Bugs you can eat, from A to Z!
(This is a work-in-progress. Please feel free to add to it. Also, Worpress does some funky stuff with formatting this page…)
Agave worm: Also known as the maguey worm, these larvae of either the Hypopta agavis moth or the Aegiale hesperiaris are sometimes included in tequila bottles as proof of authenticity and alcohol content (tequila must be of high enough proof to preserve the worm). In Mexico, they are also eaten as part of a meal, and are highly nutritious. (Image via Ianchadwick.com)
Ant: there are several varieties of ants that are eaten: Carpenter ants, leaf-cutter ants, honeypot ants, and even lemon ants.
Honeypot ants have abdomens swollen with a nectar-like substance, which is used to feed other ants, sort of like a “living larder.” An excellent “bush food,” they are dug up from the ground and eaten raw by aboriginal peoples in Australia. (Image via Thinkquest.org)
Leafcutter ants, also known as Hormigas Culonas in Spanish (which means big-butted ant) are eaten mainly in South America. They are said to taste like a cross between bacon and pistachio, and are usually eaten toasted. In Colombia, they are sold like popcorn at movie theaters. (image via Bugman on http://www.whatsthatbug.com)
Lemon ants are found in the Amazon jungle and are said to taste like just that: lemons. (Image via http://www.learnsomethingnewtoday.us)
Bamboo worm: Often eaten fried in Thailand, they are the larvae of the Grass Moth, and eat their way through bamboo before metamorphosing. (Image via Changmai News)
Bee: Bee larvae, especially, are prized in many cultures as tasty morsels. Think about it, all they eat is royal jelly, pollen, and honey! The larvae, when sauteed in butter, taste much like mushroomy bacon. Adult bees may also be eaten, often roasted (roast bee!) and then ground into a nutritious flour. In China, ground bees are used as a remedy for a sore throat. (Image via www.weirdmeat.com)
Centipede: Most often found as a street food in China. (Image via biscuitswithhoney.blogspot.com)
Cicada: Periodical cicadas, primarily found in the Eastern US, live underground for 17 years before emerging and molting into adults. Just after they molt, they have soft, juicy bodies, and are said to be very tender and delicious. Different species of cicada are also eaten in many Asian countries, such as Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia. (Image via huntingboots.com)
Cockroach: Yes, you can eat cockroaches! Just not the ones you find around your house. Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches can actually be very clean and tasty insects, especially if they are fed on fresh fruits and vegetables. They can be eaten toasted, fried, sauteed, or boiled. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have a taste and texture like greasy chicken. (Image via Shoichi Uchiyama.)
Cricket: eaten fried, sauteed, boiled, and roasted, these are amongst the most common insects eaten. Eaten in Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia.
Dung Beetle: despite the strange-sounding name, dung beetles, often eaten fried, are quite tasty.
Fly pupae: the fatty acid pattern of house fly pupae (Musca domestica L.) has been found to be similar to that of some fish oils. Shaped like small red pills, the “flavor is rich with a hint of iron, sort of like blood pudding,” says David Gracer of Small Stock Foods. (image via http://www.smallstockfoods.com)
Flying Ant: Also known as Sompopos, the flying queens are collected in Guatemala and roasted on a comal with salt and lime juice. They are said to taste something like buttery pork rinds. Because of their territorial nature, flying ant queens are sometimes pitted against each other, cock-fight style. (image via antiguadailyphoto.com)
Grasshopper: in Mexico, these are eaten roasted with chile and lime, and are known as chapulines. They are high in protein and calcium. (image via FoodGal.com)
Hornworm: David George Gordon, author of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, says that Tomato Hornworms can be fried up much the same as the fruit of the plant on which they feed. They taste a bit like green tomatoes, shrimp, and crab.
Jumiles: also known as stink bugs. High in B vitamins, these are said to taste either bitter or like cinnamon, and may have tranquilizing and analgesic properties. Apparently, they can survive the cooking process, and thus are often eaten alive. The yearly Jumile Festival involves the eating of thousands of jumiles, and the crowning of a Jumile Queen.
June bug: June bugs (Phyllophaga) can be eaten at both the larval and adult stage. Native Americans roasted them over coals and ate them like popcorn. (Image via slice.seriouseats.com)
Locust: the locust is one of the few insects condoned by the bible. Leviticus 11:22: Even these of them ye may eat: the locust after its kind, and the bald locust after its kind, and the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind. (image via blogjam.com)
Louse: ‘“I have seen the Cheyennes, Snakes, Utes, etc., eat vermin off eachother by the fistful,” wrote the nineteenth-century chronicler Father Pierre-Jean de Smet. “Often great chiefs would pull off their shirtsin my presence without ceremony, and while they chatted, would amuse themselves with carrying on this branch of the chase in the seams. As fast as they dislodged the game, they crunched it with as much relish as more civilised mouths crack almonds and hazel-nuts or the claws of crabs and crayfishes.” — excerpt from The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook by David George Gordon. (Image via Entnemdept.ufl.edu)
Mopane worm: largely eaten in Southern Africa, during their season, mopane worms can fetch a higher market price than beef. When dried, they are said to taste like an earthy jerky. (Image via SmallStockFoods.com)
Mealworm: Mealworms are found wherever there is, well, meal! They are the larva of the mealworm beetle. They are often prepared boiled, sauteed, roasted, or fried, and taste like a nutty shrimp.
Midge fly: in East Africa, these are pressed into solid blocks and cooked into Kunga Cake. (Image via Haraprasan)
Nsenene: This tasty grasshopper is a Ugandan delicacy. Usually prepared fried. David Gracer suggests that they taste like “a cross between chicken, shrimp, and croutons.” (Image via shout-africa.com)
Pill-bug: AKA sowbugs, roly-polies, woodlice, these are actually terrestrial crustaceans, closely related to lobsters, crab and shrimp. When boiled, they are said to turn red. (image via PestMall.com)
Sago grubs: the larvae of the Palm Weevil. Sago Delight, or fried Sago grubs, is a specialty in Malaysia and Indonesia. In Borneo and Papua New Guinea, they are often cooked in Sago flour, and wrapped in a Sago leaf like a tamale. They are said to taste somewhat like bacon, and are an essential source of fat. (Image via Deliciouslytasteless.com)
Silk worm: A popular dish in Korea, these are known as Bon Daegi, and are an edible byproduct of the silk-harvesting process. Image via TLC.com)
Scorpion: Often found skewered and fried in Thailand and China. Scorpions tend to have a flavor like soft-shell crab. (Image via Traveljournls.net)
Tarantula: Primarily popular as a food in Cambodia, tarantulas are high in protein, and are believed to help boost virility. They taste somewhat like an earthy crab. (Image via blog.asiantown.net)
Termite: Termites are often eaten raw straight out of the mound in places like Kenya. (Image via nationalzoo.si.edu)
Wasp: Wasps are eaten in both adult and larval stages. Boiled, sauteed, roasted and fried, they taste somewhat buttery and earthy. Emperor Hirohito of Japan favored boiled wasps with rice. (Image via yeinjee.com)
Walking stick: Eaten in Asia and Papua New Guinea, Walking Sticks taste somewhat leafy. Their legs can be used as fish hooks, says Aaron Dossey of All Things Bugs. (Image via annonces-gratuites.index-net.org)
Water Bug: AKA Toebiter, the giant water bug is popular in Thai cuisine, both c0nsumed whole (steamed or fried), and as an extract in sauces. Raw, the bugs have a scent like a green apple. Steamed, their flesh (plentiful enough to make small filets), tastes like a briny, perfumy banana/melon, with the consistency of fish. (Image via foxnews.com)
Waxworm: The larvae of the wax moth, in the wild wax worms are a parasite of bee hives. In captivity, they are fed on a diet of bran and honey. Roasted or sauteed, they taste like a cross between a pine nut and an enoki mushroom, and are high in essential fatty acids. (Image via Songbirdgarden.com)
Wichetty grub: Eaten by Aborigines in Australia, often roasted in coals or over a fire, wichetty grubs are high in protein and fat. According to Peter Menzel in Man Eating Bugs, “Witchetty grub tastes like nut-flavored scrambled eggs and mild mozzarella, wrapped in a phyllo dough pastry.” (Image via alwaysfoodie.com)
Zaza-mushi: “Zaza-mushi — zaza, the sound of rushing river water, and mushi, insect — are the larvae of aquatic caddis flies.” – Man Eating Bugs. Zaza-mushi are boiled then sauteed in soy sauce and sugar in Japan. (Image via loneleeplanet.com)
This is so exciting! I am really motivated to find edible insects and see for myself if they taste good enough to make a dietary change. I can’t wait to see your next video :))
Thanks for this! The flying ants that you mention in Guatemala, I think are the same as the ones we call “chicatanas” in Mexico. I helped collect them once. It was so much fun. Do you know where to get buys to cook in other countries? I live in Mexico
The periodical cicada are fantastic when they emerge, and very easy to capture. They reminded me very much of soft shell crabs.
