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Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects?af TED76.586 afspilninger
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Chapul Cricket Bar Giveawayaf ChapulRevolutionAnbefalet til dig
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Eat less meat, more bugs: Florence Dunkel at TEDxBozemanaf TEDx Talks9.151 afspilninger
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Eating Bugs in Bangkok – Creepy Crawler Guide to Edible Insects in Thailandaf Mark Wiens18.374 afspilninger
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Create an RSS Feed for your Websiteaf helpvidAnbefalet til dig
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Why eating insects makes senseaf The Economist116.904 afspilninger
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Eating Bugs in Namdaemun Market Seoul, South Korea – Ansan Answersaf Ansan Answers2.654 afspilninger
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Shopping for Bugs to Eat in Thailandaf Thailand Living197.168 afspilninger
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Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects: TED TALKS: documentary,lecture,talk INSECTSaf Health and Super Foods8.572 afspilninger
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Which? eats insects – would you?af Which?1.319 afspilninger
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Eating Bugs To Save The World?af The Young Turks34.362 afspilninger
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Capturing Wildlilfeaf MontanaFWP689 afspilninger
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John Foustaf MontanaFWP289 afspilninger
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Phnom Penh – Eating Bugs and Exploring Local Markets – Cambodia 2010 (Migration Mark)af Mark Wiens23.675 afspilninger
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BBC News Insects source of protein instead of meataf BBCNewss Mribology1.224 afspilninger
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Eating Insects with Tom Clarkeaf jamesfrewin312 afspilninger
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Eating Insects: Arnold van Huis at TEDxEdeaf TEDx Talks6.101 afspilninger
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Moose Researchaf MontanaFWP369 afspilninger
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Eating Insectsaf National Geographic385.843 afspilninger
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Should We Eat More Bugs?af National Geographic23.052 afspilninger
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List of Edible Insects
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…)
external image images-7.jpeg?w=500Agave 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
Ant: there are several varieties of ants that are eaten: Carpenter ants, leaf-cutter ants, honeypot ants, and even lemon ants.
external image images.jpeg?w=500Honeypot 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
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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
external image images-31.jpeg?w=500Lemon ants are found in the Amazon jungle and are said to taste like just that: lemons. (Image via
external image images-4.jpeg?w=500Bamboo 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)
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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
external image millipedes1.jpg?w=164&h=179Centipede: Most often found as a street food in China. (Image via

external image cicadaplate.jpg?w=500Cicada: 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
external image sushi-bizarre-101.jpg?w=300&h=191Cockroach: 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.)
external image cricket-stir-fry.jpg?w=300&h=229Cricket: eaten fried, sauteed, boiled, and roasted, these are amongst the most common insects eaten. Eaten in Mexico, Thailand, Cambodia.
external image dragonflyinegg.jpg?w=300&h=251Dragonfly: 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.

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Dung Beetle: despite the strange-sounding name, dung beetles, often eaten fried, are quite tasty.external image images-8.jpeg?w=500
Earthworm: known to be high in protein and iron, eaten by various peoples such as the native Yekuana of Venezuela. (Image via; click for cool video on earthworm restaurant in Croatia.)
external image bestshot.jpg?w=300&h=198Fly 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
external image flyingantqueen.jpg?w=300&h=272Flying 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
external image grasshopperfinal.jpg?w=300&h=179Grasshopper: in Mexico, these are eaten roasted with chile and lime, and are known as chapulines. They are high in protein and calcium. (image via
external image forkbug.jpg?w=300&h=270Hornworm: 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.
external image jumiles.jpg?w=300&h=296Jumiles: 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.
external image junebug1.jpg?w=500June 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
external image precooked-locusts1.jpg?w=150&h=112Locust: 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
external image bodylouse.jpg?w=300&h=159Louse: ‘“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
external image mop14.jpg?w=146&h=99Mopane 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
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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 external image canon400dtn79.jpg?w=300&h=223solid blocks and cooked into Kunga Cake. (Image via Haraprasan)
external image nsenenes.jpg?w=300&h=213Nsenene: 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
external image pillbug.jpg?w=300&h=195Pill-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
external image rhinobeetlegrub.jpg?w=300&h=244
external image grubsforfood_yahoo.jpg?w=300&h=214Sago 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
external image silkwormkebabs.jpg?w=300&h=213Silk worm: A popular dish in Korea, these are known as Bon Daegi, and are an edible byproduct of the silk-harvesting process. Image
external image friedscorpion.jpg?w=300&h=155Scorpion: Often found skewered and fried in Thailand and China. Scorpions tend to have a flavor like soft-shell crab. (Image
external image fried_tarantula.jpg?w=300&h=179Tarantula: 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
external image termites2.jpg?w=300&h=199Termite: Termites are often eaten raw straight out of the mound in places like Kenya. (Image via
external image waspcracker.jpg?w=300&h=238Wasp: 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
external image walkingstick31.jpg?w=219&h=300Walking 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
external image 1_61_thai6_medium.jpg?w=300&h=181Water 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
external image waxsnax.jpg?w=300&h=234Waxworm: 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
external image roastedwichetty1.jpg?w=300&h=240Wichetty 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
external image zazamushi.jpg?w=300&h=227Zaza-mushi: “Zaza-mushizaza, 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



  1. external image 86086a0d49d0870ddb1cd34d12182e4a?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAllegra | May 18, 2010 at 1:53 am | ReplyThis 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 :))
    • external image 6835c1e64f69e85bdfcc9db620ed8738?s=48&d=identicon&r=GIsabel | June 23, 2014 at 3:58 am | ReplyThanks 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

  1. external image 2c444319d49dbf167237efd1a733f70f?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gmr_z | June 4, 2010 at 4:58 pm | ReplyThe 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! 😀
  1. external image db8bfc145aac933a81c50616fdb00b46?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gsurvivalist ninja | August 31, 2010 at 11:47 pm | ReplyI’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 !

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  2. external image e7a3aabbf51322f7ba5fb857018160dc?s=48&d=identicon&r=GMr.norway | December 6, 2010 at 3:15 am | Replyhi i really like your work, keep it up!

    on the other hand i have a question for you.

    are stink bugs eatable? (halyomorpha halys)

  1. external image cfb325546a0d0144035e5cf12b75c276?s=48&d=identicon&r=GWilliam Turley | December 8, 2010 at 2:51 pm | ReplyI 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.
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D0fd77b73094729575237f490b84b03de&resize=48%2C48Dan Nevins | July 21, 2013 at 5:09 am | ReplyI 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!

  1. external image c1cfb9654ef27cc298c6f2facb05e844?s=48&d=identicon&r=GEquality | January 22, 2011 at 4:59 pm | ReplySoon 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.
  2. external image abfd21724aee6e9b3ca8900f61b72ae1?s=48&d=identicon&r=GNatura | February 18, 2011 at 6:46 am | ReplyI 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?
    • external image 5b88408a59d94c55b00dfb19d20f9de1?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKat | August 13, 2014 at 12:18 pm | ReplyI find that grasshoppers are quite nice stir fried in butter or sunflower oil, with a pinch of salt and maybe some chili.
    • external image 5b88408a59d94c55b00dfb19d20f9de1?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKat | August 13, 2014 at 12:19 pm | ReplyOh and remember to remove the back legs, they can have little thorns and get stuck in your throat like a chicken bone.
      • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Dd4bf8351abebc735665208128833f637&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | August 14, 2014 at 7:41 pm |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.
  1. external image aa0e47252992ccaefe8f3cae8941624a?s=48&d=identicon&r=Girowebot | February 21, 2011 at 10:49 am | ReplyIt 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!
  2. external image 2e6bce1b5d5a9dadff71f9581e8ca409?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChance | February 24, 2011 at 6:35 am | ReplyThe 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!

  1. external image 17458dbc2de62f2712cfa6cbe02ce41d?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSteve | February 26, 2011 at 10:27 pm | ReplyHey,
    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.
  2. external image 7b9a0faf90aed87828d355e063ed60d7?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAmirah | March 14, 2011 at 2:34 am | ReplyThank 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 ( 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.”.
  3. external image 7b9a0faf90aed87828d355e063ed60d7?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAmirah | March 14, 2011 at 2:41 am | ReplyCurrently, 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.
    • external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GCharles Barnard | June 10, 2011 at 5:17 pm | ReplyI’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.
    • external image 61d6feb63a4dc8bb25dd847e7e0c7532?s=48&d=identicon&r=GHasnain Raza | April 13, 2012 at 7:33 am | Replythanks for thus

  1. external image 65d279b2ee50a47a588c85266152a45e?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSteve Keister | April 22, 2011 at 10:03 pm | ReplyHi 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.
    • external image 5b88408a59d94c55b00dfb19d20f9de1?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKat | August 13, 2014 at 12:30 pm | ReplyI 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.

  1. external image dcd244f317ea42525b5cc14a8de44eab?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gmarblemill | May 13, 2011 at 7:02 pm | ReplyAnyone have a somewhat comprehensive list of known edible ant species?

    Anyone try carpenter ants for instance?

    • external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GCharles Barnard | June 29, 2011 at 8:21 pm | ReplyHaven’t found one either…post it here if you find one.
      Looking for recipes….
    • external image 5b88408a59d94c55b00dfb19d20f9de1?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKat | August 13, 2014 at 12:34 pm | ReplyTry 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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  2. external image bca7efdd1484993edec0f69d7395bceb?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSalvador | June 23, 2011 at 5:00 am | ReplyWow 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.
  3. external image 90ef7e9e29241b831948b4f78a93a7d6?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gyewell king | June 27, 2011 at 6:25 pm | ReplyUnderstanding 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
  4. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GCharles Barnard | June 29, 2011 at 8:33 pm | ReplyOf interest…
    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?

    They’re exempt.
    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….)

  5. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | July 11, 2011 at 8:52 pm | ReplyStinkbugs, 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.
    • external image 63368725cc96cf3d6597a681aff82823?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKyle | July 25, 2012 at 3:32 am | ReplyHey, 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!
      • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | January 14, 2013 at 2:18 pm |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.
  1. external image d10ca8d11301c2f4993ac2279ce4b930?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gguest | July 21, 2011 at 3:33 pm | ReplyThe name of the country is spelled ColOmbia, not ColUmbia

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  2. external image 3e188b09f65a7e1d772ada1a2173ea1a?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPFR | July 26, 2011 at 8:35 pm | ReplyOK, 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:
    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!

  1. external image 3e188b09f65a7e1d772ada1a2173ea1a?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPFR | July 26, 2011 at 8:36 pm | ReplyD-oh! Not how to prep the shrimp, how to prep the grasshoppers, natch!
  2. external image 7cbd535a127390d281aa9b65bab909d2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJustin | September 7, 2011 at 2:53 am | ReplyI 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.
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D1dd4eeafabe15ce965283f8321b25d7d&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | June 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm | ReplyWaaay 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.

  1. external image ec93f13e3dffd168961c591caa9c6836?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSijai | September 9, 2011 at 2:37 pm | ReplyI 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!

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  3. external image e67cd5d2cf73b11c2288d64f435fd355?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gmj | October 17, 2011 at 8:00 pm | ReplyGreat 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.
  4. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | October 18, 2011 at 8:37 pm | ReplyDaniella, 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.
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | December 6, 2012 at 3:30 am | ReplyHi 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!

  1. external image ef0b5e4fd200dbcbebd1c481ff1d8a80?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJack | November 4, 2011 at 7:58 pm | ReplyWow, 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!

  1. external image 5fc4b118efa210442735f8fd19702fe8?s=48&d=identicon&r=GRoHa | November 7, 2011 at 11:15 pm | ReplyI 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.
    • external image a124523ae3f580569ee30ccdc3bb0304?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDave | March 1, 2012 at 6:36 pm | ReplyWow, 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.

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  2. external image c0829caf4adaf20966d3e24a87b4feb3?s=48&d=identicon&r=GLee | November 18, 2011 at 5:40 pm | ReplyI’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.
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | November 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm | ReplyOh, 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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  2. external image 44953edde5a68ac4906aabcec68f7a2d?s=48&d=identicon&r=GFrog | February 18, 2012 at 4:36 am | Reply
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  4. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | March 1, 2012 at 11:46 pm | ReplyWell…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’….

  5. external image 45afc8e154cbe90f2c352660c54b10de?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDavid Sims | March 2, 2012 at 7:47 am | ReplyWell, I’ve heard that the early mammals were insectivores. I guess we could return to our ancestral ways if we had to.
  6. external image 22be08d7d85277814b8fcb08b9cb1aa3?s=48&d=identicon&r=GGladys Nakasone | March 10, 2012 at 6:33 am | Replylove 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.

  7. external image 94270610c5b9971b15cbb3665aa9c5d6?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDonna Franklin | March 11, 2012 at 8:20 am | Replyjust now considering eating bugs to survive,dont think i can eat anything to do with a fly though.
  8. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D48298b331d7f7d306f6d10c8e652e784&resize=48%2C48Zachary Winn | March 14, 2012 at 11:56 pm | ReplyI wish this was the menu at a restaurant that I owned.

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  2. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Dc5f0f09b4ae296f91a8284d7f986c523&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | April 11, 2012 at 11:07 pm | ReplyI 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.
    • external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | April 11, 2012 at 11:25 pm | ReplyIf 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….

  1. external image 61d6feb63a4dc8bb25dd847e7e0c7532?s=48&d=identicon&r=GHasnain Raza | April 13, 2012 at 7:34 am | ReplyHoney bee is most benefit for humans.
  2. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Dc5f0f09b4ae296f91a8284d7f986c523&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | April 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm | ReplyCrickets, katydids and June beetles have a nice flavor, and curly dock seeds and foxtail grass seeds should grind up nicely for flour.
  3. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | April 14, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Replycatail, 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!
  4. external image 18927c3de7b67746c01ababb05fed135?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gmonae jones | April 26, 2012 at 5:22 pm | Replythis is sick>>>>>>>>NASTY BUGS
  5. external image 18927c3de7b67746c01ababb05fed135?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gmonae jones | April 26, 2012 at 5:25 pm | Replyjust playin
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  7. external image ab289cda83205fffe90df8119ce9fee9?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gvvtvynyn | June 6, 2012 at 4:42 am | ReplyGross
  8. external image b1017872eb422834bc719b24ac1317ee?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJenny Feick | June 6, 2012 at 4:48 am | ReplyAre Tent Caterpillars edible?
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | January 14, 2013 at 2:13 pm | ReplyYes, 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!

  1. external image 99e74e357201366d518e51f51be0ea4d?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gcathy | June 14, 2012 at 1:37 pm | Replythe 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

  1. external image 1d871fcbe13b753507349bb544d4e2f4?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSuzanne | June 26, 2012 at 5:43 am | ReplyTonight 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.
  2. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Deb9b81fdc0ca9875c0964d91d0bd0a04&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | June 26, 2012 at 9:00 pm | ReplyCentipedes in general: Are they edible?
  3. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Deb9b81fdc0ca9875c0964d91d0bd0a04&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | June 27, 2012 at 12:30 pm | ReplyWhen 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.
  4. external image d433a1d021b516141b8096645241c5c7?s=48&d=identicon&r=GEmma | June 30, 2012 at 2:37 am | ReplyI thought this article was fairly interesting, wouldn’t mind trying a grasshopper or two
  5. external image c970788e3ae28ef6b4522539438ad930?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gu4david | July 6, 2012 at 2:13 am | ReplyI 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?
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | July 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm | ReplyHi David,
      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!

  1. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GCharles Barnard | July 6, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply“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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  3. external image 954746cc2957b131f37744e3c40a5097?s=48&d=identicon&r=GZ-Day zurbiver | July 13, 2012 at 4:25 pm | ReplyEw!
  4. external image 2d78090f231ac75729dbd309eb0ca949?s=48&d=identicon&r=Grichard | July 14, 2012 at 12:09 am | ReplyLast i heard you need to roast/ cook grasshoopers. Do not eat raw.
  5. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | July 14, 2012 at 10:47 pm | ReplyLike 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…..
  6. external image eb59c0c04f758985f8f6b0ae0b287cd6?s=48&d=identicon&r=Ginstinct insect | July 21, 2012 at 2:42 pm | ReplyYou will never find a boyfriend.
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | July 23, 2012 at 7:56 pm | ReplyYou mean besides my existing boyfriend, who helps me invent and test bug recipes? 😉
      • external image b8c590b4428c563ac0bbd16dbd12875f?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAliqua | March 31, 2013 at 7:00 am |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. 😉
  1. external image a2f7efa1465b9310cba95096d56299ff?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSurvive in Cambodia | July 22, 2012 at 1:31 pm | ReplyI 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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  4. external image 3f3b4e85cab5672b50412abc0527db08?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChillin' in the USA – Peace to all | September 2, 2012 at 6:29 pm| ReplyThank 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. 😀
  5. external image 3787dd692ddd31656252951b4246c46c?s=48&d=identicon&r=GGracie | September 6, 2012 at 7:50 pm | ReplyJust 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.
  6. external image 8ec5024e9b85eed18e21bc560b18dbd7?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gvictoria | October 3, 2012 at 1:58 am | Replydang no flies??????

  1. external image 6e6f9291f621964e2a5005eabcd37b88?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaveA | October 3, 2012 at 10:48 pm | ReplyAre corn earworms edible? They’re always plentiful in sweet corn.

  1. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | October 5, 2012 at 3:59 am | ReplyYes, of course, I forget my source, but some native Americans even considered it a special bonus to get worms with the corn.
  2. external image a724642ada7866f5100fb4f14ef467bd?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gmfoniso mirabell eshiett | October 8, 2012 at 5:57 am | ReplyWow. 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.
  3. external image 3c31fdb606c7259268c04fa0f304a827?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDebDoe | October 27, 2012 at 2:34 am | Replyhey check ou this list

    sorry about the long link.

  1. external image 377bf0695f4b4179da2b29dbef2921c0?s=48&d=identicon&r=GWill | November 18, 2012 at 8:41 am | ReplyGee 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
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | November 18, 2012 at 8:32 pm | ReplyActually, 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?

  1. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | November 19, 2012 at 12:09 am | ReplyNo 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?
  2. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | November 19, 2012 at 12:16 am | ReplyI’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.
    • external image acd93b968a4815406c7bf43de13918bf?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJoel A. | October 8, 2013 at 5:38 am | ReplySoldier 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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  2. external image 8de321e07abea41b1b893a115ff8b569?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gana | November 30, 2012 at 1:29 am | ReplyI hope i can taste june bug and also wonder where i can buy them in what season.
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | December 10, 2013 at 9:05 pm | ReplyJune 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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  2. external image 6dd3be8ce0f37f0cf630225dc0905fdf?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gkingsurvived | December 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm | ReplyI 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.

  1. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | December 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm | ReplyJune Bugs.

    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.

  2. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | December 13, 2012 at 8:53 pm | ReplyJunebugs (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.

  1. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | December 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm | ReplyLooks 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.
  2. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | December 13, 2012 at 8:59 pm | ReplyDaniella, can I post a plug for our Facebook group?

  1. external image aefe527caf43cece4ec0097b30bc3c2f?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJoshua | December 14, 2012 at 3:26 am | ReplyHey, I have eaten normal black ants before. They taste like pepper. Also mountain ants, as I know them, taste like lemon.
  2. external image cc86db6f39facadffd531ca1159b50f1?s=48&d=identicon&r=GBob Bolt | December 20, 2012 at 5:42 pm | ReplyI really like bugs, but eat them?
  3. external image 787c47c6039cba6d314656c594bd1d87?s=48&d=identicon&r=Ggreenbonespestcontrol | December 22, 2012 at 6:08 am | ReplyI’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!
  4. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | December 22, 2012 at 6:58 am | ReplyI 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.
  5. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | December 22, 2012 at 10:26 pm | ReplyC’mon out to Facebook’s “Missouri Entomophagy” group We talk edible bugs there, too!
  6. external image 186f98a5442aed7777842a45bc21607b?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJudy B. | January 4, 2013 at 1:33 am | ReplyI 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!
  7. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | January 4, 2013 at 2:15 pm | ReplySounds 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.
  8. external image 186f98a5442aed7777842a45bc21607b?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJudy B. | January 4, 2013 at 2:22 pm | ReplyPaul, 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…
  9. Pingback: Micro-Livestock: Why More Preppers Should Consider Farming Insects – SchemaByte
  10. external image f8b60a668ec6139e68f8c76bb26e700a?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAndrew | January 16, 2013 at 1:58 am | ReplyNsenene 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
  11. external image eec6aaeeb19e7b989f5b888a226b2dc3?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gbrett | January 16, 2013 at 10:33 pm | ReplyI 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.
  12. external image 790ebddcd6d41eb69e07538eb47c25b0?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAnna | January 18, 2013 at 9:27 pm | ReplyThese 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.

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  2. external image 9b1efccf7e4fe2e8728a1d8d9b1ae765?s=48&d=identicon&r=GHannah Deards | January 30, 2013 at 9:13 pm | ReplyCould 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!
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | February 11, 2013 at 8:02 pm | ReplyWe’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.
    • external image 7445c5622904132ca83e6ba15bbfeb4e?s=48&d=identicon&r=GC | July 2, 2013 at 12:20 am | ReplyTry the local pet store, they often have feeder insects

  1. external image f2286228dd73dff2989c47bd9ea7c702?s=48&d=identicon&r=GFreakazoid | February 5, 2013 at 10:42 pm | ReplyI 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!
  2. Pingback: List of Edible Insects | veilleagrosupdijon
  3. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | February 11, 2013 at 9:11 pm | ReplyRemember 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…. 🙂
  4. external image f821883ebc81838fc305f5cc2c01c12b?s=48&d=identicon&r=GA Mysterious Racecar Driver | March 10, 2013 at 10:40 am |ReplyCaught 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!

  1. external image 50bd222fc0c2f7a674df6046767e146b?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSomdip | March 23, 2013 at 8:36 am | ReplyI just fried an ate a bee that came through the window
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  3. external image ead14282cd2fc5e5e7420b5565aae526?s=48&d=identicon&r=Ginsects food | March 29, 2013 at 3:00 pm | Replyhi

    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
    and also you can order some sample

  4. external image b8c590b4428c563ac0bbd16dbd12875f?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAliqua | March 31, 2013 at 6:55 am | ReplyI 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.)
  5. external image b04304a9a3e8419bee7a186865801bb6?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gjeni | March 31, 2013 at 7:05 am | ReplyI 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 🙂

  1. external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | March 31, 2013 at 1:16 pm | ReplyAliqua:
    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.

  1. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | April 1, 2013 at 2:12 am | ReplyAquatics often taste like their water. Make sure it the cleanest of water. The mousie grubs i ate tasted fairly nasty.

  1. external image 348110b813ff20190f0280347c97afd4?s=48&d=identicon&r=Ghunter | April 8, 2013 at 12:33 am | ReplyI 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

  1. Pingback: When food is needed and survival is on the line, eat a bug. | Geekation, Geeks go here
  2. external image 36a5817bac03f02ed3d733bfe00d90db?s=48&d=identicon&r=GTodd Price | April 14, 2013 at 12:24 am | ReplyDo vegetarians eat bugs?

    Do vegans eat bugs?

  1. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | April 15, 2013 at 12:44 am | ReplyI 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.
    • external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | April 15, 2013 at 2:15 am | ReplyYeah, 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.

  1. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | April 15, 2013 at 8:44 pm | Replyand simmered, then dehydrated, squash bugs are excellent with no flavoring at all.
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  3. external image 34a5ae8d4cd7a7eb64772085deeb2fe8?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gnatalie | May 15, 2013 at 11:49 am | ReplyHi guys, does any one know how many calories in a tarantula? or in wood eating larvae please email me on thanks
  4. Pingback: 5 Bugs You Should Eat To Fight World Hunger | Care2 Causes
  5. external image a2fedda8833d95070b29d721072fccec?s=48&d=identicon& | May 18, 2013 at 2:34 pm | ReplyI would try the grub and larva ones, definitely NOT the roaches or centipedes, and nothing with wings or legs.
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  7. external image 2134aba3dd4adc1e3b45374d61f516ba?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gbob | May 21, 2013 at 3:49 am | ReplyI 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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  9. external image e2ba18d164317dc989c3879c83040fc8?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gdotun55 | May 28, 2013 at 6:55 am | ReplyWe should leave the tarantulas out of this 🙂
  10. external image 46750a9e8c705ff794d8461ef41b0c82?s=48&d=identicon&r=G219jm | June 6, 2013 at 1:32 pm | ReplyTHIS LOOKES STARNGE, HOW CAN PEOPLE DO THIS



  11. external image a1f24749e91500469fa122d14365a608?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gladybird68 | June 9, 2013 at 1:27 pm | ReplyI would like to try.Any restaurant suggestion

    around Oxford or London for insects eating?

  12. external image 82ac1abdd1475833c9f94adf8704b8b6?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKat | June 16, 2013 at 7:10 pm | ReplyDo 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. 🙂
  13. external image ac18f86b36c6650f68d53221edb1a91e?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJose Maria Nieva Toppa | June 18, 2013 at 12:50 am | Replyare BSF larvae edible after cooking?

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  2. external image d6b67e4ab33a6b4a7eee8721d5ed5c08?s=48&d=identicon&r=GBarbara Morse | July 4, 2013 at 4:11 am | ReplyAre moths edible?
  3. external image 76e58032d449852b32db96eab74adf01?s=48&d=identicon&r=GVatimon Washakit | July 10, 2013 at 8:10 pm | ReplyI 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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  5. external image 48cdbcf99bc9be9b8d208154a61cc8b6?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSimon | August 10, 2013 at 8:39 am | ReplyHi,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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  7. Pingback: Everybody eats…. potato soup! | Hofemergencyfoodassistance's Blog
  8. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | August 30, 2013 at 1:04 pm | ReplyWow, 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!
  9. external image d4184c43429ab0ad2ea2928e1108a670?s=48&d=identicon&r=GMartin Campbell | September 3, 2013 at 2:35 pm | ReplyI’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?
  10. external image 2f24eb5f77fcdf3a91f626a9043c0769?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChelsea | September 3, 2013 at 7:51 pm | ReplyWhat kind of walking stick is that ? It’s huge !!!!
  11. external image 5fdc1a225a376556021cb19303c34915?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAsh | September 7, 2013 at 11:47 pm | ReplyPaul, 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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  14. external image 0611091463db965f94529233a44dcad9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GZeke Gunty | September 17, 2013 at 3:31 am | ReplyMmmmmm, yum!
  15. external image 51976df4407aa2bae9c5d11509249e2c?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDavid T | September 22, 2013 at 11:44 am | ReplyWhen in Malawi last December, the flies shown in the image:
    external image PC120004.JPG
    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.
  16. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | September 23, 2013 at 7:54 pm | ReplyMaybe ‘called’ flies, but this is a termite. And yes! Eat ‘em up!
  17. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Dc4e240e2561c1283ae791dd73ae7c892&resize=48%2C48David Fankhauser | September 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm | ReplyThank 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.

