm. When I called, they said they feed their stock primarily on cactus leaves. Good stuff!
Rainbow says they’ll offer my readers 15% off of any purchase they make. The dicount code is GIRLMEETSBUG and the you’ll see the text “15% Discount to Daniella’s Girl Meets Bug Readers.”
Gillian Spence, the general manager, says, “We too are very excited about using insects for food and the positive effect changing protein sources would have on the planet by reducing the amount of meat we eat.”
Dave Gracer has worked in the field of entomophagy for over a decade, and can provide a range of products and services. SmallStock is currently doing everything it can to expand its inventory of edible insects and related arthropods, and they are ready to ship to you! Email for pricelist: firstname.lastname@example.org
Your source for organic mealworms!
“Unique Specialty Foods, Drinks & Gifts, Edible Insects, Scorpion vodka and more.”
An impressive online store for preserved arthropod species from around the globe. Queen Weaver Ants, Silkworms, Waterbugs, Ant Eggs, Rhino beetles, giant centipede, etc., etc., all at fairly good prices, though they do ship from Thailand.
“Ready to eat bugs and insects – plain, chocolate, fried, seasoned, protein bars, dehydrated. Edible beetles, bugs, insects, worms, ants and scorpions.”
Much of BugGrub’s stock appears to be sourced from (and thus the same as) Thailand Unique, though BugGrub is based in the U. If you live in Europe, they may be a good bet.
“Join the Revolution! Try the first organic energy bar with protein derived from crickets.”
Chapul, based in Utah, USA, was first-to-market with their cricket protein powder-based energy bar. Their bars are currently sold in over 75 stores across the US. I’ve visited their production center personally, and must admit, I was impressed with both the company and the product.
Insect-powder energy bars may be a good choice for you if you want to try eating insects but don’t want to see them. Chapul grinds them into a fine flour, then sifts it before adding it to the bars, so you won’t find any evidence of the original shape of the insect. No legs stuck in your teeth with Chapul!
For more “exotic” bugs
Ken The Bug Guy
For bigger bugs, check out Ken The Bug Guy. I will say that from experience, I now recommend adopting big bugs over eating them – though I recommend eating them over squashing them!
Ken has a great selection of healthy arachnids. The two I bought from him years ago, a Chilean Rose-haired tarantula and a tailless whip scorpion, are still cherished members of my family today. They make much better pets than goldfish, in my opinion.