Can’t wait until 2025 when they hatch again! 😀
Cicadas sound tasty, but I would be sad to eat one after it spent 17 years underground, only to emerge and be eaten.
Well they only live for a month above land to breed them die
I’ve been looking for a list of edible insects in the U.S. southeast as dietary supplements for the increasing failures of our food production networks that are causing serious injury and death to Americans. I think you’re doing a fantastic job and encourage you to keep it up. I’ve eaten fried grub worms in Guatemala, some meal worms and crickets here at home, but I haven’t been able to catch a locust yet ! (LOL) ! But anyway, keep fryin’ ’em !
I’m working on native N. American edible insects. Check out our stuff at the Missouri Entomophagy group at Facebook.
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hi i really like your work, keep it up!
on the other hand i have a question for you.
are stink bugs eatable? (halyomorpha halys)
Good Question!! – are halyomorpha halys edible??
Yes, stink bugs aka conifer bugs are edible. See the above example on conifer insects.
Western conifer seed bugs are sometimes mistakenly identified as stink bugs due to the unpleasant aroma they emit when disturbed.
yes (probably late, but I’m just now seeing the question)
I see scorpions listed but no details. Are they eatable? Do you remove the stinger? I’ve seen the chickens eat them and the army ants here in Costa Rica devour them.
I ate a black scorpion in Thailand. The stinger was removed by the vendor (just the very last section has poison). The abdomen was a little gross. It tasted good but the texture was like mashed potatoes. The legs and claws were delicious!
Soon i’m going to start eating bugs since most of the meats in USA are made with nasty antibiotics and hormones and i cant grow pigs,cattle or any other farm animals in my neighborhood is its better to eat some insects or guinea pigs that are small and manageable. Looking forward to read some farming tips for insects.
Love and equality for all.
I think I may starting eating the little grasshoppers that are eating most of my veges. They are small (2cm) and bright green, with stripey legs. Do I just stir fry them whole?
I find that grasshoppers are quite nice stir fried in butter or sunflower oil, with a pinch of salt and maybe some chili.
Oh and remember to remove the back legs, they can have little thorns and get stuck in your throat like a chicken bone.
If you’re not already, you need to join us over at Missouri Entomophagy 🙂 I don’t bother removing legs, heads or wings. Chew thoroughly! AND, grasshopper drumsticks are choice! Nip off the fat end, then squeeze the slab of meat out between your teeth, or with a spoon. It’s a chunk from B.B to even pea-sized and very shrimp-like.
It would be fantasic and realy handy to have a list of these bugs with pictures and maybe a some descritions compiled in a small set of flash cards or a pocket book for camping, or just on the go meal!
Love the site!
The cicada, sometimes locally called a “Katydid”, is actually quite large as an adult. You don’t have to wait every 17 years to find one however as they don’t all go underground at the same time. There easy to find in the summer months because they leave large brown shells from molting on walls, trees, doors (most any vertical surface). I can’t wait catch a few and try them this summer!
Actually a katydid is a relative of the grasshopper, and not at all related to the cicada. two separate species, here’s some help… http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tettigoniidae
Katydid’s aren’t the same as cicada’s. Katydid is a name for bush crickits, they look like grasshoppers but with longer skinnier legs and bigger wings sometimes. both are edible though
All species of cicada don’t have that 17 yr cycle. Some have 17, some 13, some 2 or 3 and less. Catch ’em at night by flashlight as they’re climbing up stuff to do their last molt.
Fantastic site you’ve got here!
It would be great to see a breeding guide for all these bugs it’s the only real way to garauntee the absolute best quality food I think. Youtube can be ok, there are multiple guides for mealworms and waxworms etc for example.
I’m trying to come up with a way to breed house flies as they multiply like nothing else and their pupae are supposed to be very highly nutritious.
I thought house flyes we not hygienic as well as the hous roaches.
I like some stuff I’d read about house flies –their bodies are such that they filter out a good deal of the potentially harmful pathogens. Then, any insect should be cooked, killing just about anything that’s left. I’ve not eaten house or meat flies (on purpose), but a time may come. Roaches are as clean as any bugs, providing you don’t collect them off tenement dumpsters or other nasty environments. I collect mine off my woodland trees at night, by flashlight. –cool name, by the way
Thank you so much for taking the time to compile this list. As homeschoolers, my son and I are having a lot of fun exploring science together through edible weeds and bugs. We like the malva weed (www.squidoo.com/malva) so much we freeze and dehydrate some each year.
Now we are exploring bugs and found “Man Eating Bugs: The Art and Science of Eating Insects” by Peter Menzel and Faith D’Alusio to be an excellent resource with lots of photos and recipes.
Last summer, I encountered hornworms on tomato plants that were as big as my ring finger! Now that I know they are edible. I am gonna try them. For a good story and illustration on how to prepare them: google “Society for Culinary Arts + hornworms.”.
Currently, I am looking for bugs and weeds that would make a good-tasting bread flour. I think that will be the easiest way to encourage most of my friends and their children to give these foods a try.
I’d suggest ground dried mealworms as an additive to the flour. Ground crickets would work too–and grinding them makes them more digestible (the chitin otherwise tends to pass through the digestive tract unless it is ground.)
Baked, ground dandelion root, or cattail root are possibles, (Cattail stalk crunches like celery, and the taste is kind of peppery.)
I would NOT tell them in advance, and provide both regular and adulterated bread to see if they can tell the difference. Children generally need to be presented with a new food up to 20 times before they will try it (of course, toddlers will put anything that fits into their mouths,,,,)
I dehydrated a bunch of musk melon and water melon one year because I had extra and wanted to see how it worked. The result is incredibly sweet, and I served strips of the orange and red stuff to my daughter’s birthday party (Halloween) telling them that it was ‘dried human flesh’ and not a single kid would even taste it….
Note that a lot of kids are shocked by the idea that things growing outside can be eaten! My daughter was appalled the first time I found wild black raspberries and showed her while harvesting and eating them.
Many kids seem to have no idea where food comes from–I expect that this is true of many parents too!
Given the substantial amounts of insects eaten along with ordinary foods, it’s surprising how detestable most people in the West think that insects are to eat. Look at snails, in most US restaurants, they seem to feel that the purpose of butter & garlic is to hide the flavor of the snail rather than enhance it.
thanks for thus
I think you do have to tell people in advanced if you are serving them cricket powder since people who are allergic to shellfish might be also allergic to crickets or other insects. If you know for sure they don’t have a shellfish allergy I suppose it would be O.K.
Hi folks, I love eating bugs, such as crickets, grubs, mealworms, and any other edible bug. Bugs are full of protein and tasty. I gross alot of my friends out, but I eat alot of strange foods that most people wouldn’t dare eating. So next time you lift up a log and find a grub or earthworm, eat it, someday your survival might depend on it.
I think a big reason why we poison and destroy our environment is because we have detached from nature in such a way that we call completely useful plants “weeds” – such as many medicinal herbs that grow wild in our gardens, and even dandelions whose roots and leaves are absolutely delicious – and think that bugs are “gross”, even though so many of them are delicious if prepared right (or some even raw), bugs, that were probably the first and most common meat humans ate, as well as being considered regular food by 80 percent of the world population, plus the health and economic benefits there are with them… Western culture is so crazy I don’t know what to say. I hope we can eventually learn, in the same way as Simba did from Timon and Pumbaa, or Mowgli from Baloo.
Anyone have a somewhat comprehensive list of known edible ant species?
Anyone try carpenter ants for instance?
Haven’t found one either…post it here if you find one.
Looking for recipes….
Try searching for poisonous ants instead, since most ant species are edible it’s easier to make a list of which ones to avoid. Maricopa harvester ant, for example, is really poisonous, and fire ants are quite nasty to be stung by, but I do not know if the poison becomes neutralized through cooking? Anyway, the venom in common ants is usually harmless and also adds a nice, sour, vinegar-like flavor.
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Wow I found a group of crazies!, Ok like me I must add. For you survivalist types, have you tried eating weeds. Also good to have a familiarization with these readily available food sources.
Understanding that insects were a staple for our earlier ancestors, I wanted a list of today’s insects which could be decent edibles for today’s modern man…thanks
I was looking at the FDA contaminate sheet and realized that there was no definition for “insect parts.”