  18. external image bfef14d06925371dca12e990a4d35b2c?s=48&d=identicon&r=GCSK | September 24, 2013 at 8:19 pm | Replycan you any kind of grasshoppers, also what about black crickets?
  19. external image 71a722c9c3c6234e3e841d312459f383?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAdebayo | September 27, 2013 at 2:32 pm | ReplyAll what God created are good
  20. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | September 27, 2013 at 8:40 pm | ReplyI 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. 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”.
  21. external image 51976df4407aa2bae9c5d11509249e2c?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDavid F | September 28, 2013 at 11:17 am | ReplyThanks 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?
  22. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D722f52bba07030af78b677900aad1e68&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | September 29, 2013 at 2:19 am | ReplyI 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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  24. external image 233ad51a21fc2225fff97f149f1b61f5?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gme2 | October 9, 2013 at 9:51 am | ReplyMealworm pupae look more appetizing to me than the mealworms themselves, can the pupae be eaten as well? Any pointers on how to cook them?
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | October 10, 2013 at 4:50 am | ReplyI 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!
      • external image 233ad51a21fc2225fff97f149f1b61f5?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gme2 | October 23, 2013 at 8:59 am |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 😉
  1. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | October 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm | ReplyMealworm pupae, yes! There’s dispute, however, about the adult beetles.
  2. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | October 12, 2013 at 9:46 pm | ReplyI 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.
  3. Pingback: You should start eat bugs….. | Safwan@Chip
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  7. external image bd759d12248c40be05ba558ef5408fe2?s=48&d=identicon&r=Grodent | November 14, 2013 at 5:55 am | Replycan anyone tell me if rhaphidophoridae or the cave cricket is edible? they are extremely abundant and easy to cultivate (accidental discovery)

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  2. external image 113ec286de5c64b6d9e8a611af4262f4?s=48&d=identicon&r=GBrooks | November 21, 2013 at 9:08 pm | Replyweird and creepy:)
  3. external image 2551575c1079e5bdd46c92550daca130?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gpatricia | November 25, 2013 at 5:56 am | ReplyI 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
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | December 10, 2013 at 9:08 pm | ReplyMight 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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  4. external image 099bf9373ee018456469b7d80dbf23e7?s=48&d=identicon&r=GGrandpa Patrick | December 19, 2013 at 11:10 pm | ReplyI’m trying to help a little girl in southern Mali. What insects are available there that will give her protein she needs badly?

    Grandpa Patrick

  1. external image 941697347e6c57db405cab449ecdd76a?s=48&d=identicon&r=GCSC | December 24, 2013 at 4:25 am | ReplyGet used to seeing this… it may be our future protein source. And I don’t mean centuries in the future. Decades rather.
  2. external image 79ce99bc3e3f324baacdaeb602dc009a?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAdepetu Yinka | December 31, 2013 at 3:09 pm | ReplyInteresting
  3. external image fe357566463e5c19b6bc8a915c10d91d?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJami Blue | January 6, 2014 at 12:44 am | ReplyHi,

    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

    Jami Blue

  1. external image 290a2a7e0cdb6c034b7116bba505dcd0?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gsofia | January 7, 2014 at 8:18 am | ReplyInteresting 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.

    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | January 7, 2014 at 6:57 pm | ReplyWhat 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.

  1. external image 4afa08135fc2dc8d29553016be5ca17d?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPascal | January 9, 2014 at 9:33 am | Replyhi i like your site
  2. external image 79bc67250a5c467bfce925fa21386396?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJohn Ruggiero | January 9, 2014 at 9:39 am | ReplyI don’t like liberty!
  3. external image 4afa08135fc2dc8d29553016be5ca17d?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gpbauer13 | January 9, 2014 at 9:45 am | Replyi love bugs
  4. external image 6e64c07f7b828d2da2e2bd265e3ccc3d?s=48&d=identicon&r=GJessica | January 20, 2014 at 4:21 am | ReplyWhat is the best way to clean insects? Or is it as easy as… well washing your vegetables.

  1. external image 70cda5f660f0925e183498a68c4aac80?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKaylee | January 20, 2014 at 9:28 pm | ReplyGGGGGGGRRRRRRRRROOOOOOOOOOSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS
  2. external image 3484a709764df5abf0b3f9790fe841b7?s=48&d=identicon&r=Grabba | February 11, 2014 at 6:30 pm | ReplyThis will be the most DisGUsting thing in my life I hate bugs even I tried eat one I throw up
  3. external image 28ef6a7e6237fd5b6825a13a828481e8?s=48&d=identicon&r=Glala | February 12, 2014 at 7:38 pm | Replythis is so gross i will never
  4. external image 535aa8bbeec66e8bc4b5f2110b914fdf?s=48&d=identicon&r=GArrowBugBlog | February 28, 2014 at 5:56 pm | ReplyThis 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.

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  3. external image e547265e836d30d03498dedefe6b225a?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gmangyscavenger | April 4, 2014 at 4:47 pm | ReplyEating 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.
  4. external image 06c5463bce439eb2d1f13705654fdb26?s=48&d=identicon&r=GGrisha | April 6, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Replymmm the bugs are making me hungry!
  5. external image 24349db6ef487477c5a9bb1c1ec83cdc?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gpraying | April 7, 2014 at 4:23 pm | Replyanyone know if praying mantises are edible?

  1. external image 65a50219db5ad2f7718e335ebb60e11d?s=48&d=identicon&r=GAnnabeth | April 12, 2014 at 7:28 pm | ReplySooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo grosssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssss!!!!!
  2. external image 1aeb7180c45a2b2d8bd0b2c1fde3ed2d?s=48&d=identicon&r=GSuara zainab | April 23, 2014 at 9:32 am | ReplyWow! this is so interesting. As an Entomologist to be, am so excited
  3. external image 5e6b92732637d8eabc358d41f4cdbdc8?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | April 26, 2014 at 6:38 pm | ReplyMost 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.
  4. external image b73ac0b4e41d94b72bfb882906d7859f?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gtyler | April 27, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Replywhat about fruit flies and their larvae?
  5. external image 5e6b92732637d8eabc358d41f4cdbdc8?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | April 28, 2014 at 4:20 am | ReplyFruit 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!)
  6. external image 51976df4407aa2bae9c5d11509249e2c?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDavid T | April 28, 2014 at 10:42 am | ReplyI 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?
  7. external image 0aabb1a1431abb90342a8673eaaeb664?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gjeevitha saravanan | May 4, 2014 at 9:23 am | Replyirritating highly disgusting after reading this i could’nt have my lunch what a terrific food.
  8. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | May 5, 2014 at 12:59 pm | ReplyDaniella, if nothing else, Girl Meets Bug seems to be a good weight management program. 🙂
  9. external image a46c53270235b307c4edf374dd8b8698?s=48&d=identicon&r=GTed Luoma | May 11, 2014 at 3:01 am | ReplyI think I would have to pass on eating lice.
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  11. external image 680d0dff6d39ddbf8b0044dd652625de?s=48&d=identicon&r=Grandomuser2349 | May 30, 2014 at 8:10 pm | ReplyCentipedes, 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.
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | June 2, 2014 at 6:23 pm | ReplyIndeed, 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.

  1. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D4c2dd9a299341f8cf84a2649037be336&resize=48%2C48Julian Giraldo | June 2, 2014 at 12:48 am | ReplySo, 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

    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.

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  2. external image 9b1047e05f71c6e93eb42673036d55c4?s=48&d=identicon&r=GTony Cacciatore | July 2, 2014 at 10:43 pm | Replywhere 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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  4. external image ae1d6dd565b6ddde42fcc4ffadf61509?s=48&d=identicon&r=GLiz | July 15, 2014 at 10:56 am | ReplyAnother synonym for “pillbugs” for you – in Western Australia, we call them slaters, or slater bugs… 🙂
  5. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3D13e5fe6dda21861211db35ccd3ae926a&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | July 15, 2014 at 7:31 pm | ReplySlater bugs is a new one to add to my collection. Thanks, Liz!
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  7. external image 5b88408a59d94c55b00dfb19d20f9de1?s=48&d=identicon&r=GKat | August 13, 2014 at 12:43 pm | ReplyDoes 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?
  8. external image 6d3eb0ccd9f3155bb4a56fb9a4723749?s=48&d=identicon&r=GPaul Landkamer | August 14, 2014 at 7:35 pm | ReplyI 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.
  9. external image 0db2e73af1ab4fdfb986cacd7e78625f?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDelta Phi Pi | August 23, 2014 at 3:32 pm | ReplyAre mosquitoes edible?
  10. external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Dd4bf8351abebc735665208128833f637&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | August 24, 2014 at 10:17 pm | ReplyEdible, but they often carry disease –like just about any fly.
  11. external image 4826ab2ed2b08c0ce5af3750da0a90c8?s=48&d=identicon&r=GRachel | September 2, 2014 at 5:18 am | ReplyFinally 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?
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Dd4bf8351abebc735665208128833f637&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | September 3, 2014 at 9:00 pm | ReplySquash 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.
      • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | September 3, 2014 at 9:03 pm |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”.

    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3Dd4bf8351abebc735665208128833f637&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | September 3, 2014 at 9:34 pm | ReplyThinking 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.

  1. external image 79739d3a8b5b9702499d9fe754aacad2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GLakin Barton | September 10, 2014 at 7:13 pm | ReplyAre fire ants edible? …because I live in Texas, and there are tons of fire ants here…
    • external image 24c03a639e5625ad0abc4c880bfb14a9?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDaniella Martin | September 13, 2014 at 5:29 pm | ReplyFire 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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  2. external image d68ae0baae84706ba024ba9be7656787?s=48&d=identicon&r=GRobert Truman | October 16, 2014 at 3:43 pm | ReplyOne of the edible insects is the mealworm, does this also apply to the superworm (zophobas morio)?

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  2. external image 55a5be301a3cfb13f478730c08c0230b?s=48&d=identicon&r=GBM2011 | November 16, 2014 at 3:51 am | ReplySo…. 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.

  3. external image ddb4f356357e079f6269ec5821ec9a98?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gumber | November 28, 2014 at 3:00 am | ReplyAnybody 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.
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | January 11, 2015 at 3:50 am | ReplyI’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.

  1. external image d346a51527b4ceba7ab6153a5e72ea1a?s=48&d=identicon&r=Gkawai | December 11, 2014 at 1:23 am | Replyits good.
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  3. external image e975088319784f5eabced8834368d491?s=48&d=identicon&r=GDebra Men-Hai | January 10, 2015 at 11:48 am | ReplyThis makes me squirm because I Absalom hate bugs plus this really helped me with my homework but are there any you should avoid eating?
    • external image picture?q=type%3Dlarge%26_md5%3De82f1c29d844f610412d397aa611149b&resize=48%2C48Paul Landkamer | January 11, 2015 at 3:47 am | ReplyQuite 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.
    • external image 7b54abbda432661a40dcf367ab338ec2?s=48&d=identicon&r=GChuck | January 13, 2015 at 3:13 am | ReplyThere 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!
Chapter 5

At least 65 species of insects belonging to at least 38 genera, 26 families and 10 orders have been reported as human food in South America, as shown in the Regional Taxonomic Inventory below. Unfortunately, the specific taxonomic identity is known for only 43 of the species. The generic identity is known for another 14, only the family identity for another 6 and only the order for 2 species. For a number of reasons, including those discussed in Chapter 1, the number of species actually used is greatly under-reported. For example, Clastres stated that in Paraguay, the Guayaki eat the brood (larvae/pupae) of eight kinds of wasps, but Clastres provided the taxonomic identity for none of them. Similarly, Chagnon mentions that species of caterpillars are among the insect foods of the Yanomamo (Brazil/Venezuela) but gives no clue to their identity. In Colombia, Dufour found that informants could name many more edible insect species than were actually observed during her study. Informants could readily name 8 kinds of edible wasps and 10 kinds of edible ants, while only 3 species of each were observed during the study. Also, several kinds of caterpillars purportedly used were not observed by Dufour.
Regional Taxonomic Inventory (as of about 1996)
Taxa and stages consumed Countries
Beetles/beetle grubs Pan-regional

Bruchidae (seed beetles)
Caryobruchus sp. (scheelaea Bridwell?), larva Colombia
Bruchid (?) larvae Brazil, Venezuela
Buprestidae (metallic woodborers)
Euchroma gigantea Linnaeus, larva, adult Colombia
Cerambycidae (long-horned beetles)
Acrocinus longimanus (Linn.), larva Colombia
Macrodontia cervicornis (Linn.), larva Brazil, Guyana, Paraguay
Stenodontes damicornis Linn., larva Brazil, Guyana
Curculionidae (weevils, snout beetles)
Anthonomus spp., adults Colombia
Rhynchophorus palmarum (Linn.), larva Pan-regional

Elmidae (riffle beetles)
Austrelmis chilensis (Germain), adult Chile, Peru?
Austrelmis condimentarius (Philippi), adult Peru, Chile?

Passalidae (bess beetles)
Passalus interruptus Linn., larva Suriname
Passalid beetles, larvae, adult Colombia, Paraguay
Scarabaeidae (scarab beetles)
Ancognatha sp., larva Colombia
Megaceras crassum (author?), adult Colombia
Megasoma hector Gory, larva Brazil
Podischnus agenor Olivier, larva, adult Colombia
June beetles, chafers, adults Brazil, Ecuador
Family uncertain
Lamia tribulus Fabr., larva South America
Aquatic larva Bolivia
Simuliidae (black flies)
Simulium rubrithorax Lutz, larva Brazil
Stratiomyidae (soldier flies)
Chrysochlorina spp., larvae Colombia

Stink bug adult Ecuador

Membracidae (treehoppers)
Umbonia spinosa (Fabricius), adult Brazil

Apidae (Meliponinae (stingless bees)
Oxytrigona spp. (3), larvae, pupae Brazil
Oxytrigona tataira (author?), larva, pupa Brazil
Scaptotrigona nigro hirta Moure Ms, larva, pupa Brazil
Tetragonisca a. angustula (Latreille), larva, pupa Brazil
Trigona chanchamayoensis Schwarz, larva, pupa Brazil
Trigona clavipes (author?), larva Colombia
Trigona spinnipes (Fabr.), larva, pupa Brazil
Trigona trinidadensis (author?), larva Colombia
Bee brood Nearly pan-regional
Formicidae (ants)
Atta cephalotes Linn., alate female, soldier Brazil, Colombia, Guyana
Atta laevigata Smith, alate female, soldier Colombia
Atta sexdens Linn., alate female, soldier Brazil, Colombia
Myrmecocystus spp., adults South America
Ants, mainly leafcutter adult sexuals Nearly pan-regional

Vespidae (wasps, hornets)
Apoica thoracica du Buysson, pupa Colombia
Mischocyttarus spp., (stage?) Colombia
Polistes canadensis erythrocephalus Latreille, larva Colombia
Polistes pacificus Fabr. (= pacificus modestus Smith), larva Colombia
Polistes versicolor (Olivier) ssp., larva Colombia
Polybia ignobilis (Haliday), larva Colombia
Polybia rejecta (Fabr.), pupa Colombia
Agelaia (= Stelopolybia) angulata (Fabr.), pupa Colombia
Wasp brood Brazil, Paraguay, Venezuela

Termites Nearly pan-regional
Cornitermes sp., winged adult, soldier, queen Brazil
Macrotermes sp., soldier Colombia
Syntermes parallelus (author?), soldier, alate female Colombia
Syntermes snyderi (author?), soldier, alate female Colombia
Termes flavicolle Perty, adult Brazil
Termes destructor (Fabr.) Guyana

Caterpillars Nearly pan-regional
Hepialidae (ghost moths, swifts)
Species on bamboo, larva Brazil
Hesperiidae (skippers)
Genus?, larva Colombia
Lacosomidae (sack-bearers)
Genus?, larva Colombia
Noctuidae (noctuids)
Mocis repanda Fabr., larva Colombia
Spodoptera frugiperda (J.E. Smith), larva Colombia
Noctuid 1arvae (genera unknown) Colombia, Venezuela
Notodontidae (prominents)
Genus?, larva Colombia
Saturniidae (giant silkworm moths)
Genus?, larva Colombia
Sphingidae (hawk-moths)
Hawk-moth caterpillar Guyana


Corydalidae (dobsonflies, fishflies)
Corydalus spp., larvae, adults Colombia
Acrididae (short-horned grasshoppers)
Aidemona azteca Saussure, nymph, adult Colombia
Orphulella spp., nymphs, adults Colombia
Osmilia flavolineata DeGeer Colombia
Osmilia spp., nymphs, adults Colombia
Schistocerca americana cancellata (Serville) South America
Schistocerca americana paranensis (Burmeister) South America
Schistocerca spp., nymphs, adults Colombia
Grasshoppers, locusts Brazil, Chile
Romaleidae (lubber grasshoppers)
Tropidacris c. cristata (Linn.)(= latreillei (Perty)), nymph, adult Colombia

Tettigoniidae (katydids, long-horned grasshoppers)
Conocephalus angustifrons (Redt), nymph, adult Colombia

Hydropsychidae (net-spinning caddiceflies)
Leptonema spp., larvae Colombia
Dufour cited several factors that help explain the discrepancy between numbers of species observed and the numbers enumerated by informants. Data were recorded only on insect collections brought back to the village, so insects typically consumed (usually raw) as they were collected in the fields or forests were under-recorded; especially prized foods such as palm weevil (Rhynchophorus) larvae were often successfully hidden from investigators; the limited duration of data gathering did not adequately sample seasonal differences in insect consumption; and some insects were probably missed that are harvested only opportunistically or only under certain social circumstances or outside the usual resource area exploited for insects. Posey (Brazil) also stresses the point that insects and other gathered foods are often eaten on the spot by Amerind groups, and "the importance of such foods may be grossly underestimated" unless researchers constantly follow and record data on the routine and continuous gathering activity.
The observations by Posey, Dufour and others suggest that a higher proportion of insects are consumed at the time of collection, fresh and uncooked, in South America than in Africa or Asia. In general, based on studies in Brazil (Lizot), Colombia (Ruddle, Dufour), Paraguay (Hurtado et al) and Peru (Denevan), women and children spend more time than men in foraging for insects. Insects also comprise a higher proportion of the diet of women and children than of men. Men are more likely to engage in the heavier work of insect collection such as felling trees to obtain honey and bee or wasp brood, or splitting logs for harvest of Rhynchophorus (palm weevil) larvae.
Numerous references provide ample evidence that many of the insects were (and are) considered great delicacies by indigenous populations. Roasting is the usual method of cooking. According to Ruddle, the Yukpa of Colombia prefer certain insect foods to fresh meat. The Yukpa are discriminating in their insect choices, however; although dobsonfly (Corydalus) adults are abundant, weak fliers and easily caught, they are only infrequently used as food. Leafcutter ants (Atta), palm weevil larvae (Rhynchophorus) and bee and wasp brood (Apidae and Vespidae) are among the insects that are most notable for their flavor and quality, not only among indigenous populations, but among Europeans and other Westerners who have sampled them. Contesti calls the leafcutter ants, which are known as hormigas culonas or big-bottomed ants, a national delicacy, equivalent in price and gastronomic value with Russian caviar or French truffles, and states that the toasted ants constitute the highest attainment of Colombian cookery. For a sampling of descriptions of how indigenes relish some of their insect foods, see Chagnon in Brazil (honey and bee brood); Dufour, Ruddle in Colombia (several species); Schomburgk in Guyana (leafcutter ants); Clastre, Homer and Vellard in Paraguay (palm weevil larvae); Bodenheimer in Peru (caterpillar); and Spruce in Venezuela (caterpillar). For a sampling of personal assessments of flavor and quality by Westerners, see McGovern, Noice and Rolfs in Brazil (leafcutter ants); Bancroft in Guyana (palm weevil larvae); Merian, Stedman in Suriname (palm weevil larvae); and Southey in Venezuela (palm weevil larvae).
Hugh-Jones reported that, for the Barasana of Colombia, a considerable portion of the diet comes from insects, while Milton (Brazil) and Dufour (Colombia) found that insect consumption is somewhat influenced by availability of fish and game. Milton considers insect foods to be particularly important to the Maku from July to September when game animals are hardest to find, but insects were collected even when fish and game were plentiful, and the fresh weight of insects collected exceeded that of both birds and reptiles. Dufour found inclusion of insects in the diet of Tukanoans to be frequent and inversely related to the consumption of fish and game. Although fish was by far the most frequently consumed animal food, appearing in 88% of the diet records of males and 78% of those of females, insects were second, appearing in 26% of the diet records of males and 32% of those of females. Fish also contributed most of the animal protein in the diet, but insects contributed 12% in men's diets and 26% in women's diets during the May-June study period. Dufour estimated that, over the entire year, insects probably contributed 5-7% of all the animal protein consumed. Dufour also notes that the amino acid composition of insects is complementary to that in the dietary staple, cassava, which is deficient in lysine and threonine. The most important insects in the Tukanoan diet were those which formed large, predictable aggregations in nature.
While insects are of recognized nutritional importance in South America, and many are held in high esteem as food, there is much less information available on their marketing and economic impact. It is well-known that roasted Atta ants are sold like popcorn in the movie theaters of Bogota, Colombia, and Bodenheimer stated that the ants are a "national dish" all over the Andean region. Contesti states that a campesino in Colombia, by collecting and selling Atta ants, can earn during the three-month season the equivalent of a year of day wages. A pound of ants sells for about US $20, the equivalent of six days of work at the minimum wage. In addition to local use, some are exported to Japan.
Other references to selling are few and some of them are old. Sampaio (1894, vide Lenko and Papavaro (1979)), in Brazil, mentioned that Ica ants go to the markets and although formerly cheap are now expensive. Stedman reported in 1796 that the palm weevil larva was regularly sold at Paramaribo, Suriname, and Philippi in 1864, speaking of riffle beetles (Elmidae) which are used as a food seasoning and known as chiche in Peru, stated that "their commercial value is not inconsiderable." More recently in Peru (1987), da Silva mentions "large, oily caterpillars" being sold on small plates in the market at Iquitos. Also in 1987, Herman reported from Ecuador that adult June beetles known as catzos are caught by the indigenous near Zuleta and transported live to Quito where they are sold as a delicacy for high prices in the market. From these scant records, it seems probable that fewer insects are sold in the village and urban markets of South America than in those of Africa and Asia.
Of the edible insects in South America, the palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum, would appear to have the greatest mass-production and marketing potential. This insect has long been "semi-cultivated" by indigenous populations in Brazil (Chagnon), Colombia (Beckerman, Dufour), Paraguay (Clastres), and probably other countries. Harvest procedures vary slightly from one region to another, but, basically, palms are cut down and the logs left lying in the forest with the expectation that larvae will be ready to harvest from the decaying pith 2-3 months later. The 'heart of palm' is also an important food in many areas and is harvested at the same time the tree is felled. The Guayaki of Paraguay consider the felled trees to be private property with each man the owner of his larvae bed, and although the Guayaki are a nomadic people, they return to the cultivation area every 2-3 months to harvest the crop of larvae. As mentioned above, the flavor of palm larvae has been almost as universally admired by Westerners as by indigenous people, and not only in South America but throughout the Caribbean. Smeathman (1781), for example, wrote that the palm worm is "served up at all of the luxurious tables of West Indian epicures, particularly of the French, as the greatest dainty of the Western world."
There is another dimension to R. palmarum. It is a destructive pest of palms, mining the trunks of the trees and sometimes killing them. It also transmits the nematode,Rhadinaphelenchus cocophilus, the causal agent of red-ring disease (RRD) which may also kill the trees. Both insecticides and cultural control methods such as elimination of breeding sites by restricting physical injury to palms, control of Oryctes beetles, destruction of infested plants, and trapping the adult beetles, are used in efforts to control the insect. Morin et al (1986) described cultural procedures that have been used successfully in Para and Bahia, Brazil. As adult beetles are attracted for feeding and reproduction to the odor of fermentation emanating from wounds in healthy palms or from the decay of dead or diseased palms, all injured or decaying trees are removed and traps are constructed along the edge of a plantation from cut pieces of thinning, wild palms or uninfested parts of damaged or diseased trees. Trap heaps are renewed weekly, either by replacement with other palm pieces and burning of the old infested ones, or by spraying with palm sap to maintain attractiveness and also with 0.15% methomyl to prevent the piles from becoming a source of infection.
According to Schuiling and van Dinther (1981), at the Paricatuba oilpalm estate in Para, Brazil, palm losses from RRD were held to 1.14% of palms in the susceptible age group through a program of phytosanitation. The cultural program was considered much more effective than insecticides, the efficacy of which, according to the authors, is open to question.
The foregoing led the author (DeFoliart 1990) to propose the hypothesis described below:
Palmworms would certainly seem worthy of wider publicizing as traditional cuisine of gourmet quality, the kind of delicacy that could be promoted as tourist and urban fare by the best restaurants throughout the tropics and subtropics, and eventually, maybe, even as an item for export. Could such wider promotion and use create more opportunities for employment and entrepreneurship in the rural countryside? Could, in fact, expanded markets provide a basis for attempting to combine increased palmworm production with more efficient recycling of dead and diseased palms, and as part of reduced-pesticide integrated pest management (IPM) programs and disease control on coconut and other palm species.
Taking a cue from how indigenous populations have done it for centuries, could the trap logs recommended for pest and disease control, through a simple modification in procedure, be used simultaneously for palmworm production? The desired harvest stage is the late-instar larva. Studies in Trinidad (Hagley 1965), Brazil (Morin et al 1986) and Mexico (Gonzalez and Camino 1974) have shown that the egg and larval stages of R. palmarum last 2-4 days and 40-61 days, respectively, at essentially ambient temperatures. Instead of burning trap logs at the end of a week or spraying them with methomyl to kill the larvae, as suggested by Morin et al, if left in place for approximately 45-50 days, the larvae would be ready for harvest. All would be large-sized, few would have pupated and no adults would have yet emerged. Possibly, logs could be reused if desired by spraying with palm sap to renew attractiveness. If not, they could at that point be burned or otherwise disposed of.
Greater efficiency might be achieved by additionally seeding new trap logs with eggs from adult weevils caught in traps baited with coconut tissue. This should exert additional control pressure within the plantation, while producing a higher density of developing larvae in the logs, thus producing more larvae per unit of substrate, more efficient recycling of the logs and a reduced mass of material left for burning. Maharaj (1973), in Trinidad, described a simple aluminum trap that catches more than twice as many weevils as the conventional split-log trap and uses only about one-fifth as much coconut tissue as bait. To incorporate food production as part of weevil IPM as hypothesized, trap logs would have to remain in place about 7 weeks instead of one, and thus would occupy 7 times as much ground surface, but that should not be a huge problem in palm plantations.
Cowan (1865: 46), citing Simmonds (1859), states: “The Goliath-beetle, Dynastes Goliathus, is said to be roasted and eaten by the natives of South America and Africa.” Goliathus (= Dynastes) goliathus, however, and Goliathus is an African genus, so this record as given is invalid for South America.
The Atta ants which vie with palm weevil larvae as a widely favored food in South America are also important agricultural pests, causing damage amounting to hundreds of millions of dollars annually. The ants exploit a wide range of species in stands of natural vegetation, and among cultivated crops, Hill (1983: 405-406) lists Citrus, cocoa, coffee and maize as main hosts, while alternative hosts include cotton, cassava, mango, beans, sweet potato, groundnut, banana, pineapple, rice and wheat among others. The ants cut pieces of living foliage which they carry back to the nest for construction of fungus gardens. Some trees, especially cultivated species, may be totally defoliated.
The Atta nest is a slightly raised bare mound measuring up to 10-15 meters in diameter and with numerous entry holes (Hill 1983). Depth extends to 4 m underground. Queens live up to 20 years, and nests may contain up to two million ants. There are many interlinked underground chambers in which the fungus gardens, made of chewed leaf fragments and saliva, are located. The fungus mycelium develops on this organic base. More than 50% of the dry weight of the fungus is available as soluble nutrient and provides the metabolic capability of converting cellulose into carbohydrates which can be metabolized by the ants (Martin and Weber 1969). As commented by Hodgson (1955), feeding on a cultured fungus has achieved for Attaa preeminent position among rain forest fauna by allowing it to tap the virtually inexhaustible supply of cellulose in its environment.
Atta species produce sexual adults for a short period once annually, and the nuptial/dispersal flights occur usually soon after the beginning to the middle of the rainy season. After founding a new colony, sexuals are not produced until after the third year. The worker ants forage for distances up to 150 m from the nest, using a number of semipermanent trails leading from the immediate vicinity of the nest. Cherrett (1968) proposes, from studies on A. cephalotes, that a "conservational grazing system" is practiced, evening out the grazing pressure around the nest and preventing over-exploitation of the plant resources by providing periods of relief from intense grazing during which vegetation can recover. The abandonment of established trails and development of new ones, as was observed, eventually results in a fairly general coverage of the area surrounding a nest.
The clearing of tropical rain forest for agriculture upsets this conservational foraging strategy, Cherrett concludes. Citrus or cocoa, which are commonly planted in newly-cleared forest areas, present a greatly reduced availability of forage, thus increasing the grazing pressure per plant. As leaf-cutters keep returning to a particular tree until it is defoliated, in orchards an individual tree is more likely to be defoliated repeatedly and killed, whereas an individual tree in the forest can recover during the considerable periods between defoliations.
Atta species can be reared in the laboratory (e.g. Littledyke and Cherrett 1976), but their expansive nests and extensive foraging behavior suggest that they cannot be mass-produced economically under controlled or semi-controlled conditions. Also, as they are such serious pests of many cultivated trees and other crops, nests at the edges of forests adjacent to cultivated areas probably cannot be tolerated. Their presence within the forest, however, and their preservation as a source of food and income for rural people appears to be another matter.
Their ecological role in forests is also important. Lugo et al (1973) studied the impact of Atta colombica on energy flow of a tropical wet forest in Costa Rica, and calculated that the leaf-cutting activity reduced the gross production of the forest by 1.76 Kcal/m2 per day but accelerated net production by at least 1.80 Kcal/m2 per day through the return of ash rich in calcium to the forest floor. Nest refuse composed of old fungus parts, dead ants, soil particles and debris is deposited outside the nest by maintenance ants and has three roles: 1) food source for many species of insects in their early developmental stages (also visited by birds and mammals), 2) habitat for these associated fauna, some of which eat ants, and 3) a mechanism for fast mineralization of the forest. The authors cite an earlier study in which a refuse pile was found to contain 200 ppm of available phosphorus compared to less than 0.05 ppm in the forest floor away from the nest. The authors calculated that their study colony consumed 2.6% of the total grazing or 0.2% of the total gross productivity of the forest, and they comment that, "It is significant for a single species such as Atta colombica to control so much energy in a system as diverse as this tropical wet forest." Moffett (1995) stated that leafcutters remove about 15% of leaf production in rainforests, but they turn over and aerate large quantities of soil. And DeFoliart (1997) notes that many edible insect species enhance local environments in one way or another, but probably none on a more massive scale than the leafcutter ants.
In closing this overview chapter, it should be mentioned that the near absence, except in Colombia, of references to grasshopper and locust consumption in South America is surprising considering the importance of these insects as food in Africa and Asia. There is no dearth of species, and even the migratory locusts of the genus Schistocerca are well-represented. Gilmore mentioned that S. paranensis and S. cancellata periodically invade the Guiana-Brazilia region from the southwest and are "probably among the species that have been eaten." These are considered by Dirsh (1974) to be subspecies of S. americana (Drury), and both occur widely in South America. The typical form of paranensis breeds in Argentina, Bolivia, Paraguay and Uruguay, and it is one of the species in this genus that sometimes multiplies to great numbers, forming bands in the nymphal stage and swarms in the adult stage (Dirsh 1974: 12). Dirsh mentions (p. 12) that the labels on several specimens of S. paranensis in the Bruner collection, collected in Uruguay on February 20th, 1909, bore the following inscription: "By the billions a great pest in all Central Southern S. America, this year — eats everything except leaves of coffee plant." Considering the avid use of grasshoppers/locusts in Colombia (reported by Ruddle) and in Mexico, it seems probable that there is wider use in South America than is now known.
References Cited (References not listed here are listed under the appropriate country as referred to in the text above. An * denotes reference not seen in the original.)
Cherrett, J.M. 1968. The foraging behaviour of Atta cephalotes L. (Hymenoptera, Formicidae). I. Foraging pattern and plant species attacked in tropical rain forest. J. Anim. Ecol. 37: 387-403.
Cowan, F. 1865. Curious Facts in the history of Insects; Including Spiders and Scorpions. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 396 pp.
DeFoliart, G.R. 1990. Hypothesizing about palm weevil and palm rhinoceros beetle larvae as traditional cuisine, tropical waste recycling, and pest and disease control on coconut and other palms – – can they be integrated? Food Insects Newslet. 3(2): 1, 3-4, 6. (Reprinted in Principes 37: 42-47, 1993)
DeFoliart, G.R. 1997. An overview of the role of edible insects in preserving biodiversity. In M.G. Paoletti and S.G.F. Bukkens (eds.), Minilivestock. Special issue: Ecol. Food. Nutr. 36(2-4): 95-346 (pp. 109-132).
Dirsh, V.M. 1974. Genus Schistocerca (Acridomorpha, Insecta). Ser. Entomologica, Vol. 10. The Hague: W. Junk.
Gonzalez, N.A.; Camino, L.M 1974. Biologia y habitos del mayate prieto de la palma de coco, Rhynchophorus palmarum (L.) en la Chontalpa, Tab. Folia Entomol. Mex. 1974 (No. 28): 13-19.*
Hagley, E.A.C. 1965. On the life history and habits of the palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum (L.). Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 58: 22-28.
Hill, D.S. 1983. Agricultural Insect Pests of the Tropics and Their Control. London: Cambridge Univ. Press.
Hodgson, E.S. 1955. An ecological study of the leaf-cutting ant, Atta cephalotes. Ecology 36: 298-304.
Littledyke, M.; Cherrett, J.M. 1976. Direct ingestion of plant sap from cut leaves by the leaf-cutting ants Atta cephalotes (L.) and Acromyrmex octospinosus (Reich) (Formicidae, Attini). Bull. Entomol. Res. 66: 205-217.
Lugo, A.E.; Farnworth, E.G.; Pool, D.; Jerez, P.; Kaufman, G. 1973. The impact of the leaf cutter ant Atta colombica on the energy flow of a tropical wet forest. Ecology 54: 1292-1301.
Maharaj, S. 1973. A new design of trap for collecting the palm weevil, Rhynchophorus palmarum (L.). Ceylon Coconut Planters' Rev. 7(1): 5-7.*
Martin, M.M.; Weber, N.A. 1969. The cellulose-utilizing capability of the fungus cultured by the attine ant Atta colombica tonsipes. Ann. Entomol. Soc. Am. 62: 1386-1387.
Moffett, M.W. 1995. Leafcutters: gardeners of the ant world. Nat. Geogr. 188(1): 98-111.
Morin, J.P.; Lucchini, F.; Araujo, J.C.A. de; Ferreira, J.M.S.; Frasa, L.S. 1986. Rhynchophorus palmarum control using traps made from oil palm cubes. Oleagineux 41(2): 57-62.*
Schuiling, M.; Dinther, J.B.M. van. 1981. 'Red ring disease' in the Paricatuba oilpalm estate, Para, Brazil. A case study. Zeit. Angew. Entomol. 91: 154-169.
Smeathman, H. 1781. Some account of the termites, which are found in Africa and other hot climates. Philosoph. Trans. Roy. Soc. London 71: 139-192.
Chapter 5 of The Human Use of Insects as a Food Resource: A Bibliographic Account in Progress, by Gene R. De Foliart, posted on website, July, 2002.
—- – af
Professor DeFoliart

