Monday, September 17, 2012

Bug Eating for Survival - Could You Do It??

     Okay so let me start this off by saying I have yet to put any type of bug or insect into my mouth voluntarily... I do however think that if it came down to eating them or starving that I could do so. For that reason I decided to do a little research on them and this is the information I have found at another blog located here; Girl Meets Bug . There are literally tons of insects that are edible around us all the time... I have included a partial list below with some tips I found on each type of insect. I have also included two recipes at the bottom of the post on how to prepare them. If anyone has actually eaten any of these or others I would love to hear about your experiences with it. Also, if you know of some others to add to the list let us know in the comments.

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.

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.

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.

Lemon ants are found in the Amazon jungle and are said to taste like just that: lemons.

Bamboo  worm: Often eaten fried in Thailand, they are the larvae of the Grass Moth, and eat their way through bamboo before metamorphosing.

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.

Centipede: Most often found as a street food in China.

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.

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.

Cricket: eaten fried, sauteed, boiled, and roasted, these are amongst the most common insects eaten. Eaten in Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia.

Dragonfly: eaten in Indonesia and China. Can be eaten in adult or larval form. In Indonesia, these are caught by dipping a reed in sticky palm sap and waving it through the air. Often eaten boiled or fried.

Dung Beetle: despite the strange-sounding name, dung beetles, often eaten fried, are quite tasty.

Earthworm: known to be high in protein and iron, eaten by various peoples such as the native Yekuana of Venezuela.

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.

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.

Grasshopper: in Mexico, these are eaten roasted with chile and lime, and are known as chapulines. They are high in protein and calcium.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Nsenene: This tasty grasshopper is a Ugandan delicacy. Usually prepared fried.

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.

Rhino beetle and grubs: Also known as one of the strongest animals in the world, the Rhino beetle can lift 850 times its own weight. The beetle and its larvae are a common part of the diet in Nigeria. Studies have found the larvae to be very high in protein, calcium, and phosphorous. They can be fried, stewed, grilled or roasted; one cookbook advises cooking them within a coconut shell. The clarified fat of the larvae can also be used as a kind of butter.

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.

Silk worm: A popular dish in Korea, these are known as Bon Daegi, and are an edible byproduct of the silk-harvesting process.

Scorpion: Often found skewered and fried in Thailand and China. Scorpions tend to have a flavor like soft-shell crab.

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.

Termite: Termites are often eaten raw straight out of the mound in places like Kenya.

Wasp: Wasps are eaten in both adult and larval stages. Boiled, sauteed, roasted and fried, they taste somewhat buttery and earthy.

Walking stick: Eaten in Asia and Papua New Guinea, Walking Sticks taste somewhat leafy.

Water Bug: AKA Toe-biter, the giant water bug is popular in Thai cuisine, both consumed 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, per-fumy banana/melon, with the consistency of fish.

Wax-worm: 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.

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.”

Zaza-mushi: “Zaza-mushi — zaza, the sound of rushing river water, and mushi, insect — are the larvae of aquatic the caddisfly.” – Man Eating Bugs. Zaza-mushi are boiled then sauteed in soy sauce and sugar in Japan.

Basic Cooked Insects

Yield 1 serving; Time 30 minutes

    1 cup cleaned edible insects
    2 cups water
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 dashes pepper
    1 tablespoon butter
    1/2 teaspoon dried sage
    2 tablespoons finely chopped onions.

    Place ingredients in a medium-sized saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer for 30 minutes or until tender.

Source: Adapted from Entertaining With Insects by Ronald L. Taylor and Barbara J. Carter 

Dry Roasted Insects

Yield 1 serving; Time Two hours

    Spread cleaned insects on paper towels on a cookie sheet. Back at 200 degrees for 60 to 90 minutes until desired state of dryness is reached. To check state of dryness, try crushing insect with a spoon.

Source: Adapted from Entertaining With Insects by Ronald L. Taylor and Barbara J. Carter


  1. As the majority of this information appears to be copied and pasted from my List Of Edible Insects:, I'd like to be cited.

    1. I am truly sorry... I was not meaning any harm as I had thought I did cite your website in the post at some point.. I will make sure to change it. Thank you for pointing it out to me.