So I called and was told “There isn’t one. It’s up to the inspector.”
So the amount of insect material in the food you eat is basically uncontrolled so long as the inspector doesn’t know/care….
So how about food that IS insects?
So, to be honest, you can figure out what percentage of your product are insects, and list them under the ingredients, and no longer be inspected….
The government allows itself to redefine common words when used in law.
Thus, a “fresh” turkey is one which hasn’t been frozen below 0F
I defy anyone to tell the difference between that and “frozen” turkey once they are both at 0F….
Oh, and those regs on insect parts & rodent hairs & various turds?
They’re aesthetic only. No health risk according to the FDA.
Omnivores. They’ll eat ANYTHING!
My best guess for ‘safe’ insects is o stay away from the brightly colored ones–which are usually advertising bad taste or death. And cook them. Microorganisms represent a larger threat than whatever toxins are in the insects…though like all new foods, try a small quantity and wait for at least 72 hours before deciding if it had adverse effects.
(Interesting that the insects most beautiful to us are advertising bad taste….)
Stinkbugs, annual cicada, hackberry butterfly larvae, giant waterbug, mayflies, tent caterpillars are a few more tried and testeds. Darkling beetles (adult mealworms) are tried and tested, too, HOWEVER, there’s some conflicting claims on their edibility.
Hey, I am looking to start breeding mealworms but don’t want the breeding beetles to go to waste. Can you tell me how they taste and how you prepared them? why is their edibility in question? thanks a bunch!
Sorry for the delay in response! I read somewhere, and I don’t remember where, that darkling beetles (adult mealworms) contain some chemical that might not be so good for ingestion. I want to find that source, so I can see just what sort of chemical it is. Sorry. I don’t remember. Other sources say they don’t know why darkling beetles (Tenebrio molitor) wouldn’t be OK to eat. BUT! The ones I did eat/prepare, amounted to nearly 2 cups-worth of ground cookie additive. I guess the flavor would be most-closely compared to adding a subtle roasted nut flavor to the cookies. I ate lots of the cookies, and unknowingly served them to many people who’d often come back for seconds and thirds. We didn’t note any ill effects.
The name of the country is spelled ColOmbia, not ColUmbia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colombia
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OK, so I live in a wacky community of people in Colorado on a lot of land. And we have a grasshopper infestation this year of biblical proportions. And I got it into my mind to push the collective envelope by cooking up a big Grasshopper Gumbo for an upcoming community meal.
Yeah, it’s that kind of place. 🙂
I’m basically going to substitute grasshopper for some of the shrimp in this recipe: http://tinyurl.com/4ygxkws
My question is how to prep the shrimp? After de-legging and winging them, Should I just throw them in the stew and let them simmer for 30-45 minutes? Or sautee them in butter first? Would like them to be not too crunchy if possible.
Thanks for the help!
Wow, what a great-sounding community. I wish I could attend that meal!
Here are two recommendations:
1. Watch this video of how they prep and eat grasshoppers in Laos: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n6jfcHwT5_w&feature=player_embedded#at=312
2.Check out Zack Lemann’s Grasshopper Gumbo recipe (it’s delicious!): http://www.faculty.de.gcsu.edu/~cbader/ghprecwithinsects.html
Best of luck to you!
Oh maaaannn! I missed it! I’d been hearing about the infestation for the western states and kept hoping Missouri would be among them. I collected maybe 5 cups-worth all season! Boil in favored seasoning, then lightly oil them and bake at 250 for about 2 hours. Mine didn’t get quite crisp enough that way, so I threw ’em in a dehydrator overnight, and they got nice and light/crispy. I did June bugs in mulberry sauce, and Japanese beetles in my hot fish and rice sauce that way. They turned out great!
D-oh! Not how to prep the shrimp, how to prep the grasshoppers, natch!
I keep looking for info online if mayflies can be eaten raw. I know they are edible, but does anyone know if they can carry parasites that can transfer to humans and should therefor be cooked for safety? I just collected a decent amount, but I’m afraid that they will diminish to next to nothing if I cook them.
Waaay late on this one. I’ve eaten many a raw Mayfly and will probably eat ’em again. To cook fragile bugs, try cooking spray and baking, rather than the rougher boiling or frying.
I have eaten several types of insects, just about threw my grandson into barfville. I told him, there may come a point in when we all will eat bugs. Meat prices are out of line and only getting worse, besides it is gross to eat! Because I have several health problems, it is important I get high protien, low fat foods, this might be the answer!
Ha! You’d think a kid would be proud of a bug-eating grandma!
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Great article with me being unemployed I now have the option to go to my backyard and dine on some fine bug cuisine. I think I will have rice and a side of waterbugs, since I find so many in my garage.
Daniella, how do we add to your list, such as annual cicadas are just as edible and lots bigger, though not hatching in such bulk as the periodicals.
Hi Paul, sorry for the late reply! Have been a busy bee. In order to add to the list, if possible please email a photo with a short blurb (as above) with your name and photo credit (as above). When I have time, I’ll add it in to the list, crediting you of course!
Wow, Cool list, never knew there were soo many edible bugs out there.
P.s. I think you picture is depicting centipedes on skewers, not millipedes. Happy munching!
Right you are! I changed it. 🙂
I grew up in Australia, so I’m used to idea of people eating honey ants and witchetty grubs. I’ve travelled a lot, and lived in Asia.
And I still say “Bleuuuch”. You eat all the bugs you want to. I’ll stick to MacDonalds, like nature intended.
Wow, McDonalds? I don’t even consider McDonalds food. You need to watch the documentary Super-Size Me.
I’ve never eaten insects knowingly (yet!), but I have to say, they sound much more attractive than McDonalds as a food source to me.
Same here, Dave. I stopped eating McDonalds years ago.
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I’ve had pondegi (silkworm grubs) in Korea; they weren’t to my taste, but anyone curious can easily find them canned in Asian (or at least Korean) markets. In one awesome Chinese market in San Jose CA, I saw massive bags of frozen grubs, but I’m not certain what they were.
Oh, please tell me/us which market! It’s likely they were also bon daegi, actually – the fresher, frozen version, much like frozen shrimp or the like. I’m with you, though, they aren’t my favorite either. However, in the past my opinions have been changed with the right preparation…
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Well…don’t know about you Ozzies, but the regulations on insects & pieces & fragments in the USA for food products are ‘esthetic only’ rules, and there is no definition of ‘insect fragments’ other than “It’s up to the individual inspector.”
Any processed food, including McD’s ‘food-like substances,’ and nearly 100% of raw foods, contain a substantial portion of insects….
Enjoy your ‘Big Mac’….
Well, I’ve heard that the early mammals were insectivores. I guess we could return to our ancestral ways if we had to.
love chilli crickets & mexican escamoles… this ones are like larvae of ants and taste great sautee in butter with onions– was a prehispanic royal meal!
in addition I go 4 the cause for future foods like chia seed and soy.
just now considering eating bugs to survive,dont think i can eat anything to do with a fly though.
I wish this was the menu at a restaurant that I owned.
So! whet else would you put on the menu?
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I don’t see why marmorated stink bugs wouldn’t be edible. I eat the green and brown ones so common in my area. Marmorateds might be more aromatic and stronger flavored, from what I’ve read. Cooking reduces the scent, as well as making the flavor less chemical. Eating them live tends to motivate them to employ all their defenses, making them QUITE flavorful.
If you’re already eating them, they’re edible.
Very few things are truly inedible to humans compared with those which we omnivoures can and will eat.
This is forecast to be a poor crop season world-wide, we may all be eating insects due to a lack of options soon….
Honey bee is most benefit for humans.
Crickets, katydids and June beetles have a nice flavor, and curly dock seeds and foxtail grass seeds should grind up nicely for flour.
catail, corn & other pollens make good flour…but you’ll need to add levening…chocolate sweet ground bug, pollen, & seed cookies using baking powder! Chocolate hides color differences well. Also, choc chips in or on top, or dried fruits, nuts…
Adter they like them, teach them to make them…then ask the to think of things to add or put on top like: whole dried bugs mixed in or a bug stuck on top of each one…
have to fiddle for a recipes after checking the internet for recipies using pollen & seeds as flour.
WARNING! Naming them is important…I dried strips of cantelope & other melons and presented them to my 12 yo girl’s Halloween party, but they refused to try them after I introduced them as ‘dried people strips’ even after I explained and ate several (way…sweet!) If even one had tasted them, they’d of eaten them all…I know better now.
Even with adults, where we’ve used flour w/ weevils for cinnimon buns after people devoured them and loved them, they’d stop when told there were insects…sugh, cultural conditioning.