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Gene DeFoliart was a member of the entomology faculty at the University of Wisconsin-Madison for 32 years before retiring to emeritus status in 1991. His specialty field was medical and veterinary entomology with research focus the last 25 years on mosquito-borne encephalitis viruses. He twice served as chairman of the Department of Entomology, from 1968 to 1976, and, again, from January 1982 through December 1983. Before coming to Wisconsin, he spent 8 years on the faculty of the University of Wyoming at Laramie. He received a B.S. degree from Oklahoma State University in 1948 and a Ph.D. from Cornell University in 1951.

Let's switch to first-person. I became interested in insects as high protein food and animal feed when I agreed to participate in “A Workshop on Unconventional Sources of Protein” held on the University of Wisconsin campus in 1974. A small sideline research program was initiated in 1978, the first objective of which was to determine the value of Mormon crickets (Anabrus simplex) as a high-protein source for poultry. I continued to conduct a sideline research program on the nutritional value of insects until my retirement. The nutritional studies were conducted in collaboration with Professor Milton L. Sunde (Department of Poultry Science) and Professor Norlin J. Benevenga (Department of Animal Science), both of whom held joint appointments in the Department of Nutritional Sciences. Two Masters degrees and two PhDs were earned by graduate students participating in these studies. Technical papers reporting on the research are listed under “Published Research.”

In 1988, I initiated a 1-credit course on insects as food, and taught it in alternate years through 1992. Also in 1988, I initiated The Food Insects Newsletter, serving as its editor until the last issue (No. 3) of Volume 8 in 1995, when Dr. Dunkel took over.

Acknowledgments: In the history of the Newsletter and the history of this subject at the University of Wisconsin, many people have been important contributors. Here, I want to thank three people whose help has been indispensable in establishing this site: David Jansen who has handled all the technicalities in acquiring and constructing this site, Laura Herman whose admirable word-processing skills more than compensate for the editor's deficiency in such skills and Cortney Jansen who has scanned the Newsletter and is making ongoing corrections and additions.
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external image leaf_bullet.gifA Concise Summary of the General Nutritional Value of Insects
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The Food Insects Newsletter 1988 – 2000
The Food Insects Newsletter was published from 1988 to 2000, featuring fascinating articles about edible insects from all over the world, including instructions to raise insects, their nutritional properties, recipes, medicinal uses, and so forth. All thirteen volumes of The Food Insects Newsletter are now available reprinted as a single book. Click here to order!
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More Books about Edible Insects

**-Man Eating Bugs** by Peter Menzel & Faith D'Aluisio

**-Eat-A-Bug Cookbook** by David George Gordon

**-Creepy Crawly Cuisine** by Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, Ph.D.

**-Entertaining with Insects** by Ronald L. Taylor

Other Food Insects Sites on the Web

Man Eating Bugs

The Art and Science of Eating Insects

by Peter Menzel & Faith D'Aluisio

Forward by Tim Cahill
The title Man Eating Bugs makes this book sound like a bad movie about over-grown, flesh-eating bugs. The reality , however, is that this is one first-class book documenting the primitive and contemporary traditions of eating insects all around the world.

The color plates featured on every page of this book are simply stunning. With crystal clarity, authors Peter Menzel and Faith D'Aluisio take the reader around the world to witness the bug-eating traditions in places like Peru, Venezuela, South Africa, Botswana, Uganda, Thailand, Cambodia, Indonesia, China, Australia, Japan, Mexico, and even the United States. The text of the book is a narration of the authors' experiences in their world-wide pursuit of entomophagy.

Man Eating Bugs is more like a "coffee table" book than a how-to manual. This text is a tool to alter perceptions and increase awareness about the idea of eating insects as food. Whether the book is intended for yourself, a friend, or a class of students, the reader will be fixated on the photography. You simply cannot open and close this book without broadening your horizons about the world we live in. 1998. 191 pages.

The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook

33 ways to cook grasshoppers, ants, water bugs, spiders, centipedes, and their kin

by David George Gordon
The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook covers a wider range of edible bugs thanEntertaining with Insects or Creepy Crawly Cuisine, including grasshoppers, crickets, ants, termites, cockroaches, water bugs, silkworms, hornworms, spiders, centipedes, dragonflies and moths.

The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook also includes current information about where to order all the bugs you could ever eat, plus fascinating trivia some tips on how to harvest your own.

Gordon has gone to the ends of the earth, to his backyard, and under the refrigerator to find culinary inspiration, and now, after years of experimentation with entomophagy (that's bug-eating, for those of you in the cheap seats), he presents the results with relishŠor at least a light cream sauce.

Now you too can tantalize and terrify your family and friends with Gordon's one-of-a-kind recipes, including Really Hoppin' John (grasshoppers add that little extra kick), Pest-O (common garden weevils get their comeuppance in a delicate basil sauce) and Fried Green Tomato Hornworm (the Whistle Stop Cafe was never like this!)

Anecdotes, insights and culinary tips (such as the right wine to serve with scorpions) make this truly a book like no other. Follow the detailed instructions, and your guests will ask for seconds, just like folks at David's notorious cooking demos. Open your culinary horizons. Buy this book. Eat a bug. 1998. 101 pages.
The Food Insects Newsletter
Fried Grasshoppers: For Campouts or at Home

March 1998. Volume 11, Issue #1.

by Charles Griffith, M.S. Retired Clinical Psychologist; Private Consultant. Ozark, Arkansas 72949-8810
Editor's note: The following was sent to us as a Letter to the Editor. We thought many of you would be interested in Mr. Griffith's insights and so are including his entire communication unedited.

Having been an edible wild plant enthusiast for years, my wife and I taught classes on the subject at both Yellowstone Park where we worked for three summers in the mid-eighties and in Colorado. Our most recent classes (three successive summers) have been under the auspices of the Colorado Mountain College Rendezvous (a re-enactment of the trappers' rendezvous that were held in the Rocky Mountains between 1810 and ] 840). These events are held each summer in August, usually in one of the National Forests near Fairplay, Colorado, and sponsored by the Colorado Black Powder Association.

Often students want to know if one can survive on wild edible plants alone in an emergency situation. Since I have never attempted a survival experiment, I have not been able to definitively answer that question, but the more I think about the question the more inclined I am to believe that more protein and fat would need to be a part of a survival diet and thus plants alone would probably not be enough–especially in the Rocky Mountain west where even Euell Gibbons found meager pickings. Plants might sustain someone in the short run a few days or a week or two at most, but it seems that some harvest from the animal kingdom would eventually have to be a part of the survival diet mix unless lots of nuts were available (sorry about that, vegetarians).

In almost all of Gibbons' "wild parties" and survival outings, he included items from the "fauna" category such as fish, crayfish and other seafood, frog legs, game fowl, and some outright "varmints," such as an unlucky porcupine he found wandering out in the Colorado wilderness on one of his adventure trips. Although Gibbons never spoke much of hunting game, as such, he certainly seemed to have the knowledge and skill to quickly take advantage of a wandering member of the animal world. Although a porcupine is not a difficult animal to kill, he would probably have to have some knowledge of skinning and dressing the animal.

Recently, we found the recipe in a popular outdoor magazine from the early 1990s. It was a recipe for fried grasshoppers that was so good that we'd like to pass it along. It seems that grasshoppers are plentiful enough that in a pinch, they might be able to provide the protein portion of a survival diet, if a person can get over any "insect as a food" prejudice from which we, too, have been victim. We had been trying to work up to eating an insect for years. Finally, we gave in to grasshoppers. "Pretty good!" And they are certainly plentiful during a large part of the year and fairly easy to catch–another advantage.

First, catch a bunch of grasshoppers and leave them in a jar overnight to purge (if you're finicky). Then boil them for ten minutes, after which you can easily remove the large legs, and wings, too, if they are also large.

Next, in a bowl, beat one or more eggs, depending on how many grasshoppers you have, to which you add the little critters after removing the legs and wings. Then put the beaten-egg-covered "hoppers" in a paper sack or plastic bag which contains some yellow or white cornmeal and shake. Next, place the egg and cornmeal-covered grasshoppers one by-one into a small frying pan with an inch (2.54 cm) of hot cooking oil and fry until golden brown. After cooking, remove the hoppers from the skillet and place them on paper towels – to soak up any excess oil. Our family experimented by eating them plain, and dipped in mustard, catsup, horseradish, or honey. We could have tried lots of other dips, too, I suppose. We liked them best with honey; small wonder, we have heard that the "honey and locusts" that John, the Baptist, ate, was really a mis-translation of "honey and grasshoppers," Can anyone verify that?

Anyway, eating them fried and without any honey or catsup, etc., they tasted something like fried okra. We liked them well enough to have had them several times now. In a survival situation, we suppose one might want to just roast them on a rock next to a fire, unless you have some cookware and oil along. We would be delighted to see more articles or letters about abundant, easy to catch insects, or even more recipes for grasshoppers. We think that in writing "insects as food" articles, it is important to try to describe the taste of the various food items to help people get over their fear of the unknown. Please feel free to contact me: Charles Griffith; 8514 Beulahland Drive, Ozark, AR 72949-8810; phone: 479-667-9820.

Postscript: During this past decade, while the Griffiths were perfecting their fried grasshopper procedures, young son, Joshua was watching his parents. Now, as a 12 year old, Joshua (and his parents) find it quite usual for him and his friends to bring in a handful (or, perhaps, a hat-full) of grasshopper from the prairie where they live, for mom to fry for a tasty snack for them. Yes, many Euro-Americans, contemporaries of Joshua, are growing up with similar attitudes, grasshoppers mean "tasty snack!"
The Food Insects NewsletterFood Insect Festivals Of North America
November 1997. Volume 10, Issue #3.
Florence V. Dunkel, Department of Entomology, Montana State University-BozemanWho eats insects in the US and Canada? The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Approves of Insects in Processed Food up to certain levels. The US Military trains its people to collect wild insects in Survival Situations. Tens of thousands of Americans and Canadians consume insects each year at Insect Festivals.

During the past 10 years, 1988 through 1997, the editors and contributors to The Food Insect Newsletter have chronicled a steadily rising interest in entomophagy in the U.S.A. and Canada. We have noted the increase in space and time devoted to food insects in the newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV. In the past year, we documented a rise in the . publication of books on food insects, photography books, cookbooks, and others for the general public. We have described, in the U.S.A. and Canada, the rise of local insect awareness festivals. The festivals, themselves, are an interesting phenomenon that may lead to a lasting change in Euro-America culture. Often these festivals involve thousands of young people, primary grades through college. Many festivals are associated with Insectaria, insect zoos, and park reserves. Other festivals are associated with Departments of Entomology and national or regional meetings of entomologists. It is the involvement of significant numbers of young people that is, perhaps, the strongest harbinger of "changing times." The present young generation of Euro-Americans is growing up with the idea that some insects are beneficial and some are actually good to eat. Let' s take a walk through offerings at food insect festivals in the U.S.A. and Canada. The following is a representative summary of who i5 doing what at some of these festivals. What environments have spawned these festivals? What is responsible for their extraordinary, largely unpredicted, popularity?

New Orleans, Louisiana, The Audubon Institute.
Zack Lemann, Education Coordinator for the Termite Outreach Program of the Audubon Zoo. Audubon Institute, 6500 Magazine Street 70118 (phone: 504-861-2537 ext. 6170; fax: 504-861 -2426). Insects are clearly an interest of The Audubon Zoo. The Zoo recently closed the butterfly house that ran for five seasons and will soon be adding an lnsectarium (2001). The Audubon Zoo is located adjacent to Audubon Park on beautiful, historic St. Charles Avenue, across from the main administrative building of Tulane University. Although the Zoo is centrally located for visits by tourists, school groups, and families, a major part of the Audubon Zoo's education effort is outreach programs which travel to schools, community groups, festivals and fairs. One of the popular programs is the "Bugmobile" which contains live spiders, millipedes, centipedes, and insects and is sponsored by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) as part of the public education portion of a large, multifaceted grant dealing with the Formosan subterranean termite.

Food insects, as well as "zoo insects," play an important role in the new "insect focus" of the Audubon Institute. "Taste of the Wild Side," most New Orleans folk will tell you, is a well-publicized event in Spring of each year. New Orleans has a mixture of many cultures, each of which places a strong emphasis on food that is part of distinct cuisines, several of which are quite well-known, e.g., Cajun, Creole. These cuisines use a number of arthropods, such as "crawdads" (crayfish). Mr. Lemann has been expanding the New Orleans culinary repertoire of arthropods in several ways recently and would like to include the use of one of the new and most destructive pests in New Orleans, the Formosan termite. This termite is now threatening the old wooden structures of the French Quarter and the lovely old homes and live oak trees (100 and 200 years old, respectively) along St. Charles Avenue and other famous areas of the city. Mr. Lemann suggests to the city, "Why not eat them?" To introduce the idea of termites as a culinary target to New Orleans cultures, Mr. Lemann would like a more reliable, non-insecticide sprayed source and is hoping some of the Newsletter readers can point him to a good source of edible Formosan termites. It is probably not possible that the Formosan subterranean termite will become so popular for eating that local termite populations decline below the economic injury level.

This has happened with non-pest, food insects in Bali and temporarily, locally, with locusts in Africa. It is an interesting concept, managing pest insects by developing them into a sought-after delicacy.

Food insect festivals are an excellent way to introduce new culinary ideas. Originally, the Audubon Institute organized an annual event called "The Incredible Edible Insect." Over I ,000 people attended each year it was offered (1997 and 1998). The Edible Insect Event was held at the Louisiana Nature Center (operated by the Audubon Institute) located in the eastern area of New Orleans, near Lake Pontchartrain and 10 miles from downtown. These "wild" (not currently raised for food) cookery events were held in June. The first year, 7 insect dishes were offered. The second year, 10 dishes were presented. These included: Jambalaya with crickets and mealworms (with rice, tomato paste, and celery); Toffee Surprise with chopped roasted mealworms; Cricket (roasted) Pancakes (Mr. Lemann calls them fritters); Mealworm Minestrone (from Taylor and Carter' s cookbook Entertaining with Insects, 1992,160 pp.); and chocolate-covered roasted crickets. The first year, Mr. Lemann's crew did "Crawlines," similar to New Orleans pralines (pronounced "prawleens") but with mealworms. This is quite a difficult dish to prepare since the sugar has to be cooked to exactly the right temperature and then simmered until an exact consistency is achieved. For a precise recipe, see this issue of the Newsletter, recipe section.

In 1999, the Edible Insect event was combined with another annual event focused on eating "wild" (not raised for food) vertebrates. It was called "Taste of the Wild Side" and held in March for the first time. Attendance was only 600 this year, but the March date meant that the Wild Side was competing with many other festivals during this period of New Orleans' best weather. This year, there were the usual insect dishes plus wild honey, alligator, nutria, soft shelled crawfish, wild duck, and Louisiana bowfin caviar. Five insect dishes were used this year: chocolate chirp (This is a Zack Lemann name) cookies (house crickets, Achaeta domestica); poached waxmoth (Galleria mellonella) larvae on plain wheat crackers with honey; banana mealworm (Tenebrio molitor) bread; crispy Cajun crickets (A. domestica). After oven roasting, Tony Chachere's seasoning was added. A culinary cue gleaned from Zack Lemann is: when making banana bread, chop the oven-roasted mealworms instead of putting them in the batter whole. Chopped mealworms make the slicing of the banana bread smoother. Banana mealworm bread was new this year. For many of the aforementioned recipes, see the recipe section of the next issue (Volume 11, Number 1) of the Newsletter. Note: some humans have mealworm allergies, even those who do not have a reaction to other insects, crabs, shrimp and other arthropods [Frey et al. l 996, Allergy and Asthma Proc. 17:215-219].

New Orleans, Louisiana, The Jonathan Ferrara Gallery. (Note: Because of the late printing of this 1997 issue, we are accurately able to "predict" future events. The art gallery feast is one of these predictions.) Art galleries are an unusual place to encounter an insect feast. In New Orleans, however, this has already occurred at least once. In spring 1999, The Jonathan Ferrara Gallery was showing an exhibit entitled "Carnivale Animale" by a local artist, Alex Beard. The art works were all animal-related. To increase attendance at the exhibit, the Gallery decided to offer an insect dinner. Zack Lemann (of the Audubon Institute) was engaged to plan and orchestrate the feast. Thirty people were served. The main course was angel hair pasta with peas, crickets, and ham in a cream sauce. A side dish served was sautéed mushrooms and mealworms in garlic and butter. For this mealworm dish, Mr. Lemann used the super mealworm, Zophobas morio. To the Newsletter Editors, this dinner menu sounded simply delicious. (Note: The Newsletter editors prepared the same mealworm dish, but with the smaller mealworm species, T. molitor, for the Entomological Society of America 1999 Pacific Branch, Eugene, Oregon, with rave reviews by many of the 50 entomologists present.) The Ferrara Gallery dinner was Mr. Lemann's first time preparing for a non-public food insect event. Mr. Lemann summarized these two experiences, the public festival and the "sit-down" formal dinner as follows, "For the dinner, 30 people came specifically to eat insects as the main entree for the meal and so it was significantly more special. The guests were specifically invited and it was not a "taste-if-you-dare thing." All but one were first time insect eaters, but it was a serious, dignified event. The five members of the Board of Directors of the Newsletter have each also had similar experiences contrasting the public festival and the formal dinner experience. They would underscore Mr. Lemann's statement. We would all agree that there is an important place for both types of events. Hopefully, we will begin to see more of the serious dinner events in the future.

Los Angeles, California, Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Ralph M. Parsons Insect Zoo, 900 Exposition Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90007. Arthur Evans, Insect Zoo Director (phone 213-763-3558; fax: 213-744-1042; e-mail;; WWW.NHM.ORG). The Insect Fair is an annual event hosted by the Ralph M. Parsons Insect Zoo. The Insect Fair began in 1987. The attendance began at 4,000 and by 1997 reached 7,000. Over the years, several vendors sold a variety of food insects at the Fair, usually in the form of candy. (Because of the late printing of this 1997 issue, we are accurately able to "predict" future events. This food insect demonstration is one of these predictions.) By 1999, the two-day event was attended by over 8,000 people. 1999 marked the first year actual food insect dishes were prepared. Zack Lemann (see preceding paragraphs) of The Audubon Institute, New Orleans, Louisiana, served as chef for this introductory event. There was considerable local media coverage (CBS, NBC, FOX ) for the 2-day event. On Saturday and Sunday 15 and 16 May 1999, Mr. Lemann gave two half-hour presentations (combined slide show and cooking demonstration) each day. An average of 250 people attended each of the four sessions. For these presentations, Mr. Lemann prepared crispy Cajun crickets and poached wax moth larvae appetizers (see the recipe section of the next issue of the Newsletter, Volume 11, Number 1). One day before the event was to begin, the Los Angeles County Health Department decided to require all persons preparing food to have Health Department Certification. This was impossible on such short notice, so the only people who were allowed to taste the insect dishes were employees of the Natural History Museum. The audience could only watch. In spite of these constraints, all went very well. At the end of the presentations, commercially-available flavored (barbecue, cheese, and Cajun) mealworms were distributed. Three hundred packages were set aside for distribution at the end of each presentation and they disappeared almost immediately. Art Evans indicated, when asked about the future, "The next time we pursue a food insect event, we will probably contract a licensed kitchen to prepare the insects off site, thereby alleviating bureaucratic health concerns." Note: in a future issue of the Newsletter, we will address health clearance issues for large insect feasts. Part of the difficulty is that prior to preparation, insects are considered meat and under the jurisdiction of the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) and when the insects are prepared as processed food, it is the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) that makes the rules. In this issue, we did review a book chapter on U.S. regulation of food insects. There seems to be a widespread lack of information on whose permission to ask for and when to ask. In Canada, the process for obtaining health clearance seems to be more clear.