On the other hand, 2 & 3 yo kids will put anything tht fits in their mouths–they’d continue eat bugs except that insted of teaching them which bugs and specifics about things like removing sharp bits. If they’ve been eating the stuff all along & liking it, the gross-out factor is gone.
Since there are, in fact, insects in every bakery product they eat already, all you’re really doing is being up front about it, and increasing the quantity! Everyone eats insects every day w/o knowing it….
Introduction to their friends is importaasnt too, as their friends will probably have been trained not to eat bugs. Parents can be dealt with by quoting the FDA regs, and what child won’t dare their parents to try something the kid likes!
this is sick>>>>>>>>NASTY BUGS
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Are Tent Caterpillars edible?
Yes, but “edible” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”. I tried a few times and was never successful scorching off the hairs. Bagworms, hard as they are to extract from their cases, are quite good!
the picture placed for nsenene actually shows centipedes although the correct photo of nsenene is placed lower down this can be confusing to a reader who has never seen nsenene kindly make the correction and edit the photos
cathy – good eye! Edited.
Tonight there was a big grasshopper that got into in my kitchen. I have read a lot and seen plenty of videos about edible insects, and was curious to see how it tasted, so I grabbed it, put it in a ziploc bag in the freezer for a half hour, then fried it in olive oil and sprinkled some salt. I removed the end of the legs and the wings, and got to say it was very tasty – nice and crispy! Wish I had a few dozen more! The only problem was that the moisture in it made the grease splatter.
Centipedes in general: Are they edible?
When you fix grasshoppers or crickets, don’t forget their drumsticks! I usually boil before I cook them again for serving. Right after boiling, take the drumsticks and bit the tip off the thick end of the hind jumping leg and squeeze the meat out with your teeth. There’s a fairly sizable chunk there, and it’s pretty tasty.
I thought this article was fairly interesting, wouldn’t mind trying a grasshopper or two
I have eaten grubs in hard woods,raw just bight the hard head of and eat the inside mush>tasted like a sweet corn.When eating grasshoppers tear the head off, it will come out wit all the guts that may harbor parasites.
>that brings me to the questions.They all may be edible, but what cautions one have to take to not get sick?
Yes, as I’ve mentioned several times on this blog, it is always safest to cook your meat (esp. if it is bushmeat, like your wild-caught grubs and grasshoppers). Insects, like other animals, can indeed harbor the unexpected. This is why, for hundreds of years, man has cooked his bugs: roasted them over a fire or in coals, boiled and then sun-dried, etc. I recommend boiling, sauteeing until firm, or baking until crunchy. Best of bug luck to you!
“Is _____ edible?”
You are an omnivore. You can eat nearly anything if yuou can fit it intoour digestive system.
There are a number of things which may require pre-treatment for safety–though far more require it for palatability or efficiency in extraction of nutrients.
The most common pre-treatment is cooking, which breaks down many larger toxins, and which enables nutrients to be more easily extracted.
Generally, venomous species should have venom removed before consumption (though many venoms are dangerous only when input directly into the bloodstream, being neutralized by the acid then alkaline treatment of the stomach and small intestine.
AOf course, ANY normally edible material can contain toxins or disease organisms which are not normally found there.
Many toxins are not particularly harmful in small doses, though they may alter your reality experience (remember, reality is in your brain.) For instance, bamboo caterpillars are perfectly edible…but hallucinogenic if you fail to remover their guts.
Rye ergot in small amounts is not dangerous, but again, can vastly change your reality–which may or may not be dangerous.
At one point or another, humans have attempted to eat nearly all life forms we know of–if only out of extreme need for nutrition.
Safety is also variable dependent upon the individual, their environment, their ancestry and many other factors–and such things are not frozen.
You can develop an allergic reaction to anything–even things you’ve consumed all of your life. By the same token, such reactions may diminish or fluctuate over time (as a child I was unable to drindk cow’s milk, and drank soy milk, by the time I can remember (around 4,) This was no longer the case, and for many years I could and did drink as much as a gallon a day with no problems (except my mother’s internal wince of anticipation when she saw me.)
With insects, it’s a good precaution to remove things like legs and pointy hard portions, as they seldom contain much nutrition, and can be physically dangerous. Removing guts and venom sacs will avoid many problems with disease, parasites and toxins.
Note that taste is not a reliable indicator! One of the latest mushroom poisoning victims in the past decade stated before dying that “they were the best tasting mushrooms,’ he’d ever had.
The easiest way to determine potential edibility is to research and see if there are any past or present humans who devour the item. Anthropology departments are good sources for this information.
A great many other mammals diets include substantial amounts of insects, bears, cats, dogs and other small carnivorous or omnivorous animals are opportunistic eaters, and will grab the odd bug if available, others search them out. None have precisely the same biology as ourselves, so any other species is only a semi-reliable indicator of toxicity.
My advice regarding untried specimens is to do research, if possible by library or other humans, if not, find yourself a ‘Little Mikey’ who will eat ANYTHING, and monitor his health for several days. (food poisoning in general often takes 24-72 hours, and can, in some cases, take much longer. Always start with small quantities and long monitoring periods. Even things which are safe, may not be safe in large amounts.
And remember, it may be o.k. for ‘Little Mickey,’ and not for you!
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Last i heard you need to roast/ cook grasshoopers. Do not eat raw.
Like most things, preparation is optional, though everything from safety to flavor and texture are affected.
One reason turkey was poorly accepted in Japan for decades was that raw turkey has even less flavor than roasted turkey.
There are a great many different ways to prepare any food–raw has always been an option, although we have been cooking, pickling, smoking, drying and such for thousands of years.
While raw grasshoppers are not recommended, the more important thing for such exoskeleton critters is the removal of sharp pointy exoskeleton bits like legs, which can and will cause physical distress.
Please note that while raw is a possible form, it is seldom the recommended form to eat anything. Sushi is not particularly safe either, like most critters, fish carry parasites both visible and invisible, most of which are rendered much safer through some form of cooking. Even fruits and vegetables should have their outer skins removed or cleaned before eating.
But there’s no reason that insets can’t be prepare safely by acid treatment (marinaded in citric juices or vinegar,) smoked, dried, deep-fried, roasted or prepared in any of a number of different methods.
I’m not eager to to try the half-gestated duck eggs foisted upon foreigners and drunks in Singapore, but so far as I know they aren’t particularly dangerous to eat, despite their lack of preparation.
No matter what you you eat, or where you eat it, or how carefully it has been prepared, you are almost certain to consume live microorganisms, insects, hairs, scales, molds, mildews, yeasts, fecal matter, dirt, sand, toxins and metal particles along with your food. For the most part, these are consumed in small enough quantities that your digestive and immune system can easily deal with the threats they represent, and most of us can go our entire life unaware of the variety and quantities we consume.
If truly concerned about health safety issues, you should never walk barefoot or travel in cities wearing flip-flops, as they will expose your feet to injury and infection….eating food from street vendors is also statistically quite dangerous…but none of these things are very likely to result in you even getting ill, even if you have a compromised immune system. Merely associating with large numbers of people can be dangerous—but so can avoiding these things, and not eating at all is definitely fatal.
No matter how good our medicine gets, you will die–you cannot avoid it, and you can only spend so much energy staying safe before the effort of doing so leads to your death.
Try grasshoppers sauteed in sesame seed oil…..
You will never find a boyfriend.
You mean besides my existing boyfriend, who helps me invent and test bug recipes? 😉
You have a loved one who does that for you? 😀 That’s amazing. I wouldn’t be surprised if you two are married by now. 😉
I live in Asia, in Cambodia, and I taste some of them.. my favorite is silkworm. But I eat like starter not like main dishes. hi hi hi
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Thank you so much for this list! If/When “teotwawki” or the shtf, it’s nice to know there are alternatives to our traditional western diet. 😀
Just an awesome site! Love it! I love trying new things, but wonder if anyone would really eat the American Cockroach – those have such an off-putting odor. I ate some of their fecal pellets and chewed into one by accident and could not imagine ever willingly putting them in my mouth.
dang no flies??????
Lots of edible flies!
Are corn earworms edible? They’re always plentiful in sweet corn.
I believe so, though I’ve yet to try one. Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, in Creepy Crawly Cuisine, says they taste like corn on the cob! http://books.google.com/books?id=Q7f1LkFz11gC&lpg=PP1&dq=recipes%20insects&pg=PA15#v=onepage&q=recipes%20insects&f=false
Edit: Ok, now I’ve tried them. She’s right! They taste like slightly raw corn.
Yes, of course, I forget my source, but some native Americans even considered it a special bonus to get worms with the corn.
Wow. Kinda speechless.I am from nigeria in west africa, and trust me our dishes are mostly leafy not insects,so all these things look very strange and some unthinkable. I would call this my 11th wonder of the world.
hey check ou this list http://www.ent.wur.nl/NR/rdonlyres/43E83A3F-F469-4E7E-BDC6-3963DC906A1F/162423/Worldlistofedibleinsectspecies42012.pdf
sorry about the long link.
Here is an updated link and thank you DebDoe for the original.
I’m liking the informative blog Daniella! You must have some cute friends who like bugs too!? Hook a brotha up! 😛
Gee whizz, this sure is swell. Next time I’m about to eat a fruit, a confirmed and internationally accepted nutricious food, I’m gonna toss it and eat an insect, because that makes sense……..nutjob
Actually, it could make sense, depending on what nutrients you were looking for. If you were going for protein, say, or iron, then yes, the insects might be the better option.
But in general, while edible insects are also a “confirmed and internationally accepted nutritious food,” no one is suggesting you should toss your fruit. Those promoting awareness of edible insects seek largely to add to, rather than subtract from our global nutrition options. Why limit ourselves by excluding a logical, historic, nutritious, tasty and sustainable alternative?
I very much agree. 🙂
No need to toss the fruit, you already eat plenty of insects…and thre are probably some in the fruit.
The US AG DEPT rules on insects in food are ‘esthetic’ and the limits on ‘insect parts’ don’t really exist, as that is up to the inspector, which usually means ‘didn’t see m any, it’s clean.’ How visible are ground insect parts in , say, salsa?
I’d looked at raising insects as food additive/flavorings, but found that they’re far more profitable to raise as pharmaceutical precursors, pet food and fish bait…
What I’m searching for is something that will eat fish guts and can in turn be eaten by fish for fish farms. Fish farms feed manufactured food mad from…wild-caught fish, ad the feed is by far the most expensive part of the process. In theory, fish food could be made of offal on the farms, in fact, the process doesn’t scale down well and most arms pass their offal on to pig farms.
Soldier fly grubs! And you can eat the larvae and adults too… I haven’t tried them yet myself although I’ve raised them and they are incredibly simple to raise and quite beneficial…also they are native so there is no risk of releasing “pests”.
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I hope i can taste june bug and also wonder where i can buy them in what season.
June bugs are easy to get yourself. I’ve not heard of any commercial suppliers, but turn on a few lights in your home at night in the springtime and pick ’em off the window screens.
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I was Wondering what type of cricket is edible and where I can purchase them live. I would like to raise my own as an alternative food source. Thanks and God bless.
they’re all edible, you could catch them wild or get some at the local pet store.
June Bugs. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/June_bug
In season, they swarm, and collecting large numbers is not difficult. If truly large numbers are needed, recruit children & pay by volume or mass.
So far as I know, all crickets are edible, the easiest to find are at pet store or on line, and once you have some, raising them is trivial (though they can be annoyingly noisy.)
Be careful when eating anything with sharp points like cricket legs & such.
Bugs can be pureed and incorporated into other dishes as desired.
Cooking is optional, but recommended for all bugs, especially wild-caught.
Bugs, like snails, can be ‘cleaned’ by holding them for a couple days and feeding them clean feed…depending upon what they’ve been eating this can make either no or a large difference.
You can also adjust flavors by feeding flavored feed for awhile just before preparing them for consumption.
Junebugs (and other bugs, too) are excellent marinated in a favorite sauce, then dehydrated ’til crispy. My favorite sauce is sweet, hot and spicy, with an Asian bite. Dehydrated or roasted crispy bugs chew lots more easily than when cooked other ways.
That sounds yummy!
Looks like an earlier comment didn’t post. Here’s a re-attempt: Kingsurvived, I’ve not yet found a cricket that can’t be eaten. I commonly eat field, house, tree and camel/cave crickets. Field and house crickets are easy to find at bait and pet stores, and I catch my own tree crickets from foliage (sweeping with nets) and camel crickets by hand in my basement and back porch. Also, hunt grasshoppers bu flashlight on cool nights. They pick almost as easily as berries.
Daniella, can I post a plug for our Facebook group?
Hey, I have eaten normal black ants before. They taste like pepper. Also mountain ants, as I know them, taste like lemon.
I really like bugs, but eat them?
I’m an Exterminator Yuba City and I have to say that this is the coolest blog article that I have ever came across. It shows how much time you put into this post. I will definitely have to put a link to this post on my site if that’s alright. I just think that my customers would get the biggest kick out of edible insects.
Thanks for the awesome post!
I really like steers, deer, pigs. But I love tenderloin of any of them too:>P
Which is stranger? To like bugs? Or to eat bugs? We’re omnivores. soon as we move, like most lifeforms, we start ticking whatever we run into into our mouths to see if it’s food or not.
Until we are sane in energy harvesting, feed/resources to protein ratio will remain vital in feeding our population. Insects do 1:1 but perhaps bacteria can do better yet. Bugs have the advantage of being a 1 or many cycle system…you can always change the qualities of a protein in exchange for increased energy/resource input.
I haven’t seen any studies, but one would think that feeding grain mixed with larva to poultry would produce a different sort of chicken than grain alone.
Of course, increasingly it seems that what you eat may control your behavior in quite complex fashion…a change in diet, or even a change in the environment producing a food can have behavioral changes in complex mammals–potentially displayed for 7 or more generations after exposure. These later appear to be semi-permanent genome expressions.
Even tiny amounts of specific molecules, on up through parasites you can see naked eyed, can exert tremendous control upon behavior, or even physical characteristics, we are, individually and as a group, in essence, run by a committee of lifeforms ranging from unliving to the Universe itself. All truly is connected…and we are largely ignorant of how those links function, nor how to best use them to maintain the system in a more or less stable balance because it would make things convienent. We’re clever. We’ll figure it out baring major disaster. We cannot be said to have free-will until we understand the mundane physical realities that these mechanisms function. Though perhaps, to understand would be to become one with god and the universe.
We may be unique. Everything we ever were can be destroyed in an eye–blink. But we are life, and we represent chaos out order, and purpose to events.
C’mon out to Facebook’s “Missouri Entomophagy” group https://www.facebook.com/groups/118150804885025/ We talk edible bugs there, too!
I am so glad I found this blog just now!
I have to say first that I have a really hard time with people who say you will never find a boyfriend (and I see you have one – and with brains like yours it’s no surprise!), or that you’re a nutjob, etc. Wow. Really? Insects – why are they any different from, say, shrimp, crabs, etc? They’re “odd looking” too, but I personally think they’re delicious, and people pay plenty to get them from the market all the time. Actually, I have a really hard time with people who say “Ew!” like an obnoxious kid but they’re in fact, a chronological adult. (I hear that a lot when raw fish is talked about, too – “Ew!”) Food choices are very personal – so get over it. I personally think a lot of common, processed “foods” are disgusting – and will not prepare them for my family or eat them myself – but I am not going to squeal “Ew!” like a rude person. It’s your choice, right?
Anyway, excellent article, great info, and great info in the comments section (minus the obnoxious older “children,” of course). My daughter – she’s 9 – is all for our trying some insects. My husband is supportive, although he’s not sure he’ll try them, and that’s OK. I think we’re most interested in trying some of the Mexican-style recipes we’ve seen the most often, although I saw someone mention a preparation using fish sauce and chilies, and that’s a favorite combination at my house, so who knows?!
Thanks so much for the food for thought!
Sounds like your husband is like my wife. She tolerates my entomophagy and says, If things get really bad, I know we won’t starve, but ’til then… The most fun I have with ento-cuisine is at public programs like with our MO Dept of Conservation, Scout groups, public libraries and schools. You might like Our Facebook group, Missouri Entomophagy. We stay pretty active there, too.
Paul, I requested to join Missouri Entomophagy last night, and was very warmly welcomed!
I tried to look up sources for the maguey “worm” last night and can’t find a way to get them sent to me (live). I might try some other work soon, but since I am in Western New York (so, cold and snowy for many months), I may wait until closer to spring time when the shipping weather is a bit more tolerable…
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Nsenene from Uganda is one of the best tasty insect u will ever have tasted some while I was down on a holiday and left me waning more
I was just breaking up some wood for my grandma and found a grub Worm. Little while later what out and found a lago grub bout 5″ long and as big around as my finger. Interesting bug, planning on eating it.
These actually sound very tasty, provided that I could get over my “ick, I’m eating a bug!” fear. I’d probably have to pull the wings off too, it seems like they’d get caught in my teeth.