Prior to and after the event, there were news segments that included the food insect portion on 3 of the 4 major networks. According to Art Evans, "Food insects serve to add to the "bizarre" and exotic image of insects at insect events, hence our marketing department has a lot of interest in promoting food insects as a "hook" at the LA Insect Fair."

West Lafayette, Indiana, Purdue University, "The Bug Bowl." For more information contact Jenny Franklin, administrative assistant for student services, Dept. of Entomology (phone; 765-494-9061; e-mail; This festival, was founded by Dr. Tom Turpin (phone; 765-494-4568; fax 765-494 2152; e-mail; in 1990. This event actually started as a class project, part of an insects and society course entitled "Insects: Friend and Foe" (Entomology 105). Public involvement, according to Dr. Turpin, was a nice surprise. The first public event occurred in 1990. That year, on the day news reporters had come to campus to interview Dr. Turpin about corn insects, his research/extension specialty, Dr. Turpin's undergraduate students were preparing for their class cockroach e~ent. During the corn insect interview, Dr. Turpin's students interrupted him numerous times to get assistance in marking their cockroaches for the annual Entomology 105 Roach Races. Somehow, the pending races made the local news, and that evening, 100 people arrived to watch the students race their cockroaches. It was the public response to this announcement that led to the idea of an insect-based, on campus festival. So the next year, 1991, a weekend was set aside for the event. This event was conceived as a family occasion and although school groups attended, no special invitations were sent to schools. At the 1991 event, food insects were presented as a demonstration. Specifically, spice cakes, prepared earlier, were given to the public for a taste test. In one cake, 1/4th of the flour was substituted with ground mealworms, larvae of Tenebrio molitor. Participants could not distinguish the mealworm cake from the cake without mealworms. In fact, in a more formal evaluation of the spice cakes, Home Economics professors at Purdue University preferred the mealworm cake to the spice cake without mealworms, because of the moister and coarser texture of the mealworm spice cake. Chocolate Chirpy Cookies were distributed to participants and other interested folks. From then on, students took over operation of the Food Insects Booth.

In 1992, The Bug Bowl was held in conjunction with the Horticultural Show. The kick-off event for 1992 was a gourmet insect dinner for the highest officials representing "town and gown" or community and University leadership. The mayors of Lafayette and West Lafayette, the Dean and vice-president for Academic affairs and other community and University leaders attended the dinner. Preparing the dinner for these dignitaries was Chef Hurbert Schmeider, the chair of the Purdue University Department of Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional, and Tourism Management (School of Consumer and Family Sciences). Head waiter was Dr. Chris Oseto, Chair of the Department of Entomology, Purdue University. Pure beeswax candles contributed to the ambiance. There were other special "kick-off" events to open the festival in later years. At least 2 of the 9 years of the festival, Chef Schmeider, and several other chefs from the University Union facility organized a food insect cook-off the night before the Bug Bowl opened. Entomologists were involved, but the judging was done by professional chefs from the community.

After 1992, the combined events of the Entomology and Horticulture Departments were billed as "Spring Fest." Food insects are now served continuously during the fair at one of the stations in the food booth, located on State Street in front of the Agriculture Administration Building. Items at the Food Booth are free and servings are designed just for tasting not for satisfying large appetites. The Bug Bowl now receives national and international coverage through the Cable News Network (CNN) and International wire services. (See also Vol. 10, No. 1. page 7.)

Because of the late printing of this issue, we are able to predict the following: In 1999, 11,000 people attended the Bug Bowl, even though the weather provided 2 cold and rainy spring days [April 17- 18] . For this event, the Purdue group served Chex mix with wax moth larvae, chocolate chirpy cookies with dry-roasted crickets, Chinese stir fry with mealworms, Tenebrio molitor, in soufflé cups. Fest organizers estimated that about one-third of the crowd stopped by the food insect booth. Faculty and students participated in this booth. Insects were obtained from Rainbow Mealworms and standard Health Service Procedures were followed. Apparently the same rules for handling hot-dogs at an outdoor festival apply to handling food insects. Recipes are handed out at the booth. Chinese stir fry was made in the food booth as an informal cooking demonstration. Cookies and the Chex mix were prepared prior to the festivities. New persons involved with putting on the Bug Bowl were amazed at the large number of people who tried the food insect items and that there always seemed to be a line at the booth. The booth was open continuously throughout the event. In addition to the free items at the Food Insect Booth, students in entomology (The Thomas Say Society) sell chocolate crickets as a fund raiser. Students use dry-roasted crickets and dip them in chocolate. In 1998 and 1999, this project netted $1,000 per year.

Raleigh, North Carolina, North Carolina Museum of Natural History is the site of a festival called "The Bug Fest." The first of these annual events was held in 1995. At the second annual such event, one impressionable guest, David George Gordon, was so moved that he later wrote The The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook (see book review Volume 11, Number 2, July 1998).- The Department of Entomology at North Carolina State University also assists in the event. For the involvement of the University, contact Dr. Ron Kuhr phone: 919-515-2745; e-mail: or the Department of Entomology phone 919-515-7746 The Museum has had elaborate food insect dishes for the last few years. At "The Bug Fest," participants can buy meals rather than just taste a small sample as in the Purdue Bug Bowl.

Montreal, Canada, The Insectarium, Insectarium de Montreal, 4S81 rue Sherbrooke est, Montreal, HlX 2B2 Canada. Marjolaine Giroux is the Coordinator of the Insect Tasting Event and an Entomologist with the Educational Service of the Insectarium, phone: 514-872 0663; fax: 514-872-0662; e-mail: The lnsectarium, largest in North America, was the first North American Institution whose food insects festivals, called "Insect Tastings," achieved 5 digit attendance numbers on an annual basis. This festival has occurred every year since its inauguration in 1993. Until 1997, the festival was three weekends (six days total) and attendance was over 20,000 per year (for additional information see the Newsletter Vol. 9, No. l,1996, pp. l -2). In 1997, the attendance increased to a record of 25,000 people at Insect Tastings. Because of the late printing of this issue, we are also able to predict the following: In 1998, the attendance was again 25,000 people. Part of this phenomenal attendance may have been due to the Festival being expanded to sixteen days, two weeks and three weekends. The incredible Valentine' s Day Gala opening event of previous years had been abandoned by 1999. "Insect Tastings" of 1999 was advertised as an Oriental feast with mealworm imperial rolls, Szechuan scorpions, glazed cake with black ants and many other dishes. Chef Nicole-Anne Gagnon presided during the 16-day festival and on Saturdays and Sundays provided cooking demonstrations for guests at the Insectarium . Cooperating with Chef Gagnon was Jean-Louis Themis (co-author with the Insectarium of Des Insectes a Croquer: Guide de decouvertes 1997 les Editions de l'Homme (see review this Newsletter issue p.8) and a team of students from the Institut de tourisme et d'hotellerie du Quebec. In conjunction with the gustatory event, the film Banquet in Bangkok was shown as well as clips from the film Giant Tarantulas in which the Piaroa Native Americans in Venezuela catch, cook and eat the world's largest tarantula. Perhaps the amazing number of attendees at the 1999(27,000 people) festival was due to the advertising. Flyers to announce the event stated, "Our Insect Tastings are the perfect way to enjoy a new taste sensation, and to discover a protein-rich source of food valued in many African, Asian and South American countries. Step out of our North American culinary straitjacket and dare to try some Oriental style morsels at this year' s Insect Tastings." Admission was not charged for the event, only for admission to the Insectarium and Botanical Gardens: (in Canadian dollars) adults, $6.75; seniors and students, $5.25; and children, $3.50. Summer fees are slightly more expensive. This is the admission fee whether or not there is an Insect Tasting Event in progress.

In 2000, the Food Insect Festival will be open for school groups by appointment only from February 21 -25. Reservations can be made for 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1 p.m., and 2 p.m. The public will be welcome February 19-20 and February 26 to March 5, 2000 from 1 to 4 pm. Chef Nicole Anne Gagnon will again be creating the dishes. For the food insect festival in 2000, only 7 items will be chosen. Planning for each event takes an entire year. These 7 dishes for the year 2000 festival will also include some non-insect arthropods, such as scorpions from China as well as ants prepared according to Chinese culinary tradition. There will be a dish with phasmids (walking sticks), and other dishes with the more "traditional USA and Canadian standbys," wax moth larvae, Galleria mellanella; house crickets, Acheta domestica; and mealworms. The mealworms, in 2000, however, will also be somewhat innovative. Tenebrio molitor is the standby species and larvae are the "standby form" in Canadian and U.S.A. insect culinary tradition. In 2000, the Insectarium will use the super mealworm, Zoophobas morio, and the pupal stage only. It is possible that this item will become a new U.S.A./Canadian standby since it overcomes small size and heavy sclerotization (chitin) problems.

The seventh dish that will make the final selection will be either locusts or African caterpillars, the mopane. The choice will depend on availability. In the past, migratory locusts, Locusta migratoria, were an outstanding favorite of the public. The Insectarium obtained the locusts as a byproduct of scientific research in Ontario, but with changing research priorities, these are no longer available. Large quantities of mass-reared food insects is a perennial problem in the USA and Canada. In this second decade of existence, a new function of the Newsletter may be to serve as a clearing house for commercial insect suppliers and directors of large events such as the Montreal festival. The Insectarium has served mopane twice in the past, each time they were brought to Montreal in a dried form from Africa by an entomologist. It is really only possible if someone hand carries them into Canada (or the USA). The Chef for the Insectarium event served them both re-hydrated and dry. Re-hydrated, it was soft and somewhat juicy in the interior. When dry, some people thought it tasted like wood. Some people really liked them re-hydrated, some specifically preferred it dry, and some people did not like it. It sounds as if mopane are like any specialty food such as escargot, oysters, mussels, and scallops. Some people like them very much and some do not.

Finding appropriate insects for such a large festival can be a monumental problem. Those involved with planning the Montreal food insect festival always need new insects for their tasting event. For several years, the Nepalese dish, Bacuti was served. Bee brood (=the larvae and pupae of bees still in the comb), which this Asian dish requires was difficult to work with but the bee keeper of the Insectarium staff had developed a method of squeezing the comb (extracting the brood), packaging it and freezing it. Now. however, this labor intensive method is too expensive. Wax moth larvae are used by the Insectarium when dry, actually dry roasted in oven just like crickets. According to Ms. Giroux, "Just eat it, it tastes like bacon; Salty." Termites would be an excellent addition to the offerings of the Insectarium . Apparently they are a lot of work, and, perhaps, difficult to obtain.

Insects served at the Montreal Insectarium are prepared with care by The Institut de Tourisme et d'Hotellerie du Quebec (ITHQ) in keeping with specific quality standards set by the Quebec Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food (MAPAQ). Every year, visitors consume an average of 100,000 mealworms, 60,000 crickets, 10,000 locusts, 10,000 honeybees, and 5,000 silkworm pupae at the Insect Tastings.

Cleveland, Ohio, Metro Park, "Bugfest" was first held in August 1997 (See also Vol. 10, No. l, p.6) in the Garfield Park Nature Center in Garfield Park Reservation. Entomologists served chocolate chirp cookies, mealworm spice cake and hot bug-and jalapeno dip. Cleveland MetroParks was the sponsor. For additional information contact John Stinson, Cleveland Metro Park, 4101 Fulton Parkway, Cleveland, Ohio 44144, telephone: 216-351 -6300 ext. 274.

Edmonton, Alberta, Provincial Museum of Alberta. The first food insect festival was held in October 1996 in conjunction with "Bug World," an exhibit of giant robotic insects. One thousand marinated crickets wrapped in bacon as well as cookies with cricket and mealworm flour were served (see Volume 9, No. 3, pp. 9 and 11).

Washington DC, Smithsonian Museum of Natural History also holds a "Bugfest." One of our new members alerted us to the event held on the mall. The Cajun fried crickets and mealworm caramels were outstanding we were told (see Volume 11, Number 1, Letters to the Editor).

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, The Insectarium, Jennifer Bush, Director (Phone 215-338-3000) has an annual food insect festival in January. The festival usually consists of three consecutive weekends. Items such as pizza and Chex mix are prepared, but due to Pennsylvania restrictions on any food prepared at a fair concession or restaurant, these items can only be demonstrated and not served to the public. To serve these items to the public, the same regulations that a restaurant meets has to be met by any group serving food insects to the public. The interesting item about this Insectarium that holds the food insect events is that it is housed and supported by an exterminating company.

Ames, Iowa, Iowa State University has had a food insect festival run entirely by the students.

Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, University of Illinois, Dr. May Berenbaum (phone: 217-333-7784; fax: 217-244-3499; e-mail: Predating all of these food insect festivals of North America was the Fear Film Festival, an insect horror movie festival with the usual munchable treats, peanuts and popcorn, in addition to food insects. It is possible that this festival was initiated in 1984-1985, the first of al I the North American (Euro-American, that is) that featured food insects. This festival has now expanded to include cockroach races as well.

The Entomological Society of America (ESA), (phone: 301 -731 -4535; fax: 301-731-4538; e-mail:; and What more appropriate gatherings at which to serve food insects than assemblies of members of the ESA! The first major food insect event that the Editor recalls at ESA meetings was the Purdue University Mixer at the National meetings in 1990 held in Indianapolis, Indiana. This event featured cricket hor d'ouerves of all kinds, including some cheese puff items whose unique taste and texture I still remember. Orchestrating the event was the Director of the Restaurant, Hotel, Institutional, and Tourism Department at Purdue University, Mr. Hubert Schmeider, who prepared the dishes in the hotel kitchen with his staff from the University. Also involved was Dr. Tom Turpin, Professor of Entomology, Purdue University and the then immediate past President of the ESA.

The next food insect event I recall at national meetings was a presentation I gave in the Formal Conference on Teaching (Reno, Nevada 1991). The presentation was at 8:30 a.m. so I chose a fruit-based dish that I developed, entitled "Curried Grasshoppers." The shredded coconut and raisins were a new taste with the excellent Bozeman-reared grasshoppers, Melanopus sanguinipes. About 250 people were present and a San Francisco TV station did a news segment on it, filmed on location (copies of this newscast are available for educational purposes from the Food Insect Newsletter). The next food insect feed of which I am aware was an address I gave for the Formal Conference on International Affairs (Nashville, TN, December 1997). The main objective of the presentation was to explore the dangers of not incorporating food insect issues into integrated pest management programs in countries where there is a food insect tradition (which is everywhere except the Euro American portion of the US and other European-based cultures). This symposium was attended by about 150 entomologists and we served grasshopper stir fry. The following day, I did a live cooking demonstration for Opryland Radio that aired during rush hour that day.

After each National ESA meeting for the past 5 years or so, there has been an "Insect Expo." This event, basically a one-day fair, generally draws 30004,000 students bussed in with their teachers from local elementary and secondary schools. Since the national ESA meetings rotate to each region of the USA, it is a new community almost every year. Usually a food insect booth is part of the Fair. Thus, this event alone exposes thousands of different teachers and young students to entomophagy each year.

Regional meetings of the ESA have also had their share of food insect events. For the 1995 keynote address at the ESA Southeastern Branch in Charleston, South Carolina, l gave a general introduction to food insects around the world while some of the students at Clemson University prepared insects for the ca. 250 entomologists at the opening ceremonies. The "chef" of that event was Mr. David Jenkins (who later became my graduate student and following his M.S. in Entomology became a Board Member of the Newsletter. Mr. Jenkins and his colleagues served waxmoth larvae (Galleria melonella) creole and grasshopper (Melanoplus sanguinipes) stir fry. This year, the organizer of the 1995 event, Dr. Joseph Culin, organized a food insect session, including a cooking demonstration, for a mini-insect expo for teachers following the Southeastern Branch ESA meetings (1999) held in Florida. David Jenkins, now a Ph.D. student at University of Georgia was also involved in this presentation.

Invertebrates in Captivity (Robin Roche, organizer of food insect portion of meetings, phone: 602-621-1153) is an organization of professionals who raise insects, generally for zoo exhibits, insectaria, park reserve exhibits, and butterfly houses and who meet annually for information exchange. Also appropriate at these annual meetings is the cooking and serving of food insects. In 1997, Robin Roche organized both a pre-conference workshop in a professional kitchen for the preparation of insect appetizers (see Vol. 10, no. l . p. 6) and a formal symposium on food insects. Conference attendees were then able to sample the results of the workshop at the opening event of the conference . Newsletter patron, Dr. Mitsuhashi, was featured guest speaker.

Editors Postscript: In 1999, the Education Symposium of the Pacific Branch ESA held in Eugene, Oregon, had both the Editor and Associate Editor of the Newsletter involved in the Food Insect presentation. I gave a slide presentation and Robert Diggs was the "chef," assisted by students from the Department of Entomology, Oregon State University. We served bachuti (a Nepalese dish) for hor d'oeuvres. Dr. Lynn Royce, organizer and moderator of the event supplied the bee brood (a frame of wax chambers containing larvae and pupae of the honey bee, Apis mellifera). Under Dr. Royce's guidance the bee brood was carefully cooked (similar to preparing scrambled eggs). The bee brood was served on crackers with various garnishes including olives, parsley, and pimento. Mealworm tacos were the main entre. (The Associate Editor's success at preparation of this dish was discovered by fellow faculty at the Montana State University College of Business and so he did a "command performance" for one of their Fourth of July social events, thus illustrating the impact of these festivals and public social food insect events on informal cultural practices.) Dessert was Chocolate Chirpy Cookies (the house cricket, Acheta domestica, was the "chirpy") which I prepared the evening prior to leaving for the meetings.

In December of 2000, the Entomological Societies of Canada and America are meeting jointly in Montreal. The possibility is being discussed of having food insects the opening night of the meetings. Marjolaine Giroux, Entomologist with the Educational Service of the Insectarium at the Montreal Insectarium and member of the ESA local arrangements committee, will keep us informed of the specifics of this event. Visits to the Insectarium will be arranged for attendees and possibly some symposium presentations will address issues raised in this article about food insects, e.g., governmental inspection, reliable availability of large quantities through mass rearing, and the rapidly increasing interest of the public in Canada and the United States in consumption of food insects. Members are encouraged to contribute posters and papers related to food insects in the regular contributed sessions.
The Food Insects NewsletterRaising Mealworms
March 1996. Volume 9, Issue #1.(This article is adapted from a leaflet prepared by the Insectarium of Montreal for the public. The leaflet contains several illustrations and photos and is available free in French and English. It is a much-needed contribution and an excellent start in making food insects more of a possibility for the general public in North America. The leaflet contains exactly the kinds of information for which many of our U.S.A. and Canadian Newsletter readers have been asking. Another leaflet is now available on crickets and will be featured in the next Newsletter with appropriate recipes. What is needed next is a similar efforts on how to rear and serve home-grown waxmoth larvae. To request a copy of the mealworm leaflet, write to: Ms. Marjolaine Giroux, Insectarium de Montreal, 4581 Sherbrooke Street East, Montreal, Quebec HlX 2B2, Canada. Tel.:[514]872-0663.)

Partial text of the leaflet: Eating insects is a long-standing tradition in many cultures. People in some countries of southern Africa, for example, consume great quantities of different species of caterpillars. In Mexico, 'ahauhutle,' the eggs of water bugs, and 'escamoles,' black ant larvae, are traditional Indian dishes. Some species of ants are very popular with the inhabitants of southwestern China and in Southeast Asia, the giant water bug, Lethocerus indicus, is considered a true delicacy.

For many in the Western world, insects are viewed as a culinary curiosity, and are most often considered the last resort of people in other parts of the world who have nothing else to eat. It is true that in some cases people eat insects out of necessity. Generally speaking, however, it is the abundance, accessibility, nutritional value, and taste that makes insects popular as food. Insects contain proteins, lipids, minerals (mostly zinc, copper, and iron), vitamins (in particular, riboflavin and thiamine), and water. Chitin, the polymer which forms insect exoskeletons, is not easily digested by humans and thus thought to be a source of dietary fiber.

Quality Insects
Eating insects is becoming more and more popular in Western cultures. However, there is little information available on edible insects available in areas where these Western cultures are located. Since one cannot know under what conditions any insects one may capture in the wild developed, it is best not to eat them. They may have been exposed to pesticides, fed on and accumulated plant toxins, or contain parasites or bacteria. [Ed. If insects are thoroughly cooked, like pork or wild game, the meat will not transmit parasites, bacteria or viruses].

Although it is still not possible to dash to the supermarket to obtain that unique, entomologic addition to your menu, it is possible to raise your own. If you wish to add insects to your daily menu, or, even to have on hand for those special parties, the best approach is to raise them on a small scale at home. This will allow you to control the conditions under which they develop and reproduce.

Mealworms are one of the easiest insects to raise at home in the kitchen area. Raising your own mealworms means that they are available, year-round, at no significant cost, and ready to use at the last minute, even as the guests are arriving. Yellow mealworms, Tenebrio molitor (Family: Tenebrionidae), are well suited to this type of 'insect farming.' These beetles are small, reproduce quickly and are resistant to disease and parasites. In addition, they are simple to handle and require little space and maintenance. There are four stages in its life cycle. The egg is 1.8 mm; the larva grows from ca. 2 to 30 mm; the pupa is ca. 16 mm; and the adults are 16 mm.How to Raise MealwormsEquipment
Acquire at least 3 containers, preferably plastic. To provide proper air circulation and prevent condensation, punch holes in the lid and cover the lid with mosquito netting or cheesecloth. Suggested dimensions for this rearing container is 41 cm x 28 cm x 15 cm.

Feed the mealworms mixed grains such as: oat or wheat kernels (10 parts), rolled oats (oatmeal) or whole wheat flour (10 parts); wheat germ or powdered milk ( 1 part); and brewer's yeast (1 part). Brewer's yeast can be obtained at health food stores. This is an important ingredient, because it provides proteins and trace elements essential to the insects' growth.

To supply the water that these insects need to develop, provide bits of vegetables (cabbage, carrots, potatoes, lettuce, etc.) or fruit (mainly apple). Monitor this item daily to watch for visible mold growth. Immediately replace the water supply when mold growth appears.

When all is in readiness, obtain the mealworm larvae starter culture. This can be bought from pet shops where they are used as food for reptiles and amphibians. Bait shops may also have these available. If there is no such source in your area, national suppliers will fly the mealworm starter culture to you where ever you are. Some of these North American suppliers are: Rainbow Mealworms, PO Box 4525, Compton California; Yarbrough Bit Distributors, Route 2 Box 202, Heidelberg, Mississippi 39439; and Sure-Fire Fresh Bait RR 6? Calgary, Alberta, Canada. You will need about sixty larvae to start your 'farm.'

Culture Management
In one of the culture containers, place about 2.5 cm of the grain mixture, the mealworm larvae, and bits of vegetables and/or fruit (=the water source). As soon as the first pupae appear (this is a non-feeding and non- ambulating stage), transfer them to another container, an empty box. This will prevent the larvae from eating the pupae. For the same reason, the adults must be separated from the pupae as soon as they emerge from the pupal 'skin' (exuviae). Transfer the adults into a third box, also containing 2.5 cm of the grain mixture and chunks of vegetables or fruit.

The males and females of the mealworm are indistinguishable. They mate 2-5 days after emerging, and the female lays up to 40 eggs a day. The eggs take 12 days. on average, to hatch. The larvae molt several times over a period of about 10 months, until they reach 25-30 cm in length. It takes about 12 days for the pupa to complete metamorphosis into an adults. The adult lives, generally. only 2 months. All in all, at temperatures from 18° to 25° C. the insect's life cycle is about one year.

Culture Maintenance
Replace the pieces of fruit or vegetables when they dry out, and remove any dead insects. Stir the grain mixture from time to time to incorporate the larval skins, so that they will also be consumed by the larvae. Change the mixture when it begins to look sandy. You will have to remove the insects one by one or separate them using a sieve.

Helpful Hints
Clean the containers thoroughly before using them. To speed up the insects' development, keep your 'farm' at a temperature of from 25°C to 30°C Above 30°C there are negative effects on growth and development. Avoid placing the containers in bright sunlight. Keep the cultures in a dimly lit, dry, and well ventilated place. Keep the mixture as dry as possible to avoid mold and other undesirable organisms. Keep your insects in a number of different containers to minimize losses due to contamination or any other problem.

When to Begin Harvesting the Larvae
Since you are developing a stock culture and it is the larval form of this insect that is eaten, you would want to wait for the first generation after the parents to harvest any larvae. In concrete terms, this means that you must feed the larvae that you obtain from a commercial source until they become adults, allow them to reproduce, and then 'harvest' the larvae of the new generation. Make sure, of course, that you leave enough of the larvae to keep your farm running!

Preparing the Insects for Use
Before you begin whipping up delicious insect meals, you must take some precautions: Always kill the larvae by freezing them alive. About 48 hours is sufficient. You can keep them in the freezer for a few months if they are properly wrapped in airtight bags or containers.

Insects can deteriorate quickly, just like meat that is left out on a counter. Always keep them in the freezer until you are ready to use them. It is also a good idea to rinse them in running water before you cook them.

Never eat any insects of doubtful quality (rotten smell, unusual color, etc.). If in doubt, DON'T.

Start the Ovens
Dried mealworm larvae can be used in place of nuts, raisins, and chocolate chips in many cookies, bread, and dessert recipes. In powdered form, mealworm larvae can also replace part of the flour in cakes or pie crusts. If they are just barely thawed, whole, or ground, they can be added to sauces or used to make delicious spreads.

Mealworm RecipesWe suggest these starters to try out your new culinary raw material. The following recipe was developed by the Food Insects Newsletter Editor and taste-tested by undergraduate and graduate students at Montana State University and various dinner guests at the Dunkel/Diggs home:

Hot Mealworm Appetizers

5 ml (1 tsp.) cayenne
2.5 ml (1/2 tsp.) black pepper
85 ml (1/3 cup) mealworm larvae, slightly thawed
30 ml (2 Tbsp) butter or margarine

Place all ingredients together into a sauce pan. Sauté, stirring constantly, until the mealworms are golden brown. Drain and serve. Or, these may be added to a hot bridge mix available in many grocery stores. Or, one may add them to 'Party Mix' made from cold cereal squares, pretzels and nuts. The combination made at home to which one could add the mealworms for extra nutrition, fiber, and interesting texture is as follows: Melt 1/4 cup margarine in roasting pan in preheated 250°F oven. Stir in 5 tsp. Worcestershire sauce, l-l/4 tsp. seasoned salt, 1/4 tsp. garlic powder. Gradually add: cereals (2-2/3 cup corn squares, 2-2/3 cup rice squares, 2-2/3 cup wheat squares); I cup nuts and I cup pretzels. Stir to coat evenly. Bake I hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Spread on absorbent paper to cool. Store in airtight container. Makes 10 cups.
The following recipes are from: Entertaining with Insects: The Original Guide to Insect Cookery By Ronald L. Taylor and Barbara J. Carter. 1992. Salutek Publ. Co. Yorba Linda. 160 pages.