Don’t worry about the wings, but if you’re squeemish about parts, you might like to break off legs or wing covers.
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Could you tell me any websites where I can buy some bugs? It’s just in the uk people never really eat bugs and I wana try it out!
We’ve got a group member in UK who just ordered some edible insects and was quite pleased with her purchase. I sent you a Facebook message, I think, –if I got the right person. It’s got the link to our ento-group. If you didn’t get the message, get back to me.
Try the local pet store, they often have feeder insects
I ate an ant! it didnt taste to bad. It’s a good start to eating instects. It tasted like a peanut! I was astounded by the phenomenal manifestation of deliciousness!
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Remember that raw isn’t necessrily good.
Google ‘fish bait’ and ‘reptile bird pet food’ to find insects for eating and raising.
Waxworms are particularily easy to raise and to prepare.
With wild insects it might be a good idea to ‘cleanse’ them the way you would snails for a day using known feed.
Cooking is always a good idea, but particularly important for water bugs.
‘AN ant?’ And there was enough to taste….Bigger rather than smaller ant I guess. Avoid live fire ants…. 🙂
Caught a solid 8 oz of pillbugs. Man, they were good! Crunchy as all get outta town(hard to not eat the shell), but were really tasty! Like overly sweet lobster to me. Even steamed em and served em with lemon butter. Got the parents to try a bite, and while grossed out, they loved it!
I just fried an ate a bee that came through the window
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i am liudong
we are insect farmer from china , we can offer you many insects
edible and dried or fried
if you are intested in , pls contact me email@example.com
and also you can order some sample
I am interested in wondering if any of these insects can be eaten raw/uncooked, other than the ones some have said. I’m trying to make up a list of random insects for a book I’m writing. (The character is doing a survival test, in a country I made up; hence the random list.)
I just wanted to say that I think you are doing great work Daniella! I raise my own mealworms, eat ants, junebugs, grasshoppers, cicadas, and earthworms. I am branching out to other species as well. My husband finally is starting to try some recipes, and has been supportive the whole time. We had already caught and cooked fish, crawdads, and lobster for several years, and harvested wild plants every year prior to eating insects. They’re tasty, readily available, more nutritious than the pesticide ridden, genetically modified crap, free, and renewable! Amazing site, and thanks again 🙂
We’d be happy to have you over at our Facebook group, Missouri Entomophagy.
Most survival manuals strongly recommend cooking insects from the water, though most dry land insects aren’t as likely to carry harmful microrganisms.
If your are truly in a survival situation….well, everything you eat should be ground or chewed throughly to enable your stomach acids to help reduce infection risks and extract maximum food value.
With some insects (and other animals) you need to be concerned about parasites too.
In general, cooking is recommended as a precaution–how much that precaution is needed varies with location and species.
Note that some things are toxic without cooking, and even professionals have difficulty telling larva/maggots of differing species apart.
Thank you so much, Chuck. You helped me a lot. 🙂
Aquatics often taste like their water. Make sure it the cleanest of water. The mousie grubs i ate tasted fairly nasty.
A good choice with aquatics is to ‘cleanse’ them by giving them some time in clean water before cooking.
I have a question I live in Kansas and I love catching scorpions bark scorpions and I have decided to try eating them so tonight I froze them fried them and dipped them in chocolate is this safe
Shouldn’t be a safety problem.
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Do vegetarians eat bugs?
Do vegans eat bugs?
Todd, if you eat, you eat bugs. It’s impossible to avoid it.
I like Chuck’s answers, but try the scorpions simply fried –without the chocolate. You can make anything taste good in chocolate. Might break off the stingers, too.
Yeah, breaking off the sharp bits is usually a good idea.
In general, before doing a great deal to anything before eating it, it’s a good idea to try it done as simply as possible…if only to get a good idea of what will go well with it’s natural flavor (thhere was a bit in the Inscect Newsletter stating that ‘insects are largely flavorless and take on the flavor what they are cooked with.’ I assume it was a misquote…since most things seem to have quite distinct flavors according to my experience and everyone I’ve heard.
Scorpions are pretty mild.
and simmered, then dehydrated, squash bugs are excellent with no flavoring at all.
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Hi guys, does any one know how many calories in a tarantula? or in wood eating larvae please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org thanks
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I would try the grub and larva ones, definitely NOT the roaches or centipedes, and nothing with wings or legs.
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I tried the June bugs tonight. They were nice, very similar to popcorn but richer. I sauteed them in olive oil and added salt and chili powder.
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We should leave the tarantulas out of this 🙂
THIS LOOKES STARNGE, HOW CAN PEOPLE DO THIS
ITS SO WIERD. AAAAAAAAAAHHHHAHAHAHAHAA]
I would like to try.Any restaurant suggestion
around Oxford or London for insects eating?
Do you know if the larvae of Colorado potato beetles are edible? And if so how best to prepare them and what they taste like? We have a ton on our tomato plants so I figure instead of spraying I may as well make use of them. 🙂
Also I have to disagree with the discription of the taste of water bugs. 🙂 maybe I had a different variety, though they looked like the ones in the picture, but I personally thought they tasted exactly like cilantro. Which was disappointing as I don’t really like cilantro. They had a wonderful citrus aroma while cooking though. 🙂
are BSF larvae edible after cooking?
believing this http://www.gizmag.com/farm-432-fly-larva-food/28509/, the answer is Yes
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Are moths edible?
I am going to do edible bug business in Thailand , I love to eat them , they are best for nutrition, and testy , I will do with organic farm ,,my own restaurant to promotefot bug eater , with cooking school from my orgarnic farm ,,I need mote friend volunteer eating bug with me .
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Hi,im strugglering to find an english name for some insect comonly known as akanyenyenkule very popular in uganda village areas and it likes screeming late in the night more especialy approaching morninghours thx
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Wow, lots of cool comments today! I’ve seen cautions against eating potato beetles (depending on what you mean by “potato beetle”). Scientific names are great, if you can get ’em. Some moths are edible, and lots of their larvae are edible. Now “edible” doesn’t necessarily mean good!
I’m wondering if there are any known grasshoppers in Australia that should NOT be eaten. I’ve been meaning to give them a go for years and haven’t because even the aboriginal people I ask say ‘no, they’re rubbish , no good’. I tried one the other day that got roasted while we were burning off and although it tasted nice, I spat it out just in case. We’re often eating witchetty grubs, so I tend to pay heed to what they say regarding other possible food sources. Anyone there an authority on eating Aussie hoppers?
What kind of walking stick is that ? It’s huge !!!!
Paul, I’m glad you mentioned squash bugs (albeit awhile ago). I haven’t seen much internet mention of them as being edible. Between grasshoppers and squash bugs…if I can make the leap and start eating insects, my organic garden pest problems may be solved.
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When in Malawi last December, the flies shown in the image:
were swarming around the lights at dusk. I was told that locals eat them: the wings fall off after swarming, and the bodies are sauted with some spices. I had them. The flavor was unique, but decent. The cook at my lodge cooked up a plateful at my request, and I was grateful for the experience.
Maybe ‘called’ flies, but this is a termite. And yes! Eat ’em up!
Thank you Paul for your reply. I was led astray by
a) the locals calling them flies (they were sweeping them up by the bag full at the lodge, not to be eaten that I could see, but told they were often eaten), and
b) Their bodies were not white the way I expect swarming termites in the States to be.
Do you know the scientific name for this species? Do you know if American termites are also edible (tho tiny…)
P.S. Confusion about registering for this site led to errors in my ID in my previous post. I MEANT it to say David F. using my Facebook account.
can you any kind of grasshoppers, also what about black crickets?
All what God created are good
I wish I knew ALL the edible species, but I’ve not met an orthopteran inedible in the wild. I’d say US termites ate edible, too, but not real easy to collect –unless, maybe, while swarming. Black and camel crickets are choice, as edibles go! You might like our Facebook group, Missouri Entomophagy. https://www.facebook.com/groups/118150804885025/ And Adebayo, be careful with that claim. Many plants and even insects are extremely toxic. You have to know what you’re doing. “Good” maybe so, but not necessarily “safe”.
Thanks Paul for your comments and knowledge. With the dramatic increase in Marmorateda stink bugs, one wonders about theirs edibility. If so, how might one deal with the odor?
I almost wish we had a ‘problem’ with marmorated stink bugs here. They’re an edible species. Gather them alive, then freeze them to kill them. After killed, rinse and cook as you wish, or give them a pre-storage boiling for about 10-15 minutes. Do they smell anything like squash bugs? I’m guessing after having eaten some, you’ll brave the smell to do it again. I like to dehydrate my bugs to a crispy crunch, and stink bugs are a favorite at programs I do.
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Mealworm pupae look more appetizing to me than the mealworms themselves, can the pupae be eaten as well? Any pointers on how to cook them?
I know what you mean! I’ve never done it, but I don’t see any reason why not. I would probably saute them for starters, with onions or garlic, and eat ’em with rice. Let us know if you figure it out!
update: I fried both mealworms and pupae in a pan with a little (tasteless) coconut oil. The pupae started popping and the future leggs and wing shields opened up, making it look a bit less appetizing. However, the popcorn-taste seemed appropriate after the popping sounds 😉
Mealworm pupae, yes! There’s dispute, however, about the adult beetles.
I guess I’ve gotten boring with my cooking, but I’m settling into marinate in favorite sauce, then dehydrate to crispy –for all but the softest bodied critters. Mealworm pupae (or should I call ’em darkling beetle pupae?) are soft enough bodied that they can be cooked any way you like.
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can anyone tell me if rhaphidophoridae or the cave cricket is edible? they are extremely abundant and easy to cultivate (accidental discovery)
Yes, and they’ve got quite a nice texture, too.
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weird and creepy:)
I have eaten the silk worm & Sago grubs in Africa. They are great source of protein and jus so delicious.
Does anybody know where to find it in Australia? I hear it is found commonly with the Aborigines a lot. Pls someone speak to me. I miss these delicacies. Thanks
Might be able to find canned silkworms in larger Asian groceries. Not nearly as good as fresh, I’m told. I use ’em as examples that “edible” doesn’t necessarily mean “good”.
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I’m trying to help a little girl in southern Mali. What insects are available there that will give her protein she needs badly?
Termites or alates would be a great choice!
Scarabidae and most orthopterans are edible. Wouldn’t there be emperor scorpions in S. Mali? Collect them at night by flashlignt?
Get used to seeing this… it may be our future protein source. And I don’t mean centuries in the future. Decades rather.
My husband and I recently moved near savannah GA. We love the outdoors, and sustainable living. We have an abundance of huge fat millipedes in our back yard. We found out they are a relative of crab, lobster, and shrimp. We would like to know if they are edible, if so how to eat them. Or if the toxin the their glands make them a bad idea to eat.
Thanks a million
Hi Jami, in general I would avoid insects with toxins, just to be safe. Some folks have eaten them, however. Try contacting Dave Gracer of http://www.SmallStockFoods.com, he has some experience here.
Centipedes, good, but I’ve heard millipedes aren’t a good idea. However, they’re sure cool bugs!
…and, Jami, we’d love to have you join our group at Facebook: Missouri Entomophagy https://www.facebook.com/groups/118150804885025/
Interesting article. I would like to try to eat some insects sometime.
I wonder though isn’t it a bit insanatary to eat the whole thing with intestains and all. I would much prefer to eat only the meat part of the insects as one do with shrimps or cray fish.
What about what one does with filter feeders like mussels and oysters?
That we eat the whole insect is a feature, not a bug. Eating them whole adds to their nutritiousness. In general, we should be eating more “nose-to-tail” of the animals we alreay eat, so as to increase our vitamin intake and waste less. Eating them whole means less energy and resources spent on the processing end, as well.
Also, many insects can be “purged” prior to eating, by not giving them food for a day or two. Meanwhile, the food that they eat is typically not unsanitary: grain, fruits and vegetables, mostly.
hi i like your site
I don’t like liberty!
i love bugs
What is the best way to clean insects? Or is it as easy as… well washing your vegetables.
I just rinse them before giving them a 10-12ish minute simmer.
This will be the most DisGUsting thing in my life I hate bugs even I tried eat one I throw up
this is so gross i will never
This is a fascinating article and very informative. I have eaten several types of bugs while traveling that I don’t see on your list, and they were all delicious! I have pictures of the bugs stewing in a pot if you want to see.
By all means. list them and describe how they were prepared and how they tasted!
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Eating bugs will take a major shift in perception from the general public. They make sense to raise and eat, logically, due to the many advantages over raising beef, but people will have to get their heads around it before they’ll accept bugs as a plentiful food source that can address world hunger.
Easiest way I could think of is to put them in smoothies so the consumer won’t have to see or feel the texture of the bugs as they eat them. Put mealworms in with the vegetables, purée them in a Nutribullet juicer, or another brand that does not discard the pulp, then down the hatch. Would add protein to veggie juice for the health food crowd. If the protein is easily processed by the body, bodybuilders might be interested.
The health food segment is the group who might slowly bring this into the mainstream if a way to make eating them more palatable can be identified.
mmm the bugs are making me hungry!
anyone know if praying mantises are edible?
Mantids are edible, but they’re too cool to eat 🙂 Check us out at Facebook’s group, Missouri Entomophagy
Wow! this is so interesting. As an Entomologist to be, am so excited
Most of what you eat (or even ARE!) is gross because it is unfamiliar.
Eggs, shrimp, lobster, catfish, clams, oysters, blue cheese, cheese in general, hamburger, sausage, flour (ground bugs) for instance. And your own insides are pretty gross too, no matter how nice your outside appearance.
You’ll get over it.
what about fruit flies and their larvae?
Fruit flies & larvae, yeah…but how would you ever collect enough to make any real mass? And an escape in your house is nasty (had one once!)
I had a student how regularly ate “Daddy Long Legs” when we were in the field. He would fold back the legs of the live spider, and bite off the body. I have not had the information or courage to try it yet. Any input?
irritating highly disgusting after reading this i could’nt have my lunch what a terrific food.
Daniella, if nothing else, Girl Meets Bug seems to be a good weight management program. 🙂
I think I would have to pass on eating lice.
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Centipedes, earthworms and scorpions aren’t insects. Centipedes are their own class, scorpions are arachnids and earthworms are annelids. Woodlice are not insects but crustaceans, but you already stated that.
Indeed, they are not insects, as most of us (including me) are aware. However, this list is one of the most widely used on the web, and I’d prefer not to complicate the title, e.g., List of Edible Insects, Arachnids, Terrestrial crustaceans, etc. I’m sure you can understand why. I’m also not keen on the idea of changing it to “List of Edible Bugs.” So, for simplicity’s sake, I’m leaving it as-is, as the intent of this list isn’t particularly affected by taxonomic terms. If you’ve got a better idea, I’m open to it.
So, I recently decided to try out entomophagy, though I haven’t actually tried anything yet, I’ve ordered a few things (mealworms, waxworms and crickets) to start my personal farm, I wanted to add another thing to my collection, I was wondering is the following okay to eat? As a larvae and fully grown: grain weevil http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheat_weevil
I can’t seem to find any documentation of anyone eating, most information is simply about them being a nuisance.
Any information on whether it is edible, and what it tastes like would be appreciated.
I also looked at this one: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pachnoda_marginata
pretty much same question, is it edible, and what it tastes like ?
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where do you buy them? as far as weight loss and keeping healthy, where do i find nutritional value and what foods do each insect replace?
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Another synonym for “pillbugs” for you – in Western Australia, we call them slaters, or slater bugs… 🙂
Slater bugs is a new one to add to my collection. Thanks, Liz!
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Does anyone know whether Dermestes lardarius are good to eat? (relatives to the carpet beetle) Always have lots of them around my kitchen, really hard to get rid of. I did eat them by mistake once, and it didn’t taste nice (they were crawling in my bread and I didn’t notice until I felt the foul taste), but would cooking them make a good meal? And are they actually edible?
I was just asked this over at my Facebook group, Missouri Entomophagy. I’d call them edible, if you can be sure they’re free of contaminates. If they’ve been feeding on carcasses, I’d avoid them.
Are mosquitoes edible?
Edible, but they often carry disease –like just about any fly.
Finally I can ask this somewhere without “Ew, gross!” as the response. Would there be any detriment to eating squash bugs? I understand stink bugs are on the list and they are in the same order of insects…little boogers are everywhere and killed two patty pan squash plants. Also would you have to remove the stingers of wasps before cooking? How about yellow jackets? I see mealworm recipes everywhere but what about the adult darkling beetle?
Squash bugs are excellent! Even the aroma is actually reminiscent of apple shampoo. Wasps: I don’t mess with adult wasps, but will cut down the nests (polistes and mud dauber) and freeze them. I’ll extract and eat the larvae and young pupae. Adult darklings are supposed to have something toxic or inedible about ’em, but I learned that after having served quite a few darkling cookies at an event. I’ve also heard the toxins are neutralized with cooking. Use your own judgment on that. You might like our Facebook group, Missouri Entomophagy –It’s lots more than just Missouri.