Mealworm Cookies


550 ml (1-1/4 cups?) all-purpose flour

5 ml (1 tsp.) baking soda

5 ml (1 tsp.) salt

250 ml (1 cup) softened butter

175 ml (3/4 cup) white sugar

125 ml (1/2 cup) crumbled dried mealworms

175 ml (3/4 cup) firmly packed brown sugar

5 ml (1 tsp.) vanilla

2 eggs

360 grams (1-1/2 cups) chocolate chips

Place the cleaned and prepared insects on a cookie sheet and dry in the oven for 1 -2 hours at 100°C (200°F). Preheat oven to 190°C (375°F). In a bowl, mix the flour, baking soda and salt. In another bowl, cream butter, white sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla. Stir in eggs. Gradually add the flour mixture. Stir in chocolate chips and mealworms. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto a cookie sheet, and bake 8- 10 minutes.

Mealworm Canapés


85 ml (1/3 cup) mealworm larvae, slightly thawed

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

5 ml (1 tsp.) tomato paste

15 ml (1 Tbsp) olive oil

5 ml (1 tsp.) lemon juice

5 ml (1 tsp.) red wine vinegar

plus: red wine vinegar, freshly ground pepper, loaf of French bread (baguette), finely chopped fresh parsley

With a mortar and pestle or in a blender, mash the mealworms, garlic and tomato paste into a puree. Stirring constantly (or with the blender running), add the oil, a few drops at a time. Add the lemon juice, wine vinegar and pepper. Cut the baguette into 1.5 cm slices. Under the broiler, toast one side of the bread slices, and spread the untoasted side with the mixture. Place the canapés on a baking sheet and bake at 200°C (400°F) for 10 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley.
Siu Mai


250 ml (1 cup) mealworms

4 water chestnuts

60 ml (4 Tbsp) green onions, sliced

125 ml (1/2 cup) bamboo shoots

1 egg

5 ml (1 tsp.) salt

23 ml (1 – I/2 Tbsp) soy sauce

30 ml (2 Tbsp) sherry

5 ml (1 tsp.) sugar

23 ml (1 1/2 tsp.) cornstarch

1 ml (1/4 tsp.) pepper

plus: wonton wrappers, dipping sauce (see below), vegetable oil

Place mealworms in blender, and grind until paste-like. Chop water chestnuts and add mealworm paste, green onions, bamboo shoots, egg, salt, soy sauce, sherry, sugar, cornstarch and pepper. Mix well. Fill center of won ton wrapper with 30 ml (2 tsp.) of mixture. Fold won ton in shape of a triangle. Moisten finger tips, and seal edges. Fold creased corners backward and secure the ends with more water. (They should now be shaped as a bishop's cap.) Place in skillet containing oil heated to about 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Fry for about 5 minutes. Serve with Dipping Sauce.

Dipping Sauce:

15 ml (1 tsp.) boiling water

15 ml (1 tsp.) mustard

15 ml (1 tsp.) vinegar

30 ml (2 tsp.) soy sauce

Add boiling water to mustard and mix well. Add vinegar and soy sauce. Stir well.

A Word About Leftovers

If you simply ordered too many mealworms for that special event, or your kitchen production unit has become too prolific, you can turn those leftovers into planovers. Place late instar larvae (older larvae, about to pupate) in plastic containers with small holes punched in lid. Cover larvae with wheat bran and place in the refrigerator. We have kept larvae up to one month in this manner, arrested at just the right stage for using in cooking.

Fast Snack Mealworm Alternative

If the recipes sound good, but you would just like a taste and not the initial effort of developing your own culture, you can order a new product from Hotlix (791 Dolliver, Pismo Beach, California 93449 USA phone (805)773-1942). Larvets, the original Worm Snax®, are mealworm larvae, now being sold roasted with barbecue, cheddar cheese, or Mexican spice flavors.—-

The Food Insects NewsletterAllergies Related to Food Insect Production and Consumption
July 1995. Volume 8, Issue #2.
By Joel Phillips & Wendell Burkholder
USDA-ARS Stored-Product Insects Research Laboratory
Department of Entomology
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Madison, Wisconsin 53706
Editor's Note: This is the third in a series of invited articles on potential hazards that could be posed by indiscriminate or careless consumption or handling of insects. We are grateful to the authors for generously agreeing to prepare the article under severe time constraints.

The cultural practice of entomophagy is old and well-established especially in non-industrialized regions of the world. Thanks to this newsletter, along with occasional anecdotes in the electronic and print media, human consumption of insects is a growing novelty in the U.S. and other nations not usually associated with the custom. Latter-day food insect devotees may simply want to sample species considered delicacies in other cultures, or they may be interested in the reputed nutritional or medicinal qualities of certain food insects. Regardless of motivation, initiates must first overcome the wide spread cultural taboo against the practice, that is, the idea that consuming insects is generally unhealthy. Proper methods of selection and preparation can largely nullify the health concerns associated with eating food insects. However, one matter will continue to nag the practice, and that is the possibility of allergies to insect derived foods. Virtually any food item can be allergenic. Yet, other arthropods such as shellfish (i.e., shrimp, lobster, crayfish) are particularly well-known for their ability to induce mild to severe allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Thus, the risk can not be taken lightly. The following is a brief review of the potential health risks associated with the production and consumption of food insects.

The popular image of insect allergies is that associated with the bites and stings of venomous species like bees, ants, and wasps (injectant allergens). Over one-hundred deaths per year in the U.S. are attributed to fatal reactions to arthropod venoms. These accounts make hot news, although the vast majority of victims suffer little more than short-term itching, burning and swelling. More common allergic reactions attributable to insects include those caused by contacting body parts or waste products (contactant allergens) or inhaling microscopic dust particles composed of pulverized carcasses, cast skins and excreta (inhalant allergens). Allergies caused by contacting or inhaling insect material can have significant health consequences in the home or work environment with symptoms ranging from eczema and dermatitis, to rhinitis, congestion and bronchial asthma. In severe cases, sensitivity to insect material is heightened to the extent that the victim can experience anaphylactic shock, a potentially life-threatening condition often involving rapid swelling, acute respiratory distress, and collapse of circulation. If possible, it is incumbent upon the sufferer to recognize and avoid insect allergens long before the onset of extreme sensitivity.

Since most insect allergies are of the contactant and inhalant type, it would be reasonable to assume that the greatest health risk associated with food insects would be to workers involved in their production. Owing to the small and obscure nature of the food insects industry, especially in the U.S., virtually nothing is known of such problems. However, there are many records of insect-induced allergies among workers in other enterprises. Workers shelling and cleaning walnuts in Bulgaria developed eczema, dermatitis and intense itching of the skin associated with exposure to the larvae and excreta of the Indianmeal moth. Although they are not insects, mites that infest cheese, bran, dried fruits, jams and sugars are known to cause transient dermatitis among workers when body fluids are re leased upon crushing. Records of inhalant allergies in the workplace make up the majority of case histories. In a NIOSH survey of USDA labs that rear insects, nine orders of insects plus mites and spiders were named as sources of the inhalant allergens. In his 1980 survey of insectary workers, Wirtz found that 67% of his respondents linked their allergy symptoms to direct or airborne exposure to lepidopteran (moth and butterfly) scales with emphasis on respiratory problems. Two labs had 53% and 75% of their personnel develop allergies to scales despite the use of exhaust hoods and protective masks and clothing. Case histories of asthma among Lepidoptera workers are numerous.

Reactions to Orthoptera (grasshoppers, crickets, locusts, cock roaches, etc.) are also common. In 1969 LeClercq reported that workers rearing locusts suffered rhinitis, itching skin, bronchitis and ultimately asthma in general sequence. Wirtz recounted one study of migratory locusts where all of the workers became allergic to the insect. The authors know of a researcher who suffered dyspnea (labored breathing) during a prolonged session of grinding crickets into meal to supplement chicken feed. Ominously, the three cases of anaphylactic shock reported by Wirtz involved orthopterans.

Workers exposed to the obligate beetle and weevil (Coleoptera) pests of stored grains and milled products have also been affected. Reports of skin itching, hives, rhinitis, dyspnea, and bronchial asthma are numerous and well-documented. Flies and midges (Diptera) as well as mayflies (Ephemeroptera) and caddisflies (Trichoptera) have likewise been implicated as allergenic hazards in the workplace. The above reports as well as others too numerous to mention in this article highlight the fact that insects and related arthropods pose a very real occupational health threat to workers repeatedly exposed to them. Coping with this problem can be an annoying inconvenience that has both economic and health consequences for the worker and employer. Although good ventilation, protective clothing, gloves and masks are common sense preventive measures (as well as being mandated by OSHA), reassignment of the sensitized victim to a non-threatening work environment is often the only viable remedy to the problem.

This brings us to the topic of ingestant allergens, that is, eating or unintentionally swallowing allergenic insect material. Since we are not a nation accustomed to dining on "bugs", direct evidence for allergies to food insects is practically nonexistent. Nonetheless, entomologists are sometimes treated to nebulous accounts of people getting sick after deliberately eating insects. Since most everyone can name at least one food that turns their stomach, it is not clear what role, if any, psychological factors may have played in these illnesses. We can, however, gain some insight from controlled experiments on human subjects done with preparations of common food-infesting insects. A classic study by Bernton and Brown in 1967 utilized dialized extracts of seven of these insects in skin sensitivity tests of subjects with and without known allergies. Test extracts included those of the rice weevil (Sitophilus oryzae), fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster), Indianmeal moth (Plodia in terpunctella), sawtoothed grain beetle (Oryzaephilus surinamensis), red flour beetle larvae and adults (Tribolium castaneum), confused flour beetle (Tribolium confusum), and lesser grain borer (Rhyzopertha dominica). Of the 230 allergic patients, 68 (29.6%) reacted positively to one or more of the dialized insect extracts. Surprisingly, of the 194 non-allergic subjects, 50 (25.8%) showed sensitivity to at least one extract. A total of 333 positive reactions were observed. The degree of overall sensitivity was practically the same for both groups, with the Indianmeal moth extract eliciting the most positive reactions followed by the extracts of red flour beetle larvae, red flour beetle adults, rice weevils, fruit flies, confused flour beetles, sawtoothed grain beetles, and lesser grain borers.

The question arises as to where upwards of 25% of the general population might have acquired sensitivity to these insects. At one time or another, most people have had to clean out their cupboard as a result of an infestation by one or more stored-food pests. If the problem is bad enough (and recurrent), sensitivity could be related to inhalant or contactant allergens of insect origin. More likely, however, these allergies are the result of ingesting small quantities of insect material in food over a lifetime. Despite proficient methods of production and storage, trace amounts of insect material are going to find their way into our food. The Indianmeal moth and its relatives, for example, can be persistent and notorious pests wherever candy is manufactured or stored. Stored-product moths will also attack flour, pasta and dried fruit. Grain beetles and weevils are a constant threat to stored whole grain, and who hasn't opened a box of cake mix or cornmeal only to discover flour beetles infesting the contents. We are not inclined to eat food showing obvious signs of insect contamination, but we are more than likely getting occasional small doses of insect material in food we consider wholesome. For most people this level of exposure is medically inconsequential . For people with known allergies, especially those of the food and insect varieties, the matter becomes problematic. In the case of food insects, does the sensitized person exercise strict avoidance of this novel cuisine or take his or her chances?

Perhaps there are processes that largely diminish the potential threat of food allergies. One school of thought suggests that insect allergens in food are deactivated by cooking, yet, when five of the aforementioned insect extracts were heated at 100°C for one hour, positive skin reactions were again observed, although they were deemed less vigorous than those of the unheated treatments. In a 1964 study, Bernton and Brown heat-treated the extracts of cock roaches at 100°C for one hour and found that these allergens likewise resisted deactivation. The idea that insect allergens are deactivated in the highly acidic environment of the stomach is also appealing until one considers the number of normally eaten foods that have been identified as potentially allergenic and whose allergens obviously survive digestion and cooking.

For most people, working with or eating food insects would pose little if any health risk, especially if they have no history of allergy to insects or other arthropods. Nonetheless, since sensitivity can be acquired with repeated exposure to an allergen, a measure of vigilance is in order. The person with known insect or arthropod allergies would be wise to exercise some caution. Cross-reactivity among related as well as taxonomically dispersed groups of insects has been established. There is also evidence for cross-reactivity among distantly related members of the Arthropoda suggesting the existence of common allergens within the phylum. So, if you are allergic to shellfish, you might want to reconsider the urge to "down " a plate of fried meal worms. As with anything, a little knowledge and common sense should keep you out of trouble.

Further Reading
Bauer, M. and R. Patnode. 1983. NIOSH, HETA, Report No. 82 002-1312. 36p.
Bellas, T.E. 1990. Occupational inhalant allergy to arthropods. Clinical Reviews in Allergy. 8: 15-29.
Brenner, R.J., K.C. Barnes, R.M. Helm, and L.W. Williams. 1991. Modernized society and allergies to arthropods. American Entomologist. 37(3):143-155.
Bernton, H.S., and H. Brown. 1967. Insects as potential sources of ingestant allergens. Annals of Allergy. 25:381-387.
Gorham,R.J. 1976. Insects as food. Bulletin of the Society of Vector Ecology. 3: 11 -16.
LeClercq, M. 1969. Entomological Parasitology. Pergamon Press, New York. 158 pp.
Phillips, J.K. and W.E. Burkholder. 1984. Health hazards of insects and mites in food, pp. 279-292, in F.J. Baur (ed.), Insect Management for Food Storage and Processing. American Association of Cereal Chemists, St. Paul, MN.
Wirtz, R.A.1980. Occupational allergies to arthropods – documentation and prevention. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America. 26(3):356-360.—-
The Food Insects NewsletterSome Insect Foods of the American Indians:
And How the Early Whites Reacted to Them
November 1994. Volume 7, Issue #3.There is a small fly (Hydropyrus hians), belonging to the group known as "shore flies" (Diptera: Ephydridae), that formerly bred in vast numbers in the alkaline waters of Mono Lake and other alkaline lakes in the California-Nevada border region. It was called kutsavi (or variations thereof) by the Paiute and other tribes. The fly pupae washed ashore in long windrows. J. Ross Brownel, who visited Mono Lake in about 1865, told of encountering a deposit of pupae about two feet deep and three or four feet wide that extended "like a vast rim" around the lake:

"I saw no end to it during a walk of several miles along the beach . . . . It would appear that the worms [read fly pupae], as soon as they attain locomotion, creep up from the water, or are deposited on the beach by the waves during some of those violent gales which prevail in this region. The Mono Indians derive from them a fruitful source of subsistence. By drying them in the sun and mixing them with acorns, berries, grass-seeds, and other articles of food gathered up in the mountains, they make a conglomerate called cuchaba, which they use as a kind of bread. I am told it is very nutritious and not at all unpalatable. The worms are also eaten in their natural condition. It is considered a delicacy to fry them in their own grease. When properly prepared by a skillful cook they resemble pork 'cracklings.' I was not hungry enough to require one of these dishes during my sojourn, but would recommend any friend who may visit the lake to eat a pound or two and let me know the result at his earliest convenience …. There must be hundreds, perhaps thousands of tons of these oleaginous insects cast up on the beach every year. There is no danger of starvation on the shores of Mono. The inhabitants may be snowed in, flooded out, or cut off by aboriginal hordes, but they can always rely upon the beach for fat meat."

William Brewer2, a professor of agriculture, had sampled kutsavi during a visit to Mono Lake in 1863. Noting that hundreds of bushels could be collected, he wrote:

"The Indians come far and near to gather them . The worms are dried in the sun, the shell rubbed off, when a yellowish kernal remains, like a small yellow grain of rice. This is oily, very nutritious, and not unpleasant to the taste, and under the name of koo-chah-bee forms a very important article of food. The Indians gave me some; it does not taste bad, and if one were ignorant of its origin, it would make fine soup. Gulls, ducks, snipe, frogs, and Indians fatten on it."

Somewhat earlier, in 1845, Captain John C. Fremont3 was impressed with a windrow of kutsavi which he described as 10-20 feet in breadth and 7- 12 inches deep. Fremont related an experience told to him by an old hunter, Mr. Joseph Walker. Walker and his men had surprised a party of several Indian families encamped near a small lake who had abandoned their lodges at his approach, leaving everything behind them:

"Being in a starving condition, they were delighted to find in the abandoned lodges a number of skin bags, containing a quantity of what appeared to be fish, dried and pounded. On this they made a hearty supper; and were gathering around an abundant breakfast the next morning, when Mr. Walker discovered that it was with these, or a similar worm, that the bags had been filled. The stomachs of the stout trappers were not proof against their prejudices, and the repulsive food was suddenly rejected."

The Mormon cricket, Anabrus simplex (Orthoptera: Tettigoniidae), was another important insect food of the Indians, all over the West. It is not really a cricket, being more closely related to katydids. It is a large insect, about two inches in length, wingless, and it travels in large, dense bands. Bands may be more than a mile wide and several miles long, and with 20-30 or more crickets per square yard. It is sometimes damaging to crops or range vegetation and has been a pest target of the U.S. Department of Agriculture since before the turn of the century. Major Howard Egan4 described, in his delightful first-person style, a Mormon cricket drive that took place in about 1850. The procedure was basically to dig a series of trenches, each about 30 to 40 feet long and in the shape of a new moon, cover the trenches with a thin layer of stiff wheat grass straw, drive the crickets into the grass covering the trenches, and then set fire to the grass. As the drive began, Egan thought the Indians were going to a great deal of trouble for a few crickets: "We followed them on horseback and I noticed that there were but very few crickets left behind. As they went down, the line of crickets grew thicker and thicker till the ground ahead of the drivers [men, women and children] was black as coal with the excited, tumbling mass of crickets." After the grass had been fired, Egan observed that in some places the trenches were more than half full of dead crickets: "I went down below the trenches and I venture to say there were not one out of a thousand crickets that passed those trenches."

Once the drive was over, the men and children had done their part and were sitting around while the women gathered the catch into large baskets which could be carried on their backs. We should remember that this was long before the days of the women's' movement, as Egan says, in obvious admiration:

"Now here is what I saw a squaw doing that had a small baby strapped to a board or a willow frame, which she carried on her back with a strap over her forehead: When at work she would stand or lay the frame and kid where she could see it at any time. She soon had a large basket as full as she could crowd with crickets. Laying it down near the kid, she took a smaller basket and filled it. I should judge she had over four bushels of the catch. But wait, the Indians were leaving for their camp about three or four miles away. This squaw sat down beside the larger basket, put the band over her shoulders, got on her feet with it, then took the strapped kid and placed him on top, face up, picked up the other basket and followed her lord and master, who tramped ahead with nothing to carry except his own lazy carcass. There were bushels of crickets left in the trenches, which I suppose they would gather later in the day."

Egan learned that the crickets were used to make a bread that was very dark in color. They were dried, then ground on the same mill used to grind pine nuts or grass seed, "making a fine flour that will keep a long time, if kept dry" (this was often referred to as "desert fruitcake" by early settlers). Egan's Indian companion told him "the crickets make the bread good, the same as sugar used by the white woman in her cakes."

There were other efficient methods of harvesting Mormon crickets. One of them was to drive the crickets into a stream, circa 1864. as described in the journal of Perter Gottfredson5: "The squaws [placed] baskets in the ditch for the crickets to float into. The male Indians with long willows strung along about twenty feet apart whipping the ground behind the crickets driving them towards the ditch …. [The crickets] tumbled into the ditch and floated down into the baskets . . . . They got more than 50 bushels." In this instance, service berries and wild currants were mixed with the crickets to form the loaves of bread. In a similar account of floating the crickets into baskets, John Young states that they were caught by the tons.

Another method was to simply scoop up the crickets by the bushel when they were clustered under vegetation and too cold to be active. Beatrice Whiting6 wrote of the Paiute: "The women went out early in the morning and caught them, were back by sunrise, and spent the rest of the day roasting, drying, and pounding them and putting them in bags to be cached for the winter."

There are few first-hand assessments of the flavor of Mormon crickets by early whites, for reasons that are apparent from the following excerpt from the reminiscences of Captain Joseph Aram7 who was in the Humboldt Sink in 1846: "We came to an Indian village, they came out in strong force but finding us friendly, they treated us kindly. They were digging roots on a creek bottom. They looked like a small red carrot. They gave us some that were cooked, they tasted like a sweet potato. They also offered us some dried crickets but those were declined, thinking they would not relish well with us." According to a modem account of the Honey Lake Paiute (Lassen County, California) by F. A. Riddell8, when Mormon crickets were made into a soup, the flavor was somewhat like that of dried deer meat.

A certain species of aphid even provided the Indians with sugar–in the form of the sweet honeydew it secreted. In the early Mission records of California, Pere Picola wrote in 1702: "In the months of April, May and June there falls with the dew a kind of manna, which solidifies and hardens on the leaves of reeds from which it is collected. I have tasted some. It is a little less white than sugar, but has all the sweetness of it." Some of the Fathers considered this "manna" a dispensation from Heaven.

John Bidwell9, a pioneer in the Humboldt Sink area in 1841, looked at the "manna" with a more discerning eye: "We saw many Indians on the Humboldt, especially towards the sink. There were many Tule marshes. The tule is a rush, large, but here not very tall. It was generally completely covered with honeydew, and this in turn was wholly covered with a pediculous-looking [louse-like] insect which fed upon it. The Indians gathered quantities of the honey and pressed it into balls about the size of one's fist, having the appearance of wet bran. At first we greatly relished this Indian food, but when we saw what it was made of–that the insects pressed into the mass were the main ingredient–we lost our appetites and bought no more of it."

It wasn't until 1945 that the scientific identity of the aphid was determined. Volney Jones10established its identity as Hyalopterus pruni, which is called the mealy plum aphid because it spends its winter phase on plum trees and other species of Prunus. In the spring and early summer it migrates to summer hosts, primarily the reed grass, Phragmites communis, where it produces the honeydew. The gathering of the honeydew seems to have been one of the annual seasonal rounds of activity of the Indians of the Great Basin. A family or band might camp for a short time near a stream or lake when the honeydew was ready. By piecing together various ac counts of the manner of collection, Jones gives the following picture: "The collection seems to have been primarily the work of women and children. The reeds were cut and carried away from the water …. Cutting was done just after sunrise, and the reeds were spread out to dry during the warmer part of the day to dry the honey dew and make it brittle. During the afternoon the reeds were held over a hide and beaten with a stick to dislodge the deposits of honey dew which fell on the hide and could be collected …. The honey dew was rolled into balls, wrapped in leaves, and stored in baskets until needed."

Many other insects contributed on a regular basis to the Indian diet, among them grasshoppers, cicadas, ants and ant pupae, wasp pupae and prepupae, certain beetle larvae and several kinds of caterpillars. Edible insect harvest was a part of the annual rounds of food procurement. The Indians knew exactly where to go, and when, to find the desired insects, and large numbers of people and consider able planning, travel and effort were often involved in harvesting them (Sutton10). Some insects such as the Mormon cricket, grass hoppers and pandora moth caterpillars yielded a very high energy return for the energy expended in their harvest, often much higher than return rates from seeds or other plant food resources . And. when dried, the insects were storable for use as winter food.

In several localities, pandora moth caterpillars (Coloradiapandora) are still harvested by elderly Paiute. Called piuga by the Indians, the caterpillars feed primarily on the needles of the Jeffery pine and when fully grown descend the tree trunk to pupate in the soil. They sometimes occurred in great numbers and were collected in trenches dug around the bases of the trees. They were then roasted by mixing them with hot sand. Piuga is regarded by the Paiute as "a tasty, nutritious food that is especially good for sick people, much like our chicken soup," according to Elizabeth Blake and Michael Wagner12, two researchers at the University of Northern Arizona. In former times, according to the late E. O. Essig13 (formerly an entomologist at the University of California-Berkeley), hungry whites who tasted piuga claimed that boarding with the early Californians "on the American plan was not so good."

Finally, among the insect foods of the western Indian tribes, none were more widely harvested than grasshoppers. They were most often collected by using what hunters call a "surround." H. M. Chittenden and A. D. Richardson14, in their account of the life and travels of the French missionary, Father Pierre-Jean De Smet, described the "surround" used in a Shoshoco grasshopper hunt (circa 1850): "They begin by digging a hole, ten or twelve feet in diameter by four or five deep; then, armed with long branches of artemisia, they surround a field of four or five acres, more or less, according to the number of persons who are engaged in it. They stand about twenty feet apart, and their whole work is to beat the ground, so as to frighten up the grasshoppers and make them bound forward. They chase them toward the centre by degrees–that is, into the hole prepared for their reception., Their number is so consider able that frequently three or four acres furnish grasshoppers sufficient to fill the reservoir or hole."

A variation of the Shoshoco procedure was to build a fire covering 20 to 30 feet square. The people then formed a large circle around it and drove the grasshoppers onto the hot coals. Sometimes a field was simply set afire, and the scorched grasshoppers were picked up afterward. Or as in the case of Mormon crickets. grasshoppers could be collected by hand in the early morning while they were too cold to be active.

Edwin Bryant15 (circa 1848) provided one of the few assessments of grasshopper palatability by a white. following an encounter with Utah Indians, an occasion when three women appeared, "bringing baskets containing a substance, which, upon examination, we ascertained to be service-berries, crushed to a jam and mixed with pulverized grasshoppers. This composition being dried in the sun until it becomes hard, is what may be called the 'fruitcake' of these poor children of the desert. No doubt these women regarded it as one of the most acceptable offerings they could make to us. We purchased all they brought with them, paying them in darning needles and other small articles, with which they were much pleased. The prejudice against the grasshopper 'fruitcake' was strong at first, but it soon wore off, and none of the delicacy was thrown away or lost …. After being killed, they [the grasshoppers] are baked before the fire or dried in the sun, and then pulverized between smooth stones. Prejudice aside, I have tasted what are called delicacies, less agree able to the palate."

Nutritionally, insects are high in protein, fat (and thus energy) and many of the important vitamins and minerals. They have served as traditional foods in most cultures of non-European origin and have played an important role in the history of human nutrition not only in western North America, but in Africa, Asia and Latin America. As might be expected from our European cultural heritage, some early American whites looked with open disgust at the insect foods of the American Indians. It is interesting, though, that so often, as shown by the above examples, these cross-cultural encounters relative to food seemed dominated by feelings of mutual tolerance, curiosity and respect and were described with a sense of humor.

Gene R. DeFoliart, Editor

(Ed.: This article was originally written two or three years ago at the invitation of a travel and outdoor magazine published in California. When the magazine went on a reduced publication schedule, we got our manuscript back. Nobody likes to throw away a manuscript that's already written, so we decided that Newsletter readers might enjoy it.)

Addendum: This wasn't included in the original manuscript, but I think the second of the two paragraphs below quoting Father Kino (as found in Bolton 1919l6) is one of the more humorous passages (because of Kino's religious candor) that I have encountered in the older North American literature. Kino labored in California, Arizona and Sonora. In the first paragraph, he is talking about aphid honeydew. The second paragraph is more on spiritual matters, and from Father Kino's account it seems questionable as to who was converting who:

"In order that sugar, which with so great artifice and toil is made over here, may not be lacking to the Californians, heaven provides them with it in abundance in the months of April, May, and June, in the dew which at that time falls upon the broad leaves, where it hardens and coagulates. They gather large quantities of it, and I have seen and eaten it. It is as sweet as sugar to the taste, and differs only in the refraction, which makes it dark." (II:56).