By the way, I’ve been asked back to that event for several years now, so the survival rate after that first event was probably pretty good 🙂 It’s a regular-enough event that David George Gordon included it at the end of his most recent “Eat-A-Bug Cookbook”.
Thinking about yellow jackets, present entomophagy experience and wasp-experiences as a kid: As a kid, I was fascinated by wasp and bee stingers, but could never get a stinger to stab anything when the carrier was dead. I’m wondering if my standard kill-by-freezing, then boil for 10ish minutes, then marinate and dehydrate, would get the stingers crispy enough to chew un-noticed? I wouldn’t serve them to anyone with known hymenoptera venom allergies. I probably would warn anyone off eating adult wasps and bees if they don’t know if they’re allergic. Stinger-removal seems way too tedious to be worth it, in my opinion.
Are fire ants edible? …because I live in Texas, and there are tons of fire ants here…
Fire ants seem to have a fair amount of obvious edibility deterrent, however, it’s possible that if you cooked them enough, this would be denatured. Personally, I don’t know enough about the species to say one way or another. I would probably seek another alternative, but that’s just me, I’m kinda conservative.
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One of the edible insects is the mealworm, does this also apply to the superworm (zophobas morio)?
Eat those superworms, too! This site even gives a cooking suggestion: http://entomophagy.wikia.com/wiki/Zophobas_morio
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So…. Pitting an ant/bee queen against another in a fight for people’s entertainment is ok, but pitting roosters/dogs against each other in a fight is ‘animal cruelty’? FYI, insects are animals too.
Another reason why PETA is stupid, and sucks big portions of a55.
Anybody have any recipes for cooking Dubia Roaches? I have a colony that I’ve been raising for my reptiles but kinda wonder what that would taste like. Also is there a community for this? I feel out of place and dont think I’d know anyone else who would want to partake in insect eating.
I’ve got a couple recipes that work for just about any insect. Look me up at Facebook for more, but my basic recipe is after freezing to kill, to boil 10-15 minutes. Marinate overnight or 24 hours in a favorite sauce, then dehydrate to a crispy crunch.
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This makes me squirm because I Absalom hate bugs plus this really helped me with my homework but are there any you should avoid eating?
Quite a few not to eat. Saddleback caterpillars are just one example. They have stinging spines that can cause the throat to swell shut, and even shut off breathing passages. I don’t have a species, but a black blister beetle in SW Asia can cause coma if eaten.
There are many which require some additional processing for safety.
Removing legs & shells with sharp edges is advised.
Eating raw is inadvisable in general for most animate food…risk of disease or parasites may be an issue.
Brightly colored insects are often toxic to at least some species, which may include humans.
Food poisoning may not cause significant symptoms for up to 72 hours–important when trying something new. (Hint, it’s not usually the last meal you ate which poisoned you, but one you ate earlier. As a side note, the last known victim of the “White Angel” death mushroom was quoted as saying it was the best mushroom meal ever! Taste may not be a guide!
In trying new things, the second test consumption should only be a moderate increase from the initial test dose…small steps up or down in changing diet.
that dung beetle doh
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Are the mealworm beetles edible? Seems a waste not to eat them when they have reaced the end of the egg laying lives!
I’ve eaten darkling beetles (adult mealworms) in fair quantity. –Even served them in cookie form to eager eaters. BUT, I then read there’s something toxic or potentially dangerous in the adults. I lost that source, and have heard claims on both the edible and inedible sides since then. I’ve eaten ’em, and am still here to type this.
Here’s what I found:
Lesser mealworms are important vectors of a number of poultry pathogens and parasites, such as the viruses of leucosis or Marek’s disease, Gumboro disease (Falomo 1986), turkey coronavirus (Calibeo 2002, Watson et al. 2000), Newcastle disease, avian influenza (Hosen et al. 2004); bacteria such as Salmonella typhimurium (Loeffler) Escherichia coli (Migula), Aspergillus spp. and Staphylococcus ssp. (Chernaki-Leffer 2002, De Las Casas et al., 1968, Harein et al. 1970, McAllister et al. 1996,); protozoans such as Eimeria spp. that cause coccidiosis (Goodwin and Waltman 1996, Hosen et al. 2004); fungi (De Las Casas et al. 1972, Eugenio et al. 1970); helminths such as the nematode Subulura brumpti Lopes-Neira (Karunamoorthy et al. 1994); and fowl cestodes (Elowni & Elbihari 1979).
Infectious bursal disease (gumbro) in commercial broilers (http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/vm024).
Both adults and larvae of A. diaperinus can cause intestinal obstruction in poultry for slaughter since these birds lack chitinasis (enzyme to digest chitin) (Elowni & Elbihari 1979). This may eventually cause microscopic lesions along the bird’s intestinal wall.
Another area of concern regarding A. diaperinus is associated health problems in humans. Tenebrionid beetles, including A. diaperinus, produce highly reactive benzoquinones as defense against predation (Tschinkel 1975). Quinones can be hazardous to human health and cause health risks when exposed to the insect for extended periods. Reported health related ailments caused by A. diaperinus include symptoms of asthma, headaches, dermatitis, allergic angiodema, rhinitis, erythema (reddening), and formation of papules (Falomo 1986, Schroeckenstein et al. 1988, Tseng et al. 1971). Exposure to quinone vapors can also result in conjunctivitis and corneal ulceration (Falomo 1986, Schroeckenstein et al. 1988).
Hmm. First of all, “chitinasis” isn’t a word – it’s chitinase, and to my understanding, chickens do produce quite a bit of it.
I’m not saying the other conclusions are wrong, but I do find this oversight pretty surprising.
One question that comes to mind when I read of pathogens passed on to chickens or other animals is, “How does the animal cook their insects before they eat them?” I don’t know about quinones. Beetles ‘can produce’ and ‘can be hazardous’ might be enough to leave the adults alone, but they’re a bit vague.
Even without cooking, it’s always better to cycle material through at least one intermediate species before returning to the primary.
E.g. one shouldn’t use beef to fed beef or sheep to feed sheep etc.
We feed fish farm fish ground up wild caught fish, I’m working on converting the offal into insects to feed the fish (currently offal goes to hog farms…)
What about potato beetle?
Argh! I meant to reply to YOUR post, not create a new one. “I’ve only heard negative edibility info on potato beetles. I forget where, but there’s lots of other edibles out there pestering your garden –tomato worms, army and cut worms, Japanese beetles (the iridescent green ones, not Asian ladybugs), squash bugs…” to cut and paste the comment
I’ve only heard negative edibility info on potato beetles. I forget where, but there’s lots of other edibles out there pestering your garden –tomato worms, army and cut worms, Japanese beetles (the iridescent green ones, not Asian ladybugs), squash bugs…
what a great lesson
Thank you for letting me know there are so many edibles insect in this world. They may be tasty, but I don’t think I am brave enough to put any of this into my mouth.
My wife, a NON-entomophagist, tried a cricket tortilla chip yesterday. She didn’t ask for a second one, but she finished the chip. I’m pretty proud of her. 🙂
This is so cool I’m doing a project at school and this helps a lot thanks 😀😃
Join us on Facebook over at Missouri Entomophagy, too! Lots of activity, and it’s more than just Missouri. https://www.facebook.com/groups/118150804885025/
This blog is really really really awesome. Me and my partner are working on this inquiry question and its: How can minibeasts be used as a food source? And this site has really helped us to ring the answers😀😃😊 Bye
We’d love to have you over at our Facebook group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/118150804885025/
omg this is so cool! is it okay with you if I cut and paste the whole thing in a project i have at school, citing you as the author of course? if so, please post what name I should use (and year) for the citation, e.g your name and the year you wrote this. it is soooo cool
Check out our group at Facebook. Missouri Entomophagy (way more than just Missouri): https://www.facebook.com/groups/118150804885025/
We have started a menu it has Cricket Fritters Cricket Fried Rice Banana Worm Bread.
“We”? Where can we sample some of these goodies?
lishay loves bugs her sister wonders if bugs are actually edible
Like most US-Americans, I am a little grossed out by the thought of eating bugs. …But I have to admit, my mouth is totally watering, reading through your recipes. You’re absolutely right; it’s probably the greenest source of protein on the planet, and it’s really a shame that people can’t look past the “eating a creepy crawly” aspect. I mean, cows and chickens are pretty gross.
I’m a Kenyan, and its true among the Tribes in the West of the Country the winged termites are eaten straight from the mount. They are very delicious, alternatively they can be fried and eaten with maize meal. Tribes that eat them are very health. I also write about nutrition and you can view my posts here http://nutritionvise.com
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