"All this fertility and wealth God placed in California only to be unappreciated by the natives, because they are of a race who live satisfied with merely eating …. By nature they are very lively and alert, qualities which they show, among other ways, by ridiculing any barbarism in their language, as they did with us when we were preaching to them. When they have been domesticated they come after preaching to correct any slip in the use of their language. If one preaches to them any mysteries contrary to their ancient errors, the sermon ended, they come to the father. call him to account for what he has said to them, and argue and discuss with him in favor of their error with considerable plausibility; but through reason they submit with all docility." (II:58-60)

1. Browne, J.R. 1865? Washoe Revisited. Notes on the Silver Regions of Nevada. Oakland, Calif.: Biobooks, pp. 111-114. (Also in HarpersMonthly31:274-284;411-419.)
2. Brewer, W.H. 1930. Up and Down California in 1860-1864. New Haven: Yale Univ. Press, p. 417.
3. Fremont, J.C. 1845 (1988 reprint). The Exploring Expedition to the Rocky Mountains, p. 154.
4. Egan, W.M. (Ed.). 1917. Pioneering the West 1846-1878: Major Howard Egan's Diary. Richmond, Utah: Howard Egan Estate, pp. 228-233.
5. Gottfredson, P. 1874. Journal of Perter Gottfredson, From the Gottfredson Family History. Ms. on file, Utah State Hist. Soc., Salt Lake City, pp. 15-16.
6. Whiting, Beatrice B. 1950. Paiute sorcery. Viking Fund Publs. Anthropol. No. 15, New York, pp. 17-19.
7. Aram, J. 1907. Reminiscences of Captain Joseph Aram. Jour. Amer. Hist. 1, pp. 623-632.
8. Riddell, F.A. 1978. Honey Lake Paiute ethnography. Occas Papers, Nev. State Mus. 3(1):51-52.
9. Bidwell, J. 1890. The first emigrant train to California Century Mag. 19:106-130.
10. Jones, V.H.1945. The use of honey-dew as food by Indians. The Masterkey 19:145-149.
11. Sutton, M.Q.1988. Insects as Food: Aboriginal Entomophagy in the Great Basin. Ballena Press Anthropol. Papers. No.33, 115 pp.
12. Blake, E.A.; Wagner, M.R. 1987. Collection and consumption of pandora moth, Coloradia pandora lindseyi (Lepidoptera: Satur niidae), larvae by Owens Valley and Mono Lake Paiutes. Bull Entomol. Soc. Amer. 33:23-27.
13. Essig, E.0.1934. The value of insects to the California Indians. Sci. Monthly 38:181-186. 14. Chittenden, H.M.; Richardson, A.D. 1905. Life, Letters and TravelsofFatherPierre-JeanDeSmet,S.J.,1801-1873. NewYork: Harper, pp. 1032-1033.
l5. Bryant, E.1967. Whatl Saw in California . . . in the Years 1846, 1847. Palo Alto, Calif.: Lewis Osborne, pp. 162-163, 168.
16. Bolton,H.E. l919.Kino's Historical Memoir of Pimeria Alta. 2 vols. Cleveland: Arthur H. Clark Co., Vol. II, pp. 56, 58 60.—-
The Food Insects NewsletterFood Conversion Efficiencies of Insect Herbivores
March 1993. Volume 6, Issue #1.
By Richard L. Lindroth
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WisconsinIn his classic children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Eric Carle describes the development of an increasingly voracious caterpillar, from egg hatch to metamorphosis into a beautiful butterfly. In addition to the character appeal of the larva and aesthetic quality of the illustrations, the book teaches some valuable lessons about the nutritional ecology of insect herbivores. The caterpillar hatched on Sunday: on Monday he ate through one apple, on Tuesday two pears . . . and on Saturday "he ate through one piece of chocolate cake, one ice cream cone, one pickle, one slice of Swiss cheese, one slice of salami, one lollipop, one piece of cherry pie, one sausage, one cupcake, and one slice of watermelon. That night he had a stomachache!"

What are the lessons we can learn? First, the older (and bigger) the insect is, the faster it eats. Indeed, consumption and growth rates increase exponentially with insect age. For example, leaf consumption by the forest tent caterpillar (Malacosoma disslria) is approximately 0.05, 0.2, 0.8, 2.9 and 18.0 square inches for instars 1-5, respectively. Second, the older an insect is, the more diversified its diet may become. Most herbivorous insects are specialists. feeding on only one or a few related species for their entire life span. But some insects are generalists; notable among these is the gypsy moth (Lymanlria dispar), which feeds on over 300 species of woody plants. For these generalist feeders, diets typically become increasingly diversified as maturity affords both greater mobility and increased capacity to detoxify the chemical defenses of plants. Third, for caterpillars. as for humans, some foods or combinations thereof may bring considerable discomfort.

These are basic principles of the discipline of nutritional ecology, which, in short, addresses what insects eat, why they eat what they do, and how efficient they are in doing it. The latter theme will be introduced in this paper. Several excellent reviews have been published on the topic and can be consulted for additional information (see References).

Insects, like all living organisms, require energy and nutrients to survive, grow and reproduce. The nutritional components (e.g., protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals) of ingested food may or may not be digested and absorbed. The proportion of ingested food that is actually digested is denoted by AD, the assimilation efficiency (also called "approximate digestibility"). Of the nutrients absorbed, portions are expended in the processes of respiration and work. The proportion of digested food that is actually transformed into net insect biomass is denoted by ECD, the efficiency of conversion of digested food. A parallel parameter, ECI, indicates the efficiency of conversion of ingested food (ECI = AD x ECD). In short, AD indicates how digestible a food is, whereas ECD and ECI indicate how efficient a herbivore is in converting that food into biomass. These efficiency values may be calculated for specific dietary nutrients as well as for the bulk diet. For instance, nitrogen use efficiencies are informative because levels of plant nitrogen (an index of protein) are often times limiting to insect performance.

Food conversion efficiencies may vary considerably within a species. One cause of such variation involves homeostatic adjustment of consumption rates and efficiency parameters such that an insect can approach its "ideal" growth rate even with foods of different quality in various environments. For example, insects that experience reduced ECDs due to increased respiratory costs may be able to compensate by increasing consumption rates or digestion efficiencies (ADs). Not all changes are homeostatic, however. For instance, many insects increase food consumption rates in response to low concentrations of critical nutrients such as protein. Increased consumption will accelerate passage of food through the gut and thereby reduce ADs. In our work with the gypsy moth we found that larvae reared on a protein deficient diet increased consumption rates by 3-4-fold, but overall ADs declined by nearly as much. Other nonhomeostatic changes in efficiency values may occur in response to plant allelochemicals. For example, compensatory feeding to increase intake of a limiting nutrient may simultaneously increase exposure to plant toxins, which in turn may reduce ECDs. In practice, however, it can be quite difficult to ascertain "cause" and "effect" responses with efficiency parameters. Does the insect eat more because digestibility is low, or is digestibility low because the insect is eating more? Efficiency parameters are so closely physiologically related that determination of "cause" and "effect" is not a trivial matter.

Intraspecific variation in food conversion efficiencies may also be related to insect development. ADs generally decrease, whereas ECDs increase, from early to late instars. In other words older larvae digest their food less completely, but that which they do digest is more efficiently utilized for growth. One study showed that values for AD and ECD change from 46% to 27% and 38% to 60%. respectively, for early and late instars of the desert locust (Schislocerca gregaria). Factors contributing to such changes are still largely unknown, but may include shifts in food selection, digestive physiology, metabolic rates, and body composition.

Food conversion efficiencies also vary greatly among species. and this variation is more closely related to feeding guilds than to taxonomic affinity. insects that feed on nitrogen-rich foliage generally have higher consumption rates and assimilation efficiencies than do insects that feed on nitrogen-poor foliage, and as a consequence grow and develop much faster. The classic example here is the difference between forb- and tree-feeders. Forb leaves typically have high levels of nitrogen and water. whereas tree leaves have lower levels of those substituents and higher levels of poorly digestible compounds such as cellulose, lignin and tannins. Accordingly, insects that feed on mature tree leaves exhibit growth rates half or less than those insects that feed on forbs. The relatively poor nutritional quality of tree foliage has had important consequences for insect life histories. In temperate regions forb feeders often have many more generations per year than do tree feeders. Among tree-feeders, numerous species have adapted to emerge and feed only on the especially nutritious early spring foliage, and thus have only one generation per year.

Other examples that demonstrate how the various efficiencies are strongly influenced by food quality include wood- and seed-feeding insects. Wood is tough and nutritionally poor. Thus wood-chewers have slow rates of consumption and digestion (much of which is accomplished by symbiotic microbes). The combination of these factors precludes all but slow growth rates in wood-feeders. In contrast, seeds are high in readily digestible carbohydrates and protein and low in fibrous material. Thus seed-feeders exhibit high ADs. Growth rates are nonetheless only low to moderate, due to low consumption rates and low ECDs. Low ECDs may result from a requirement of these insects to metabolize digested food in order to produce water.

Understanding of these basic principles of nutritional ecology can enhance our appreciation of insects as a food resource. Environmentalists and others concerned about nutrition and world food resources have long decried the reliance of some people on large animal protein (e.g., beef) as a dietary staple. The reasoning is that production of such high-quality protein is very inefficient; more food would be available if people ate the grain instead. This debate is complex and beyond the scope of this paper. Suffice it to say, however, that a major reason that large animals are inefficient in transforming plant biomass into animal biomass is that they have very high maintenance costs (i.e., low ECDs). Large amounts of energy and nutrients are used to maintain constant body temperatures. Insects, being "cold-blooded," are more efficient in transforming plant biomass into animal biomass.

Understanding of basic nutritional ecology may also improve selection of insect and plant species for large-scale insect production. For example, production will be more rapid with forb feeders than with tree-feeders and with leaf-feeders than with wood-feeders, other environmental factors equal. Want to know what plant/insect characteristics may be limiting production? Some simple input/output and growth measurements will tell whether production is limited by low consumption, poor digestibility, or inefficient conversion of assimilated food into body mass. Different corrective measures may be available for each situation.


This article benefited greatly from the content and inspiration of excellent reviews by Frank Slansky and Mark Scriber.

Further Reading

Scriber, J.M., and F. Slansky. 1981. The nutritional ecology of immature insects. Annual Review of Entomology 26:183-211.
Slansky, F., and J .M . Scriber, 1982 . Selected bibliography and summary of quantitative food utilization by immature insects. Bulletin of the Entomological Society of America 28:43-55.
Slansky, F., and J.M. Scriber. 1985. Food consumption and utilization. Pp. 87-163, in G.A. Kerkut and L.I. Gilbert (eds.), Comprehensive Insect Physiology, Biochemistry and Pharmacology. Vol. 4. Regulation: Digestion Nutrition Excretion. Pergamon Press, N.Y.A Follow-up Interview with Dr. LindrothThe Newsletter has never used this journalistic technique before, but it seems a good way of getting the most out of our invited experts while we have their attention. We'll designate the questioner as The FlN(The Food Insects Newsletter). It's too bad we're not in the fish business because it would make a great acronym.

The FIN: First, thank you Dr. Lindroth for accepting our invitation to set forth some basic principles of insect food conversion efficiency in the Newsletter and for taking additional time to respond to some questions. The food conversion efficiency of edible insects has important ecological and environmental implications. First question. Remembering that edible insects furnish not only protein, but fats, vitamins, and minerals, and, as a very high proportion of growth occurs in the last two larval or nymphal instars (about 95% in lepidopterous larvae as shown with your example, M. disstria), can we assume that the combined ECI for the last two instars is a valid (and the simplest) statistic for comparing food conversion efficiency (let's shorten it to FCE) between or within species in different situations? A second, related question. Do ecologists have any "rule-of-thumb" ECI level that is considered good, or is everything comparative and dependent on the quality of the food source?

Dr. Lindroth: If I had to select only one efficiency measure, ECI would be a good candidate, as it represents efficiencies of both digestion and how well digested food is converted to biomass. Bear in mind though, that insects can compensate for low ECIs to some degree simply by increasing their feeding rates. Thus two insects could have the same growth rate; one achieves it by eating less but being very efficient with what it eats, the other by eating more but being less efficient. Because so much of an insect's feeding and growth occurs in its last few instars, FCEs from that period are a very useful comparative measure. Another caution here is that dietary characteristics (nutrient deficiencies or toxins) may affect younger instars more than older instars, and if the impact is great enough, you'll never see those insects as older instars.

I'm reluctant to suggest what ECI values may be "good" or "bad"; they're really more useful in a comparative sense. What is "good" for one insect feeding on one substrate may or may not be "good" for another insect feeding on another substrate. What is most valuable is to compare different species (or races) feeding on the same food, or individuals of one species feeding on different foods .

The FIN: You pointed out that forb-feeders show higher FCEs than tree leaf-feeders because forbs are higher in nitrogen and water and lower in such hard-to-digest compounds as cellulose and lignin. I've seen combined ECI data (Scriber's) on only one forb-feeding edible insect, Spodoptera eridania (the southern armyworm). When tested on 10 varieties of alfalfa, combined ECIs ranged below 15% on six varieties, from 15.5-20.3% on three others, and showed an incredible 29.8% on Vernal alfalfa. Two questions. Do you know of any vertebrate meat animal that can come anywhere close to 29.8%? And secondly, how do you explain such great ECI differences at the plant varietal level?

Dr. Lindroth: Yes. As you'll see below, poultry can attain this level of efficiency. But their food source is grain, which is even richer than alfalfa.

Considerable variation in ECIs at the plant varietal level has not been well-studied, but may not be as unusual as one might expect. For example, in a study with gypsy moth larvae feeding on individual aspen trees from a common habitat, we found ECI values that ranged from 6% to 16%. In our case among-tree variation in levels of phenolic toxins greatly influenced ECI's and subsequent larval growth rates. I'm not at all surprised that differences of the magnitude you describe exist among plant varieties. Those differences probably result from differences in chemical or physical attributes of the varieties.

The FIN: In scanning ECI data, one can dream up some wild schemes. For example, Scriber also tested S. eridania on five kinds of clover and trefoil. The highest combined ECI was on Trifolium agrarium (yellow blossom sweet clover), 23 .6%. Now, commercial pond fish producers are looking for good sources of long-chain w3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, and lepidopterous larvae, in general, would be a rich source if they could be feasibly exploited. Yellow blossom sweet clover must do very well on poor soils, because it's along roadsides all over the country. And S. eridania has multiple generations per year. Maybe it would pay the fish growers to hire a young entomologist (or maybe put some research money into your lab) to look into the possibilities. Maybe the armyworms should be harvested at the end of the penultimate (second to last) instar. Scriber's data showed an incredible ECI of 56.9% for that instar on YBSC (it was even higher, 58.3%, on Vernal alfalfa.)

Dr. Lindroth: You're right, the possibilities are great. As you know better than I, a minor shift in one's thinking about insects as food can open up many new avenues of research and application.

The FIN: Unfortunately, many more of the major edible insect groups seem to feed on trees and grasses, or even wood, than feed on forbs. Tests on two species of edible grasshoppers, Locusrana migratoria and a species of Melanoplus, fed on several kinds of grasses showed combined ECIs in the range of 10-15% and 8-11%, respectively. Two questions. How do ECIs in the range of 10-15% compare with other grass-caters such as cattle? (I believe there is a rule-of-thumb in cattle husbandry that 15 lbs of hay puts on a pound of gain). As grasshoppers are generalists, if they were reared on forbs, should we expect higher ECIs?

Dr. Lindroth: As I alluded to in the article, FECs are generally higher for insects than for vertebrates. One must be careful in making such comparisons, however. One problem is that insect values are reported on the basis of dry weights, whereas livestock values are reported as "gain" which typically includes 70% water. After adjusting for water weight, ballpark figures for efficiency of gain are seen below. Clearly, the insects are superior to mammals when fed the same rood. FCEs of vertebrates can approach or even surpass those of insects when they are fed especially nutritious and digestible food such as grain.

Chicken (grain) 30%
Pigs (grain) 11 %
Beef (grain) 5%
Beef (grass) 3%
About rearing grasshoppers on forbs: I would expect higher ECIs than when reared on grass.

The FIN: Larvae of the giant silk moths (Family Saturniidae) are a major food insect group, especially in Africa. Most of these are tree-feeders, and as you indicated in general for tree-feeders, most have only one generation per year. I don't know of any ECI data on African species, but data by Scriber and Feeney on nine North American species on 21 host species showed combined ECIs ranging from 7.1 to 15.8 (ECIs above 10 on nine of the 21 larva/host combinations). Doesn't it seem that, even with ECIs at the relatively low range of 10-15%, if the forest was properly managed for caterpillar (and termite) preservation (as has been recommended in several instances by researchers in Africa), it would be about as productive for animal agriculture as grassland? Is there a short answer for this complex question, or is the question not as complex as it seems?

Dr. Lindroth: On the surface the reasoning seems sound. But a number of complicating factors come to mind; the answer really is complex. For example, because grasslands have coevolved with large grazing mammals grasses can recover remarkably well from extensive grazing. Remove the same percentage of green foliage from a forest habitat and you'll not have the forest for long. And then there are the practical matters of harvest, etc. It is probably much easier to harvest 1000 lbs of large animal biomass from a grassland than an equivalent amount of insect biomass from a forest! This is not to say that management of forests for insect production should not be considered, just that the comparison with grassland systems is fraught with problems.

The FIN: Several important food insect groups develop in wood, including decaying or rotten logs. As would be expected, most have long life cycles, one or more years, for example in the beetle families, Buprestidae and Cerambycidae. Palm weevils of the genus Rhynchophorus (Family Curculionidac). however, complete development in only two or three months in palm logs. Is this an exception to the "feeding guilds" principle that you mentioned (feeding guilds more important than taxonomic affinity in determining food conversion efficiency), or what would explain such relatively fast development on such poor food?

Dr. Lindroth: This is an interesting example. I don't know the answer, but I can hazard a guess. Most trees are dicotyledons and the woody tissue of these species is loaded with lignins, tannins, etc. Palm trees are monocotyledons: they are more closely related to Kentucky bluegrass than to oaks or maples. I know next to nothing about the chemical composition of palm logs, but would suggest that they have higher levels of particular nutrients (e.g., nitrogen, sugars) and/or lower levels of lignins and tannins than occur in the wood of dicots.

The FIN: Thanks again, Rick, and a final question. Are forbs and herbs the same thing?

Dr. Lindroth: Not quite. Herbs arc non-woody plants, including both monocots and dicots. In temperate regions they "die back" to ground level at the end of the growing season. Forbs are herbs that are not grasses (dicots).—-

The Food Insects NewsletterLarge-scale Feed Production from Animal Manures
with a Non-Pest Native Fly
July 1992. Volume 5, Issue #2.
By D. C. Sheppard, Ph.D.
University of Georgia
Coastal Plain Experiment Station
Tifton, GA 31793The black soldier fly, Hermetia illucens (L.), is an attractive manure management agent that can produce large quantities of high-quality animal feedstuff, control house flies and reduce manure residue by half. Based on a 480 hen pilot scale test (Sheppard et al 1992) a modest-sized 20,000 hen caged layer facility could collect over 13 tons of larvae from June through December. Sixty thousand hens per house is now the preferred size and farms usually have multiple houses. This 13 ton production estimate from a small commercial unit is probably low. Future systems will be managed better than this first trial. Early season collections were not measured, and a late summer manure clean-out lowered production. Deeper manure basins in future systems should allow utilization of manure collected during the winter.

Prepupal soldier flies were self-collected as they sought pupation sites and crawled out of the manure basin. A 40° slope on one wall of the basin directed these mature larvae. They crawled into a U2 inch slit in a 6-inch diameter PVC pipe at the top of this slope. Then they continued to crawl to a container at the end of the pipe. In the experimental facility they easily negotiated a 40-foot length of pipe. The masses of exiting prepupae sometimes clogged a 4-inch pipe, which was used at first, but the 6-inch pipe worked well. The opposing 12-inch wall was vertical and kept the masses of larvae off of the house's central walkway. If not contained, these masses of larvae can cause aesthetic problems.

Newton et al (1977) found that manually collected soldier fly larvae contained 42% crude protein and 35% fat. Self-collected prepupae should be of higher feed value since they average larger, have emptied their gut and have more stored fat. Tests are underway to determine the feed value of the self-collected prepupae. Manually collected larvae have been studied, and show promise as a feed ingredient for swine (Newton et al 1977), poultry (Hale 1973) and fish (Bondari and Sheppard 1981). Swine relish the fresh larvae.

Little is known about adult biology. The only adults commonly seen are newly emerged adults and ovipositing females. Eggs are laid in batches of about 500 in dry cracks or crevices above the chosen larval media Other adults apparently live in a wild environment and their habits are largely unknown. They do not try to enter houses and are usually not a problem. In 15 years of investigating this insect, I can remember only one complaint about adults entering a residence.

Besides offering a potential feed source, soldier fly larvae provide two other significant benefits: house fly control and about a 50% reduction in manure volume (Sheppard 1983). The larvae repel ovipositing female house flies (Bradley and Sheppard 1984) and house fly larvae that do attempt to compete with dense populations of soldier fly larvae usually die. In the pilot scale manure management test mentioned earlier no house fly breeding occurred from June to December. Many Georgia egg producers use this insect for house fly control without any management to contain the soldier fly larvae.

The economics of this manure management system are attractive. Construction costs should be less than the currently popular flush systems and resource recovery is greater.

The only insecticide able to approach the level of control achievable with this system is Larvadex, when house flies are susceptible. With low levels of Larvadex resistance, soldier fly larvae provide house fly control superior to Larvadex (Sheppard et al 1989). Larvadex costs an egg producer 10 cents per hen if used for 6 months. Thus a conservative value to place on house fly control with this soldier fly system is 10 cents per hen per year. Manure removal and surface application costs 65 cents per hen, per year in shallow pit houses (Ritter 1992). Assuming 50% reduction in manure build-up through soldier fly activity (Sheppard 1983) for half the year gives a 25% reduction on an annual basis. Actual reduction may be much more if manure basins deeper than 12 inches are used, and soldier fly larvae can digest manure from the previous winter. At any rate, the conservative 25% reduction estimate produces an economic benefit of 0.25 x 65 cents = 16.2 cents per hen per year. This assumes the manure is a liability, which it generally is in high production areas. Value of the dried larval feedstuff has been estimated at $340-400 per ton. At 44% dry matter, the fresh larvae are worth about $160 per ton or 8 cents per pound. So, the 1.32 pounds of larvae produced per hen per year are worth 10.6 cents. Adding the easily measured economic benefits of this system yields a total value of 36.8 cents per hen per year. This would net our small hypothetical 20,000 hen egg producer an extra $7,360. This system should easily adapt to swine waste management, and a trial is currently underway. Soldier flies could be used to degrade many other organic wastes. They have even been found breeding in ketchup and formalin preserved tuna (May 1961), and can eliminate house fly breeding in privies (Kilpatrick and Schoof 1959).

References cited:
Bondari, K., and D.C. Sheppard. 1981. Soldier fly larvae as feed in commercial fish production. Aquaculture 24: 103.
Bradley Susan W., and D.C. Sheppard. 1984. House fly oviposition inhibition by larvae of Hermetia illucens, the black soldier fly. J. Chem. Ecol. 10:853-859.
Hale, O.M. 1973. Dried Hermetia illucens larvae (Diptera: Stratiomyidae) as a feed additive for poultry. J. Ga. Entomol. Soc. 8:16-20.
Kilpatrick, J.W., and H F. Schoof. 1959. Interrelationship of water and Hermetiaillucens breeding to Muscadomeshca production in human excrement. Am. J. Trop. Med. Hyg. 8: 597-602.
May, B.M. 1961. The occurrence in New Zealand and the life history of the soldier fly Hermetia illucens (L.)(Diptera: Stratiomyidae). N.Z.J. Sci. 4:55-65.
Newton, GL., C.V. Booram, R.W. Barker, and O.M. Hale. 1977. Dried Hermetia illucens larvae meal as a supplement for swine. J. Anim. Sci. 4:395-399.
Ritter, W.F. 1992. Selecting poultry waste systems increasingly important. Feedstuff 63: 30-32,41-42.
Sheppard, C. 1983. House fly and lesser house fly control utilizing the black soldier fly in manure management systems for caged laying hens. Environ. Entomol. 12: 1439-1442.
Sheppard, D.C., N.C. Hinkle, J.S. Hunter III, and D.M. Gaydon. 1989. Resistance in constant exposure livestock insect control systems: a partial review with some original findings on eyromazine resistance in house flies. Fla. Entomol. 72: 36~369.
Sheppard, C., L. Newton and S. Thompson. 1992. Manure management for house fly control, volume reduction and feed production, using the black soldier fly. Proc. of the Nat. Organic Farming Sym., Pacific Grove, California Jan 22-23, 1992.—-
The Food Insects NewsletterThey Ate What?
(Catching up on the magazines)
November 1991. Volume 4, Issue #3.
By Gene R. DeFoliart
Department of Entomology
545 Russell Laboratories
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WI 53706The above is the title of an article published in the Cuisine Section of American Way, the official mag of American Airlines. I found it on my desk one day last spring. Dr. Jane Homan, who has flown to just about everywhere in her travels for the UW Office of International Agricultural Programs, had attached a note: "When this starts showing up in airline magazines it must be getting 'chic'! !

Author Dick Reavis, a contributing editor of American Way, certainly makes it sound so, with "creepy creatures" now considered by some as the height of haute cuisine. According to Reavis; "It's in style: Now that Mexican restaurants are popular from Bangor to San Diego, the cognoscenti of real Mexican food are seeking out restaurants that serve unadulterated, un-Europeanized food from Central America and Mexico. Pre-Hispanic or pre-Columbian food it's called, the kinds of dishes Mexicans ate before the region was subdued by the Spanish. Worms [read insect larvae], cooked or live, are a big part of pre-Hispanic cuisine, and eating them has become a rite of passage for those who would be intimate with the Mexican past."

One restaurant providing this kind of fare is Don Chon's, near the historic La Merced market in Mexico City, "a back-street landmark for rustics and adventurous connoisseurs." It's unpretentious, "but diplomats, ambassadors, and the theater crowd flock there at lunchtimes." The owner of Don Chon's, Leopoldo Ortega, notes that back in the fifties, the restaurant was mainly patronized by the vendors who came to La Merced from the countryside. Because pre Hispanic food has become relatively expensive, tourists and people with bohemian tastes now outmumber the country folk, who, Ortega says, have "become our sellers more than our customers." A hint of how expensive is given by Reavis who ordered a plate of red agave worms [larvae of the moth, Xyleutes redtenbachi]; price, 30,000 pesos or about $11, nearly two times the daily wage of most Mexicans. (Reavis also tried a side dish of live worms and describes the indelicate maneuvers required to remove one when it bit him.)

Reavis concludes his article with the following paragraph: "In my opinion, the finest pre-Hispanic delicacy at Don Chon's (and also sometimes served at the highbrow Prendez restaurant downtown on 16 de Septiembre Street, a place not known for pre-Hispanic food; that it even offers such a dish proves the trend) is escamoles in green sauce, sprinkled with diced onion and bits of cilantro. Escamoles are the larvae of black ants. When boiled, they look like cottage cheese. Rank amateurs scoop them up with a spoon, and ordinary Mexicans with a corn tortilla But the blase know, and the bold quickly see, that a torta de ahuatli – a wafer made of batter and the eggs of a swamp fly [read Mexican caviar, eggs of several species of aquatic Hemiptera, or true bugs] – does the trick in higher style. The season for escamoles is in the spring. By then, Don Chon's will also be serving white worms as big as your fingers. I don't know if they bite, but take my advice: They're tasty when toasted, but I wouldn't eat them alive."

– If we are looking for glamour, however, we needn't settle for the airline magazines. How about the 1989 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Issue of Sports Illustrated! Now we're talking sun and surf and the Pacific Coast of Mexico. But, according to the author, it is the worst place in the world to be a grasshopper. A recipe is offered (page 260) for a small species sometimes served for lunch in Oaxaca:


About 1000 grasshoppers (the younger the better)
1/2 cup chili sauce
pinch of salt
1 lemon
1 cup guacamole
6 tortillas

Directions: Soak the grasshoppers in clean water for 24 hours. Boil them, then let dry. Fry in a pan with garlic, onion, salt and lemon. Roll up in tortillas with chili sauce and guacamole. According to the author, "Serves six if you can fund six."

– If one prefers not glamour but a more sedate and intellectual approach, one can consult Natural History magazine, specifically food historian Raymond Sokolov's column, "A Matter of Taste." Three times in the past two years, Sokolov has dipped into things entomophagous. The first was in the August 1989 issue in an article titled, " Before the Conquest" and subtitled "Thousands of Mexican dishes could not have existed before Cortes." Sokolov notes that Mexico offers a better opportunity than most cultures do for precisely tracing the evolution of a national cuisine. The evidence comes from many sources; the Aztecs, who wrote about their own civilization; from pre-Columbian and colonial Mexican an; from ethnographic documents produced at the direction of the Spaniards soon after the conquest; and from survival of ancient foodways that are still abundantly practiced in Mexico today.

The single most important work was the monumental General History of the Things of New Spain (Historia general de las cosas de Nueva Espana), by the Franciscan friar Bernardino de Sahagun. From Sahagun it is known that the Aztec diet was based on corn and tortillas, tamales and plenty of chilies in many varieties. Sokolov describes how this diet was influenced by the importation of European-style foods that began with Cortes, and states that it is a wonder "that so much of what Mexico ate before Cortes is still available today and popularly consumed, from cactus paddles to chilies, from tadpoles to various worms and bugs."

The article concludes with a recipe for Salsa de Jumilies (Mountain chinch sauce) taken from Adela Fernandez's book, La Tradicional Cocina Mexicana y sus Mejores Recetas, Panorama Editorial, Mexico, 1989. We have not reprinted this recipe because we doubt that very many Americans are yet ready for it. Jumilies belong to the "stink bug" family, Pentatomidae, Order Hemiptera.

– In the September 1989 issue of Natural History, Sokolov follows up on the previous month with an article titled "Insects, Worms, and Other Tidbits" and subtitled "The Mexican diet, before Cortes, obtained high-quality protein from lowly sources." He emphasizes that "authentic" cuisine "virtually everywhere" is not the immobile tradition that traditionalists wish it to be," and furnishes an impressive list of foods contributed by the New World to the Old, including potato, tomato, corn, chocolate, squashes, beans and many others. Some of these New World foods have had great nutritional impact, for example, the sweet potato, peanut and the chili pepper in China, and manioc, corn, peanuts and pumpkins in Africa.

Relative to Mexico when Cortes appeared Sokolov notes that the country " was a major world civilization with a vigorous culture that continues to challenge imported European culture today. [Enough native Mexicans have survived] to carry on local food traditions in tandem with the new ideas and foods from Spain and the Spanish Empire." Insects of many species are a prominent part of these local food traditions, but Sokolov devotes the most space to the maguey worm, larvae of the giant skipper butterfly, Aegiale hesperiaris, which are also called palomillas del maguey (maguey squabs), champolocos, meccuilines and pecahs. Sokolov paraphrases the account of these larvae in Teresa Castello Yterbide's Presencia de la Comida Prehspanica (Banamex, 1986), as follows: "Larvae harvesters poke about among the maguey's lower leaves, looking for the telltale tunnels at the base of the leaves near the outer edges. Working very carefully with a machete, so as not to disembowel the larvae unwittingly, they cut open the leaf. To extract the larvae whole, they use hooks formed by cutting thin strips from the edge of a maguey leaf. Then they remove all its spines except for one at the end of the strip. This they form into the hook they use to catch the larvae by the head. To store the larvae, they make pouches with the skin of a tender new maguey leaf, which is called mixiote (it gives its name, synecdochically, to a dish made of chunks of marinated meat wrapped in mixiote pouches and steamed).

To cook the larvae, people sometimes just put a whole gusano (larvae)-filled mixiote over coals or hot ashes, or they might just put the larvae directly on a bakestone until they swell and stiffen, turning golden brown and crunchy. And this is not some quaint account of a long-forgotten practice. Castello Yturbide nonchalantly mentions that maguey larvae can be obtained in April in the market of San Juan in Mexico City or in Actopan and Ixmiquilpan (two villages of the state of Hidalgo) or in farm hamlets around Mexico City.

Relative to other insects, Sokolov notes that the eggs of water bugs (moscos de pajaro) (Hemiptera) are still harvested in the same manner described by Sahagun. Today, they are toasted, ground up and made into little cakes held together with turkey egg. In the late 18th Century, they were apparently a garnish for the festive dish called revoltijo, served on Christmas Eve and at the vigil of Thursday night of Holy Week. Other insects still eaten include locusts, available year-round at markets in Oaxaco and Atlixco, toasted and eaten with tortillas and a sauce of chili pasilla; mountain chinch bugs, eaten toasted or living; oak-boring beetles which are popular as snacks among Mixtec peasants; ant larvae and pupae (called ant eggs); and in Jungapeo, Michoacan, wasps. Two excellent photographs (one of maguey worms) accompany the article. (Ed.: It can be noted that Dr. Julieta Ramos-Elorduy, who has done extensive research on entomophagy in Mexico, has reported that more than 200 species of insects are still eaten in Mexico [personal communication, 1986]).

Raymond Sokolov's third venture into entomophagous topics occurred in the July 1991 issue of Natural History when he drew the difficult assignment of trying to write a food column relevant to the remainder of the July issue, which was devoted entirely to mosquitoes. In this one, he draws some material from past issues of The Food Insects Newsletter. particularly on bakuti (made from brood of the giant honey bee in Nepal, as described by Professor Michael Burgeu in the November 1990 issue). In the process, Mr. Sokolov makes some nice comments about the Newsletter, which immediately stamped him as my favorite food author. But. if you are wondering about the mosquito connection, even a gifted writer like Mr. Sokolov encounters some difficulty. After flowery dissertation at some length about the joys of fly-tying, the beauty of mountain streams, and other interesting diversions, he finally settles for the basic fact that trout eat mosquitoes and we eat trout.

– Marge Knorr, a free-lance (primarily travel) writer from Reno, Nevada, had an article called "Food for Thought: Are Mormon crickets pests or protein?" in the May/June 1991 issue of Nevada magazine. At the end of the article, Ms. Knorr identifies herself as "a loyal subscriber to The Food Insects Newsletter," making her another favorite author. Inspiration for her article was the 1990 banner year for Mormon crickets in Nevada, but the she describes interviews with a number of entomologists and anthropologists on a variety of edible insects. Diverse insights emerged. Catharine Fowler, an anthropology professor at the University of Nevada Reno, described pandora moth [Coloradia pandoral caterpillars as "very good – like a scrambled egg omelet with mushrooms." About 10 years ago, Fowler mediated a dispute between the Paiute Indians and the U.S. Forest Service in California as to whether the caterpillars (a traditional food of the Paiute) would be harvested or sprayed. This time the Paiute won. On the other hand, an assistant professor of nutrition at the UNR said, "I'd never eat insects. I'm too deeply immersed in my own culture."

– Finally, to be right up-to-date, there is an article called "Zaire River: Lifeline for a Nation," by Robert Caputo in the current issue (November 1991) of National Geographic. It is accompanied by an interesting photograph (page 26) captioned: Caterpillars and palm grubs fresh off the riverboat cover a table in Kinshasa's central market.

– The pre-Hispanic insect foods of Mexico seem to get the lion's share of attention from the popular press in the United States. Don Chon's, in particular, has been featured or at least mentioned in several magazines and newspapers, lately, and by now it must be one of the best known restaurants in Mexico. Makes you wonder if some enterprising restaurateur in the U.S. might reap a million dollars' worth of publicity free by offering some of the grasshoppers, harvester ants, yellowjacket larvae/pupae, etc. that were such an important part of the food of our Indian forebears on this continent.

The foregoing is not by any means a complete inventory. There are no doubt many articles that we have not seen, and only one (of many) in which this editor has been involved as an interviewee is included. It would be hard to believe that the kind of media bombardment that has been occurring isn't increasing public awareness that edible insects are respectable players on the world stage. GRD
The Food Insects NewsletterCollecting Ant Pupae for Food
November 1990. Volume 3, Issue #3.
By Gregg HendersonI've been fascinated with social insects since my early childhood. I have watched ants in their natural habitat and constructed artificial nests to observe them in the fall and winter. This experience was influential in my future career choices. I received a Ph.D. in entomology from the University of Wisconsin in 1989 and will soon be moving to Louisiana State University to be their resident urban entomologist. Dr. DeFoliart asked if I would relate some of my knowledge on collecting ant pupae for the readers of this newsletter.

I'll deal only with the mound-building ant species in the genus Formica, since this ant group I know best. Formica is known for its spraying of formic acid as a defense mechanism. The large gland reserve appropriated for this purpose makes eating adults a distasteful experience. Even an ant with a full load of sweet honeydew in its crop tastes extremely acidic. The pupae on the other hand, do not have this acid flavor and are, if I must admit it, quite tasty.

Having dug into so many mounds to document the colony cycle of Formica, I learned that the brood cycle is very predictable for a given species in any one region. Regular checking of a single mound will quickly reveal when the pupae can be harvested from all the mounds. Ant workers take meticulous care of their young. The smallest larvae are kept in moist areas of the mound. The pupae however need dry and warm conditions and are kept separate from the rest of the brood. The mound-builders make it particularly easy for pupae collection because the workers move them to the highest reaches of the mound where the sun can warm them. Formica adults will even remove the paper-like cocoon from the pupae several weeks before they have sclerotized, sort of like shelling peanuts.

The best time to go pupae collecting is one hour after the sun has hit the mound in the morning. The pupae can be collected just under the surface of the mound at this time. Later in the day the pupae will be moved deeper into the mound to avoid excessive heat. After collecting the pupae, replace the soil and thatch to its original place. By collecting in this way the colony itself will be little affected by the harvest and will quickly rebound from the loss. This is particularly important since ants (especially Formica) are one of our most beneficial insects in the world and must be respected as such.
The Food Insects NewsletterHunter-gatherers were sometimes very labor-efficient
A Grasshopper in Every Pot
July 1989. Volume 2, Issue #2.
By David B. Madsen
originally published in Natural History (New York). July 1989. pp. 22-25.In the spring of 1985, "millions" of grasshoppers (the migratory grasshopper, Melanoplus sanguinipes) were found lying along the eastern shore of the Great Salt Lake. Madsen, state archaeologist in the Antiquities Section of Utah's Division of State History, says, "enormous numbers of the insects had flown or been blown into the salt water and had subsequently been washed up, leaving neat rows of salted and sun-dried grasshoppers stretched for miles along the beach." The hoppers, coated with a thin veneer of sand, were in as many as five rows in some places, with the widest rows ranging up to more than six feet in width and nine inches thick and containing up to 10,000 grasshoppers per foot.

A year earlier, while digging in Lakeside Cave which is at the western edge of the Great Salt Lake, Madsen and co-workers had discovered thousands(and estimated millions)of grasshopper fragments in the various strata of the cave floor. The hopper fragments, in a matrix of sand, were also found in the majority of samples of dried human feces found in the cave. The connection between beach and cave was obvious. Lakeside Cave has been visited by Great Basin hunter-gatherers intermittently for the past 5,000 years. It served only as a temporary base because it is far from fresh water. Obviously, the cave was used as a winnowing site for removing sand from the grasshoppers which were scooped up at the beach and most of which were then hauled elsewhere.

Madsen and colleagues found that one person could collect an average of 200 pounds of the sun-dried grasshoppers per hour. At 1,365 calories per pound (compared with about 1,240 calories per pound of cooked medium-fat beef and about 1,590 calories per pound of wheat flour), this amounted to an average return of 273,000 calories per hour of effort invested. According to Madsen, "Even when we took a tenth of this figure, to be conservative, we found this to be the highest rate of return of any local resource. It is far higher than the 300 to 1,000 calories per hour rate produced by collecting most seeds (such as sunflower seeds and pine nuts) and higher even than the estimated 25,000 calories per hour for large game animals such as deer or antelope."

Madsen also investigated the rate of return per unit of effort expended in collecting Mormon crickets (Anabrus simplex), another food of early Native Americans. Crickets were collected from bushes, grass, etc., at rates of 600 to 1,452 per hour, an average of nearly two and one-third pounds or, at 1,270 calories per pound, an average of 2,959 calories per hour. The crickets often reach greatest densities along the margins of streams or other bodies of water which lie in their line of march and which they will attempt to cross. In two such situations, they were collected at the rates of 5,652 and 9,876 per hour, an average of nearly 18 1/2 pounds of crickets or 23,479 calories per hour. The first number (2,959 calories per hour) surpasses the return rate from all local resources except small and large game animals, while the latter compares favorably even with deer and other large game.

Madsen places cricket collecting in a modem context by saying, "One person collecting crickets from the water margin for one hour, yielding eighteen and one-half pounds, therefore, accomplishes as much as one collecting 87 chili dogs, 49 slices of pizza, or 43 Big Macs." He concludes, "Our findings thus showed that the use of insects as a food resource made a great deal of economic sense."—
The Food Insects NewsletterA Query:
Are processed insect food products still commercially available in the United States?
November 1988. Volume 1, Issue #2.
By Gene R. DeFoliart
University of Wisconsin
Madison, WIMarston Bates, the eminent zoologist, wrote in 1960 in The American Scholar (29:43-52): "In our household, I am left in complete command of one department – the things to eat with drinks. In the store where I do most of the buying, there is a wonderful assortment of temptations: fish eggs of many kinds other than the authentic but impossibly expensive caviar; fish themselves of many species, prepared in many ways; a wide variety of cheeses and sausages, of crispy fried things, of olives and nuts and minced clams and smoked oysters. Lately several kinds of insects have appeared on the shelves – canned ants and silkworm pupae from Japan, maguey worms from Mexico, fried grasshoppers – the can doesn't say where they are from. Insects are an important element in human diet in many parts of the world, but they have long been taboo in European civilizations. It is possible that they will get back into the Western diet by way of the cocktail hour."

Bates continued: "The maguey worms [larvae of the giant skipper butterfly, Aegiale hesperiaris] have been canned for the local market in Mexico for some time, and now they are being imported into the United States by the stores that specialize in fancy foods. The canned worms are best if eaten hot; they have a pleasant, nutty flavor, which blends as well with a martini as with mescal, the potent drink that the Mexicans distill from the fermented pulque. In my home we have been trying these worms on cocktail guests. As yet we haven't found anyone who disliked them, although our guests have shown considerable variation in the degree of their enthusiasm. The worms at least provide a topic of conversation."

In concluding this particular bit of discussion, Bates said, "From these experiments of ours with guests, I get the idea that while Americans may be prejudiced, they are far from being proud of their prejudices."

Lucy Clausen of Columbia University and the American Museum of Natural History, and author of Insect Fact and Folklore (1963), also mentioned maguey worms but by another name, saying that people in the United States are eating fried "gusanos ' [=maguey worms] with relish. "Close to the Mexican border, 'gusanos' are served as thirst-producers at cocktail parties. In recent years Mexico has been canning and exporting 'gusanos' and they may now be purchased in the better delicatessen and department stores of our larger cities. They are advertised as 'delicious delicacies, especially with cocktails."

In 1960, Hocking and Matsumura, of the University of Alberta noted that a product canned in Japan under the name "Baby Bees" (fried bee pupae with soy sauce) had been available for some time on the Canadian market at a price of $2.20 per 2 ounces (Bee World 41: 113- 120).

James Trager, in The Food Book (1972), after discussing several insects that are classed as delicacies in other countries, stated: "But the only insects in American supermarkets, at least the only kinds offered for sale [italics added], are fried grasshoppers, Japanese ants, bees and silkworm pupae, and Mexican maguey worms…. All are sold in cans, ostensibly as cocktail snacks but basically for their entertainment value. Americans' propensity for 'impulse purchases' is prodigious." Trager's book, by the way, was formerly titled, "The Enriched, Fortified, Concentrated, Country-fresh, Lip-smacking, Finger-licking, International, Unexpurgated Foodbook."

Finally, Ronald Taylor devoted 14 pages in his book, Butterflies in My Stomach (1975; pp. 83-96), to a description of 19 processed, mostly canned, insect foods available in the American marketplace. Most of these products (11 of them) were offered by Reese Finer Foods, Inc., who imported them from Japan. They were sold primarily as novelty items with highest sales around the New Year.

In view of the above, we were surprised to find a couple of years ago that imported insect products could not be found in specialty food shops here in Madison, Wisconsin. A number of long-time residents to whom we mentioned this were also surprised, saying that such products were formerly available. A more superficial search in Minneapolis-St. Paul was also unsuccessful. A letter to Reese, Inc., brought the information that they no longer import these products. We heard from a Chicagoan that, until recently at least, the Marshall Field Company catalog listed several insect food products, but the Madison store knew nothing about this.

I should say that our question results more from curiosity than from any sense of urgent need. Taylor (loc. cit.), an avowed advocate of the palatability of insects, states: "Personally, I find most canned insects unpleasant tasting – some worse than others – or, at the very least, insipid. If, however, you want to eat a canned insect, my suggestion is that you begin with the agave worm [yet another name for the maguey worm]." Taylor, the author (with Barbara Carter) of Entertaining with Insects: The Original Guide to Insect Cookery [to be reviewed in the next Newsletter] states, "It is unfortunate that there aren't better prepared insect foods on the American market, and at reasonable prices." Similarly, Bates (loc. cit.) mentions that, "The Japanese now export canned fried ants to this country, but these canned ants seem to be quite tasteless, lacking the crisp, toasted quality that I remember from my South American experience." Bates was referring to the winged sexual forms of the leaf-cutter ants (Atta spp.) which are sold in movie theaters in Colombia and serve the same function as popcorn.

Certainly, there is an abundance of testimonials expounding the palatability of various insects when properly prepared. I will mention only one here. Hocking and Matsumura (1960) subjected bee brood, prepared by shallow frying in butter or deep-fat frying in vegetable cooking fat, to an informal taste panel in Canada and reported: "Most reactions were favourable and some were eulogistic; initial prejudice proved easier to overcome than we had expected. When the tasters were asked to compare the material to some more familiar food, those most commonly mentioned were walnuts, pork crackling, sunflower seeds, and rice crispies." Joseph Alsop, in a Saturday Evening Post review of a Tokyo restaurant, mentioned that he very much enjoyed the appetizer of fried bees, the flavor being "halfway between pork crackling and wild honey."

The intent here is not to make or remake the case for promoting greater use of insects as food in the United States, Canada and Europe. Scores of respected western writers, both scientists and others, from the ancient Greeks onward have come down on the affirmative side of this question. Aristotle himself partook of cicadas and wrote (3rd century BC) that it is the last-instar nymph that "tastes best." One can partly agree and partly disagree with the statement by C. H. Curran in 1939 (Natural History 43:84-89): "During the past few years there have been a number of people who have suggested that we should eat insects. They are probably seeking notoriety or being facetious. Some of them have gone so far as to publish menus. There is no 'should' or 'should not' about the advisability of people eating insects. If they wish to do so there is no reason why they should not, since there are hundreds of different kinds that are perfectly edible. How ever, it is absurd to urge upon a people blessed with a super abundance of good, delectable food, the advantage of eating something which is likely to prove less agreeable to the palate than the things to which we are now accustomed."

Curran was not personally squeamish about eating insects, in fact, he liked to point out, and sometimes demonstrate, that we unknowingly eat many of them with our regular food. He was aware of the wide use of insects as food in cultures of non-European origin and was, presumably, personally willing to honor the preferences of their palates just as he wanted his own preferences honored. On the other hand, times change. With the earth's increasingly apparent vulnerability to ecological abuse, much of it committed in the name of agriculture, we can increasingly recognize the validity of predictions such as one by the late Professor Brian Hocking, "We have about 50 more years of steaks and then perhaps we'll have to explore other sources of animal protein" (quoted by Catherine Philip, Amer. Bee Jour. 100:444, 1960). Although there is indeed a feverish pitch of activity by food and agricultural scientists aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of food supplies, insects are as studiously ignored today as they were in Hocking's time. That should change – for more reasons than we have space to discuss here.

To recognize the preferences of different national palates, borrowing from Curran's line of thinking, we can note that the giant water-bug Lethocerus indicus, a favorite food throughout southeast Asia from eastern India and Burma to Vietnam and southern China is now imported and sold (as whole bugs, paste, or alcohol extract known as "Mangdana essence") in southeast Asian community foodshops in San Francisco, Oakland, and Berkeley (Pemberton, Pan-Pac. Entomologist 64:81-82, 1988). Such products from many lands might become an important new dimension in international trade if we Americans can learn to recognize and appreciate insects as the food resource that they deserve to be. They might also serve to create a whole new class of alternative crops for our hard-pressed small farms, alternative crops that are completely compatible with the principles of sustain able agriculture. Secondary benefits of a more relaxed attitude by Americans might include a reduced zealousness in the cosmetic use of pesticides on our food crops. But these are other stories. In the meantime, any information that this article may elicit on the present availability of commercial food insect products in the western world will be printed in the next issue of the Newsletter.—-

The Eat-a-Bug-Cookbook
The Food Insects Newsletter (price: 35 Dollar:)
Chronicle of a Changing Culture
All 13 volumes of the Food Insects Newsletter bound as a single book!
Edited by Gene DeFoliart, Florence Vaccarello Dunkel, and David GracerThe Food Insects Newsletter, published from 1988 until 2000, is the most comprehensive collection of food insect information in print, now conveniently available as a single book.

  • 414 pages, including illustrations
  • includes all thirteen volumes of the Food Insects Newsletter
  • 7 lush color plates
  • an entertaining collection of food insects festival photos
  • nutritional tables
  • invaluable indexes
  • plus forewords and afterword by the editors

Content features accurate biochemistry, basic biology, recipes, and examples illustrating the global and personal aspects of entomophagy. It carries a strong message about the importance of insects in some cultures as an essential part of everyday food consumption, especially for the young, and therefore the benefits of continuing healthy choices.—-

World Entomophagy contact us.

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Local sushi chain creates creepy, crawly insect roll
Food Beast
This Spicy Insect Crunch Roll is Sushi Made from Crickets and Worms
Daily Mail UK
Would you dare try it? Texas chef creates sushi roll made of crickets and mealworms

Edible insects slowly crawl into mainstream U.S. dining

By Karen Herzog of the Journal SentinelMay 24, 2014
An up-and-coming protein source is tucked in an alphabetically organized display of novelty candies at Allô! Chocolat in Waukesha, alongside the Chiclets and Cinna-sticks.
It's encased by a rainbow of fruity lollipops.
Surprise! It's a cricket — a U.S. farm-raised edible insect in all its crunchy glory, exoskeleton and legs intact. The owners of Allô! Chocolate hope customers will shell out $1.89 a pop to find out how many licks it takes to get to the cricket at the center of a Cricket Lick-It Lollipop, which the shop began carrying about a week ago as a summertime novelty.
Edible insects may be novelties in the U.S. now, but they could become a mainstream, earth-friendly protein source in the decades to come. Consumers surveyed by an invertebrate zoology class from the University of Wisconsin-Platteville this spring were open to the idea. Demand would first have to drive down prices: wholesale crickets now cost about $30 a pound.
The UW-Platteville students gave dry-roasted, FDA-approved crickets and "chocolate chirp cookies" made with cricket flour and chocolate-covered crickets to customers at the Driftless Market in Platteville and to kids at the campus childcare center.
The cookies were a hit. And the nutty, dry-roasted crickets were scooped up by the kids with little or no hesitation.
"I was surprised by how tasty the dry-roasted crickets were, though people complained the legs tend to get caught in the teeth," said Rebecca Doyle-Morin, an assistant professor of biology at UW-Platteville who hopes students in her invertebrate zoology class will use what they learned as citizens, since most will never be zoologists.
In Madison, edible insects have caught the fancy of sustainability advocates. Nonprofit Sustain Dane offered a "bug buffet" featuring Sweet & Sour Silkworms, Hissing Cockroach Nigiri Sushi and Mealworm Latkes during its March fundraiser for the Madison Children's Museum.
Students in the UW-Platteville zoology class became convinced edible insects are for real after watching an online TED talk, "Why not eat insects?" featuring ecological entomologist Marcel Dicke. TED talks, posted for free online, are short speeches by intellectuals and artists to share ideas.
In the talk, Dicke notes that every American already unknowingly eats at least 500 grams of insects a year in processed foods. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration allows up to 60 insect fragments per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) of chocolate; 30 insect fragments per 100 grams of peanut butter; and 225 insect parts per 225 grams of noodles, he says. Tomato soup is made from insect-damaged tomatoes.
Decades ago, Americans considered raw fish a repulsive health hazard. But they now embrace it as sushi, said Doyle-Morin.
With growing concerns about the threat of overpopulation to the food supply, entomophagy — the consumption of insects — may become unavoidable, she said.
In terms of biomass, insects are more abundant than humans, Dicke notes in his TED Talk. The current world population of 6 to 7 billion people is expected to grow to about 9 billion by 2050, which will require a substantial increase in agricultural production.
A report released last year by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization notes there are more than 1,900 edible insect species on Earth, and encourages their consumption.
Dicke makes this case for eating insects: They're a protein source comparable to beef, pork and chicken, and they produce less waste and less environmentally hazardous waste. They are more efficiently produced. And deadly food-borne illnesses and viruses have been linked to cattle, pigs and poultry.
More than 2 billion people around the world intentionally eat a variety of flying, crawling and biting insects both raw and cooked, according to National Geographic, which explored entomophagy a decade ago. (

In Thailand, open-air markets sell silkworms, grasshoppers and water bugs by the pound. In South America, movie-goers pop roasted ants into their mouths instead of popcorn. Aquatic insect larvae line the shelves of Japanese supermarkets, the magazine pointed out.
A college student started the edible insect supplier, World Ento, with the mantra, "Save the world, one bug at a time."
World Ento of Austin, Texas, was the source of crickets, meal worms and cricket flour for the UW-Platteville consumer research. Founder and owner Harman Johar started the company in a closet at his off-campus apartment before he graduated from the University of Georgia in May 2013 with bachelor's degrees in biotechnology and entomology.
World Ento sells farm-raised insects to adventurous eaters, chefs and those with dietary restrictions or allergies.
Johar refers to the company's insect killing method as "Good-Karma-Culling" — lulling the insects into stasis (sleep) in a freezer, and then lowering the freezer temperature to kill them after they're asleep. "They experience no fear, pain, or panic."
World Ento currently supplies four restaurants around the country. Among its biggest customers is the upscale Indian eatery Shanik, in Seattle, which serves paratha, or Indian flatbread, made with roasted and ground crickets. The Thai restaurant, Sticky Rice, in Chicago also is known for incorporating bugs on its menu.
Most diners will need time to get past the "ick" factor, says Doyle-Morin.
Cricket Lick-It Lollipops are the Waukesha chocolate shop's first foray into edible insects. They're made by Hotlix, a California company that has long sold novelty bug products such as scorpion lollipops.
Allô! Chocolat's owners are always looking for fun novelty products to feature during summertime "Friday Night Live" music nights in downtown Waukesha, said Cynthia Carlson, who handles corporate sales.
"We've had customers ask whether we carry chocolate-covered ants," said Carlson. "We'll see how well cricket lollipops sell. Then who knows?"


BILLEDERNE "founder af world ento1 – 8"

Prevention Magazine
Cricket and Mealworm Sushi
(Video, med manden, som etablerede WorldEnto, og som viser hvordan man laver suchi med insekter).

South by Southwest: Now with cookies made of crickets
FOTO: bitty-1
I unwrap the plastic wrapping, look at the golden biscuit, and slowly bring it to my mouth. It has a crunch to it, hints of peanut butter, sugar, other things too. One of those “other” things is quite extraordinary: the cookie was made with cricket flour. No, that’s not a brand name — this baked good was made with the ground up remains of what were once living, breathing crickets.
This was all thanks to a South by Southwest panel entitled “Hacking Meat: Why Insects Are the Future of Food,” which brought together three experts in the bug-harvesting scene. Erm, excuse me”entomophagy.
As wacky as it sounds, these people may be the food leaders of the future. Megan Miller, the co-founder of Bitty Foods which farms crickets to make insect-injected food ingredients, spoke of the upcoming food crisis. “We’re going to have an extra two billion people by 2050,” she said. “The economics of food are not looking too good, especially when it comes to protein.” She sees a market opportunity with these insects since they are filled with protein. The other panelists, Andrew Brentano of Tiny Farms (another insect farm) and Harman Singh Johar of World Ento (a company making insect food products), concurred.
Mind you, this was not some wacko sideshow attraction from the World’s Fair trying to frighten people about future prospects. These were entrepreneurs highlighting a problem and positing a viable and potentially lucrative solution. “Insects have the potential to stabilize the global food supply,” Miller said.
Not only are they filled with protein, they are easy to farm and require less technical innovation than the growing movement toward artificially grown meat. Besides, bugs new to the world as a source of nutrients. Many cultures in the East consume insects on a regular basis. Miller, Brentano, and Johar are now just trying to sell the idea to the West.
“There’s a visual barrier for Westerners,” Miller admitted. So eating bugs whole is probably out of the question for most Americans. That’s why she’s starting with powders that can be added to foods. Her products don’t have legs, they are not squirmy, and are pretty much just tasteless. I can attest to this as I tried one of her Bitty products and it tasted like a mediocre cookie.
This is pretty new territory for people in the West. So new that the FDA hasn’t enacted regulations specifically about raising and serving insects just yet. “We’ve had to become the de facto experts about the FDA’s regulations,” Johar said. So he’s had to learn what the FDA expects from normal farmers and translate that into what those in his industry do.
And the movement is actually gaining some momentum. The chef of the two Michelin star has begun to incorporate insects into his cuisines. Other restaurants have begun dabbling in it. Even the New York Times ran a piece about it (although, the Times also said monocles were in, so take its trend reporting with a grain of cricket flour.)
For the panelists, scaling the market wasn’t the issue: it’s about branding. “We can make insects trendy,” Miller said. The name will probably be the biggest hurdle, of course. “We’ve tried land-shrimp, but we don’t like it,” Harman told the audience. So, for now, it’s still insects.
Will this be the next trend in foods like, say, kale (my namesake)? Miller, Johar, and Harman would say a unequivocal “yes.” And given that they were even able to get me to eat a cricket cookie, perhaps. I’d rather have neutral-tasting protein-filled additives in my food than succomb to a zombie-like future sans nutrients.
I just beg of you all to not tell my mother I ate the cookie. I grew up in a vegetarian household and I know it would just break her heart. And the panelists even maintained that their method of killing the insects is ethical and potentially painless. Either way, I had to do it… you know, for research.
Another company using cricket flour is Exo (, based out of Brooklyn.=


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Taco de chapulines — a grasshopper taco — is a traditional Mexican delicacyJorge Uzon/AFP/Getty Images

For your own personal health and for the overall health of the planet, you should be eating more insects.
This isn't meant as a provocative, theoretical idea. It's a serious solution to the increasingly pressing problems of global warming and animal welfare — and a practical way of adding low-fat protein to your diet. The UN has advocated eating insects for these very legitimate reasons, and it's something two billion or so people around the world have done for centuries.
Of course, I'm far from the first to advocate that Western readers should adopt the practice. But it looks like we might be on the verge of a real insectivorous moment in consumer culture. The Brooklyn startup Exo just started selling protein bars made from ground cricket flour (they come in flavors like blueberry vanilla and cacao nut), and they're one of a few companies entering the business.
Here's why you shouldn't be grossed out by the idea — and why you should consider increasing your insect intake.

1) Insects are more sustainable and ethical than chicken, pork, or beef

Chingrit_thotChingrit_thotChingrit thot (จิ้งหรีดทอด), a Thai deep-fried cricket dish. (takeaway)
Put simply, our increasing reliance on factory-farmed meat is killing the planet.
Growing grain and then feeding it to animals so we can eat them — the way the majority of meat is produced nowadays — is incredibly inefficient. Between the carbon dioxide emitted as a result of growing grain and the methane burps emitted by cows as they digest it, it'sestimated that raising livestock generates about 18 percent of global greenhouse-gas emissions.
Studies have found that raising insects like mealworms and crickets for food, on the other hand, is much more environmentally benign, because we don't need to clear nearly as much land to raise them, they're cold-blooded (so require less feed per unit of body weight to sustain themselves), and we can consume their entire bodies, wasting little flesh.
insect efficiency chartinsect efficiency chart
Because we can grind crickets into flour, exoskeletons and all, we can convert 80% of their weight into food. (Anand Katakam)
As a result, the difference in greenhouse gas emissions between producing insects versus conventional meat is huge. This graph, from the UN report, shows the emissions that result from producing a kilogram of pork and beef, compared to a kilogram of insect meat:
Because demand for meat is rising around the world, livestock production is going to become an increasingly big reason why the planet is warming — unless we find an alternative. Like insects.

2) Insects are a highly nutritious protein source

It turns out that pound for pound, eating insects like crickets and mealworms (larvae that later turn into beetles) provides similar levels of fat and protein to conventional meats like beef, chicken, and fish.
Here's some data, featured in Daniella Martin's new book //Edible//:
These insects also have much higher levels of nutrients like calcium, iron, and zinc, partly because we can eat them ground into a fine powder, exoskeletons and all:
These insects are also good sources of vitamin B12, an essential vitamin that's barely found in any plant-based foods (and thus can be difficult for vegans to come by).
Of course, there are other alternate protein sources besides meat, but they each have their own nutritional problems. Most nuts and legumes lack one or more of the nine amino acidsour bodies need. Eating excessive amounts of soy — the raw ingredient for tofu, tempeh, and all manner of fake meat products — may cause unfortunate side effects.

3) Eating insects is probably more ethical than eating meat

Lots of smart people disagree about the ethics of eating meat. Some argue that the pleasure we derive from eating meat outweighs the pain and suffering experienced by a cow or pig in captivity, and some say otherwise.
But few argue that these animals experience no suffering at all. Many scientists who've studied the insect nervous system, though, believe that they don't feel pain. And while it is a matter of debate, even though who disagree would be hard-pressed to argue that insects can suffer as profoundly as a cow or pig.
Raising these insects for meat — instead of cows, pigs, and chickens — would reduce the total amount of suffering that results from our appetite for meat.

4) Our objection to eating insects is arbitrary

Giant water bug (Thai: mang dah/แมงดา), a species commonly eaten whole and fried. Alpha
Your first reaction to this article was probably a sense of revulsion. For many readers, there'ssomething intrinsically gross about the idea of eating insects.
But there's nothing innate about that disgust. For one, billions of people //already// eat insects in Asia, Africa, and Latin America every day. More generally, the animals considered to be fit for consumption vary widely from culture to culture for arbitrary reasons.
Most Americans consider the idea of eating horses or dogs repugnant, even though there's nothing substantial that differentiates horses from cows. Meanwhile, in India, eating cows is taboo, while eating goat is common.
These random variations are the results of cultural beliefs that crystallize over generations, until it begins to seem like a natural truth that eating insects is gross. (io9 has a fascinating history of how that came to happen in European and American culture.) But luckily, these arbitrary taboos can be defeated over time. There was a time when raw fish — served as sushi — was seen as repugnant in mainstream US culture. Now it's ubiquitous.
With luck, insects — like crickets, for instance, which are closely related to shrimp — may come to seem like elegant hors d'oeuvres.

5) Insects actually taste pretty mild

Exo's blueberry vanilla protein bar, one of the flavors sampled by Vox's staff. (Anand Katakam)
You'd think that insects would have a pungent, unusual taste. But most of them are surprisingly mild — like tofu, they generally take on the flavor of whatever they're cooked with.
The one time I ate whole, fried insects (crickets and grubs, in Thailand), I was struck by how much they simply tasted like fried food in general. Vox's Zack Beauchamp, who has had sautéed grasshopper tacos at DC's Oyamel restaurant, says "they weren't identifiably cricket-y. More than anything else, the overwhelming flavor sense was saltiness."
Meanwhile, the cricket bar startup Exo recently sent a box of assorted flavors to Vox's office, and reviews here were similar:

  • "The taste was identical to something like a Lara bar. Only difference is that I was highly aware of any tiny crunch." – Joss Fong
  • "I thought it would taste weird, but turns out it was no different from any other protein bar I've ever had." – Anand Katakam
  • "Unfortunately, the cricket taste I so eagerly hoped for was masked by an overpowering and unpleasant peanut butter and jelly flavor." – Andrew Prokop
  • "It was gross because it tasted like peanut butter and jelly…if it were a different flavor, I think it would have been fine." – Susannah Locke

For what it's worth, the blueberry vanilla and cacao flavors were excellent.

6) We already eat insects all the time

A jar of peanut butter is permitted to contain dozens of tiny insect fragments. Robin McNicoll
The majority of processed foods you buy have tiny pieces of insect in them. The last jar of peanut butter you bought, for instance, may have had up to 50 insect fragments. A package of frozen broccoli may have up to 60 aphids per 100 grams, and the same volume of chocolate can have about 60 fragments of various insect species.
These figures are limits set by the FDA for food contamination — in their words, "levels of natural or unavoidable defects in foods that present no health hazards for humans."
It might come as a surprise that so many processed foods contain insects, but there's a good reason: bugs inevitably infest virtually all food products we grow at low levels. Some experts estimate that, in total, we eat about one or two pounds of insects each year with our food.
These insects pose no health risks, and even the FDA's limits are simply set for aesthetic reasons — in other words, so you don't actually see the bugs mixed in to your food. That you've been eating them your entire life should tell you how much of a danger they present.

I'm sold — where can I find some bugs to eat?

1588109fc9f64c6d626541cd20370709_large1588109fc9f64c6d626541cd20370709_largeThe startup Six Foods' chips, made from beans, rice, and cricket flour. Six Foods

In the US and Europe, insect-based foods are still a niche product sold by a handful of startups and restaurants.
Apart from the protein bar company Exo, there's the British company Ento (which sells sushi-like bento boxes with cricket-based foods), the Boston-based Six Foods (which just rolled out low-fat chips made from cricket flour), World Ento (which offers recipe-ready crickets, along with cricket-based flour and baking mixes), and All Things Bugs (which sells bulk cricket flour),among others.
If the idea takes off, it's easy to imagine a bigger variety of offerings, especially because because cricket farms — which grow insects intended as lizard food — could offer the insects at lower prices.
Eventually, insects might even become the next hyper-local, self-gathered food source, because many different edible species are available in so many areas of the US. But be careful: because of widespread lawn pesticide use, it's hard to ensure they're safe, so they should be washed and cooked thoroughly.

What Do Mealworms Taste Like? (siden findes ikke mere)
5 Incredibly Nutritious Snacks Made of Bugs
Instead of reaching for a bag of Hot Fries, will Americans soon be grabbing hot flies?
In a widely publicized report last year, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization made the case for all humans to consume insects, on the grounds that they are great for the environment, our bodies, and our economic livelihoods. The truth is, 2 billion people around the world already consume creepy crawlers, and the U.N. suggested that it’s time we in the West see bugs as delicious, not disgusting.
We may be closer to our insect future than many realize. Consider the March 21 episode of Shark Tank, the ABC reality show where inventors and entrepreneurs pitch their business ideas to a panel of investors. Chapul founder Pat Crowley presented his line of energy bars made with cricket flour, and after a few predictable questions about whether Americans could stomach the bars, billionaire Mark Cuban invested in Chapul to the tune of $50,000 and 15 percent equity.
It turns out Chapul is not alone. At least two other start-ups are making products with cricket flour, and a handful more specialize in snack foods, prepared meals, and even live insects and insect farming kits. Here are five that are leading the way into our entomophagic future.
Bug appétit!

The more I thought about Prof. Dicke’s question – “Why not eat insects?” – the more the picture came into focus. In the U.S. and Europe (two of the few places where insects are not already part of the daily diet), our aversion to eating bugs is purely psychological. But psychology can change – in the early 1960s, most Americans associated raw fish with the local bait shop, but then an entrepreneur named Noritoshi Kanai opened a sushi bar in the Little Tokyo neighborhood of Los Angeles in 1966, catering to Japanese businessmen. The next year, John Belushi started frequenting Kamehachi, a new lunch spot across the street from The Second City, and New York City saw its first sushi bar open in 1975. Today, the residents of Des Moines, Iowa can choose from some 50 sushi restaurants and MenuPages lists 700 for Manhattan alone. I see Chapul in a similar vein – a simple, tasty introduction to a novel delicacy…the first step in a broad culinary shift. So, enjoy Chapul bars, share some with your friends, and let us know what you think. Welcome to the revolution.

Chapul is the creator of the world's first Cricket Bar. Using techniques inspired by ancient cultures, we mill a protein-dense flour from crickets and add that to our all-natural gourmet energy bars. Our Original Cricket Bars introduce the Western Diet to insects as a healthy, delicious, and sustainable form of nutrition. Feed the Revolution!

PITCH: Garage Door Lock
About the Company:

On the Menu: Stinkbugs and Mealworms

On the Menu: Stinkbugs and Mealworms By Caroline Winter November 17, 2011

It’s not unusual to find creepy-crawly things lurking in the closets of college students. In Harman Singh Johar’s apartment, though, their presence is intentional. His closet teems with organically raised mealworms and crickets that his company, World Entomophagy, sells for as much as $40 per pound. “We feed [the insects] only whole-grain oats … and local organically grown vegetables and fruits,” says Johar. “Organic insects are more flavorful, and they have more weight.”
World Entomophagy is one of a growing number of insect suppliers that promote bugs as food. For humans. Encouraged by media attention, TV shows like Fear Factor, and growing concerns about the threat of overpopulation to the food supply, Americans—at least a few—are warming to the idea. “In the past three years, interest in eating bugs has surged,” says David George Gordon, a chef and author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook. The number of U.S. chefs cooking insects has “probably tripled in the past five years,” he says, and new suppliers selling bugs primarily for human consumption, rather than as food for pet fish and reptiles, have popped up in the last two years. “A lot of people … call and ask if they can just buy the bugs in bulk because they want to add them to a stir-fry,” says Kathy Mitchell, marketing manager at Hotlix, a company that has long sold novelty bug products such as scorpion lollipops.
Entomophagy—eating bugs—has many benefits, advocates say. Insects produce far less greenhouse gas per gram of meat than livestock, a 2010 study from Wageningen University in the Netherlands found, and they need less food since they’re cold-blooded and don’t use precious energy to stay warm. Many species live in close quarters, which makes rearing them easy. And insects are often packed with amino acids, fats, vitamins, and nutrients. Stinkbug, for instance, contains about the same amount of protein per gram as steak and six times as much iron.
Johar decided to breed organic bugs because scavenging them can be dangerous. Insects in the wild can be contaminated by parasites or pesticides, and some, like mealworms, will eat their own excrement, making them less nutritious. One day, Johar recalls, he popped the head off a wild grasshopper only to find maggots wriggling inside. “That was the day I decided never to eat anything I didn’t raise myself,” he says.
Johar’s customers (and roommates in his off-campus apartment at the University of Georgia) may be happy to know that the closet—hung with a sign saying “Don’t do drugs, do bugs”—is airtight and controlled for humidity and temperature. His insects live in stacked boxes, each labeled with a harvest date and cleaning schedule. Joshua Baudin, owner of Sweet Whimsy, a bakery in Long Grove, Ill., recently started topping spicy “cake pops” with white Verona chocolate and caramelized mealworms. To get his health inspector’s O.K. for baking with bugs, Baudin ordered from World Entomophagy. Because of Johar’s organic pledge, “I know they haven’t been dug out of some garbage dump,” says Baudin.
Other entrants in the bug business have sought to differentiate their offerings by making them less bug-like. Etom Foods, founded by Matthew Krisiloff, a 20-year-old sophomore at the University of Chicago, in April won a $10,000 grant from the school to find ways to extract meat from crickets and grasshoppers using technology designed for shelling shrimp. The aim, he says, is to make the insects more palatable by “removing the exoskeleton and other stigmatized parts.”
California-based BugMuscle has a patent pending for arthropod-based nutritional supplements. Founder Dianne Guilfoyle says her recipes may include crickets, mealworms, ants, or even housefly pupae, which she says taste like blood sausage due to their high iron content. Since insects are a legal source of steroids, her products should appeal to “cage fighters, bodybuilders, and extreme athletes,” which could help with marketing, says Guilfoyle, a nutrition supervisor for her local school district. “I thought that if people see bodybuilders taking it, they might accept it more willingly.”

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Study on the Regulatory Frameworks Influencing Insects for Food and Feed

Study on the regulatory frameworks influencing insects for food and feed external image 39094-01bcc9d40c03d33e959ed8ab9b8227071.jpg
The production, trade and use of edible insects as food and feed touch on a wide range of regulatory areas, from product quality assurance to the environmental impact of insect farming. Consequently, one of the largest barriers to increasing consumption of edible insects, as well as their use as animal feed, is legislation.
This discussion paper provides a preliminary look at the regulations on the regulatory frameworks influencing insects as food and feed at international, regional and national levels. This study, however, is not exhaustive. If you have any additional information from your country or region to include or corrections to the information contained within the study please contact As regulations are changing quickly we will be updating this online document periodically. The discussion paper will be presented for discussion at the **Insects to Feed the World conference**, May 14-17th, 2014.

"Insects to feed the world" conference, May 14-17,2014.

external image 40763-0d6cbe82ee4c568f2ff61319434c64742.jpg
The first international conference on insects for food and feed brought over 450 participants from 45 countries together to discuss about the state of the art in research, business and policy making in this new developing sector. The conference was organized in collaboration between Wageningen University and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and was held in Wageningen, the Netherlands.
The conference was a milestone in the recognition of the professional insect industry. Feed industry leaders, insect breeders, universities, NGO’s and other stakeholders gathered for the first time, with a clear message – insects for feed and food are viable solution for the protein deficit problem.
The conference full report (available in English only) contains a summary report with key messages, conclusions, recommendations, annex with the conference programme, all abstracts of presentations, posters and the list of participants. For obtaining copies of powerpoints presented during the conference, please contact the author(s) directly (see under list of participants).
A new "Journal of Insects as Food and Feed" by Wageningen Academic Publishers was also launched. For further information please click visit the Journals website.
Journal of Insects as Food and Feed – General information
external image JIFFcover.jpg‘Journal of Insects as Food and Feed’ is an online journal issued four times a year and will start in 2015. The journal is published by Wageningen Academic Publishers. Read the press release.

Editor-in-chief: Alan L. Yen

ISSN 2352-4588 (online edition)

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Submit your paper through Editorial Manager
Aims and Scope
Editorial Statement
Indexing and abstracting services
Recommend to your librarian / information specialist

Aims and scope===
The ‘Journal of Insects as Food and Feed’ will cover edible insects from harvesting in the wild through to industrial scale production. It will publish contributions to understanding the ecology and biology of edible insects and the factors that determine their abundance, the importance of food insects in people’s livelihoods, the value of ethno-entomological knowledge, and the role of technology transfer to assist people to utilise traditional knowledge to improve the value of insect foods in their lives. The journal aims to cover the whole chain of insect collecting or rearing to marketing edible insect products, including the development of sustainable technology, such as automation processes at affordable costs, detection, identification and mitigating of microbial contaminants, development of protocols for quality control, processing methodologies and how they affect digestibility and nutritional composition of insects, and the potential of insects to transform low value organic wastes into high protein products. At the end of the edible insect food or feed chain, marketing issues, consumer acceptance, regulation and legislation pose new research challenges. Food safety and legislation are intimately related. Consumer attitude is strongly dependent on the perceived safety. Microbial safety, toxicity due to chemical contaminants, and allergies are important issues in safety of insects as food and feed. Innovative contributions that address the multitude of aspects relevant for the utilisation of insects in increasing food and feed quality, safety and security are welcomed.

Editorial statement===
Insects are the most diverse group of animals known, and although there are nearly 2,000 species known to be utilised as food by people, there is a high likelihood that many more species could be utilised. Historically, insects have been eaten by people from many different cultures as part of their normal diet. This tradition has actively continued in several continents where collecting food insects is an important part of people’s livelihoods. Depending upon the geographical location of these different cultures, insects are collected from forests, freshwater ecosystems, deserts, and even agricultural fields. In most cultures, collecting insects as food was governed by traditional methods that encouraged sustainability in the supply of insects. Increasing population pressures, along with associated habitat degradation, has seen adoption of non-sustainable harvesting practices. One of the dangers faced by people globally is the loss of food diversity, and the use of a diverse range of food insects would be a step to alleviate this problem. Many edible insect species are only seasonally available, and there have been some species that have been semi-domesticated to be farmed, either in the wild or in cages. The number of edible insect species that fall into this category is very small, and the potential to farm more species is high and requires further investigation.

One of the advantages of using insects as food and feed is the reduced environmental impacts associated with their production compared to the more conventional stock animals. Insects can be food for both humans and also for some animals used as food, such as fish, poultry and pigs. Edible insects hold considerable potential to replace major feed ingredients that are currently used but have a larger ecological footprint. Environmental impact studies for the production of insect protein are needed to estimate global warming potential, energy use and land use as are overall life cycle assessments. Production of insects for these purposes goes beyond collecting them in the field, and involves farming that can range from small scale enterprises at the individual household or village level through to industrial-scale rearing. One of the challenges is to be able to produce large volumes of insects at a scale that will help reduce the ecological footprint of food production.

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Wageningen April 17, 2014 PRESS RELEASE: First scientific journal focussing on insects as food and feed Historically, insects have been eaten by people from many different cultures as part of their normal diet. This tradition has actively continued in several continents. In the western world eating insects is not commonly accepted. With the current world population growth rate, western people may have to get used to insects as protein source. The use of a diverse range of edible insects would be a step to alleviate the potential shortage of meat as protein source. The ‘Journal of Insects as Food and Feed’ is the first scientific journal with a multidisciplinary approach on the use of insects as feed and food ingredient. The ‘Journal of Insects as Food and Feed’ will cover edible insects from harvesting in the wild through to industrial scale. At the end of the edible insect food or feed chain, marketing issues, consumer acceptance, regulation and legislation pose new research challenges. Microbial safety, toxicity due to chemical contaminants, and allergies are important issues in safety of insects as food and feed. The first volume of the journal will be published in 2015. It will contain articles derived from the joint FAO/WUR conference ‘Insects to feed the world’. Innovative contributions that address the multitude of aspects relevant for the utilisation of insects in increasing food and feed quality, safety and security are welcomed. Journal of Insects as Food and Feed ISSN 2352-4588 online-only, peer-reviewed journal publisher: Wageningen Academic Publishers editor-in-chief: Dr. Alan L. Yen About the editor-in-chief Dr. Alan Louey Yen is an entomologist based at Agribio at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia. He holds a joint appointment as Research Leader in Invertebrate Sciences in the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Associate Professor in the School of Applied Systems Biology. Alan began working on the insect foods of Australian Aborigines when undertaking invertebrate surveys in Central Australia. This expanded into insects as food and feed with an emphasis on sustainable harvesting of insects from the wild. He received an Australian Government Endeavour Executive Award in 2011 to work on edible insects based at the UN FAO Asia and Pacific headquarters in Bangkok, and he studied edible insects in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. More information about him is available on the journal website. About the publisher Wageningen Academic Publishers is an independent publishing company in the field of life sciences. Main topics are animal and veterinary sciences, food sciences, social sciences, environmental sciences and plant sciences. Wageningen Academic Publishers publishes journals, monographs, textbooks, proceedings as well as popular scientific publications. More information: Contact: Dr Renate Smallegange Editor Journal of Insects as Food and Feed +31 317 476513

Journal of Insects as Food and Feed – Editor-in-chief
Alan Louey Yen is an entomologist based at Agribio at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia. He holds a joint appointment as Research Leader in Invertebrate Sciences in the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Associate Professor in the School of Applied Systems Biology. He completed his undergraduate and postgraduate studies at La Trobe University, undertaking a B.Sc. (Hons) and a Ph.D in Zoology, majoring in entomology. This was followed by a post-doctoral fellowship at Monash University, and then a curatorship at the Museum of Victoria before taking up his current position.

Alan has a research background in insect/plant interactions (predominantly insects on Australian eucalypt and wattle plants), invertebrate conservation, plant pest biosecurity, cultural entomology, Australian Aboriginal ethnoentomology, environmental management, and human entomophagy. He has published over 90 papers, co-authored three books and edited two conference proceedings. He has been the Honorary editor for the Proceedings of the Royal Society of Victoria and on the editorial board of The Victorian Naturalist.

In relation to entomophagy, Alan began working on the insect foods of Australian Aborigines when undertaking invertebrate surveys in Central Australia. This expanded into insects as food and feed with an emphasis on sustainable harvesting of insects from the wild. He received an Australian Government Endeavour Executive Award in 2011 to work on edible insects based at the UN FAO Asia and Pacific headquarters in Bangkok, and he studied edible insects in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. He was a presenter at the FAOInsects Bite Back Workshop in Chiangmai in 2008, and a participant of the 2012 FAO meeting //Assessing the Potential of Insects as Food and Feed in Assuring Food Security// in Rome. He has published four papers and two book chapters on entomophagy.

Journal of Insects as Food and Feed

The ‘Journal of Insects as Food and Feed’ is the first scientific journal with a multidisciplinary approach on the use of insects as feed and food ingredient. The first volume of this online only, peer reviewed journal will be published in 2015. An Open Access editorial by editor-in-chief Dr. Alan L. Yen is available online
Delegates of this conference receive a 20% discount on the first subscription year for the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed.

This discount is valid when we receive the subscription before September 30, 2014. Please mention ‘Special offer JIFF + Eating Innovation’ in youremail or on the order form when you place your order.

Pricing details 2015 (excluding VAT)

online only
570 euro
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Wageningen April 17, 2014


First scientific journal focusing on insects as food and feed
Historically, insects have been eaten by people from many different cultures as part of their normal diet. This tradition has actively continued in several continents. In the western world eating insects is not commonly accepted. With the current world population growth rate, western people may have to get used to insects as protein source. The use of a diverse range of edible insects would be a step to alleviate the potential shortage of meat as protein source.
The ‘Journal of Insects as Food and Feed’ is the first scientific journal with a multidisciplinary approach on the use of insects as feed and food ingredient. The ‘Journal of Insects as Food and Feed’ will cover edible insects from harvesting in the wild through to industrial scale. At the end of the edible insect food or feed chain, marketing issues, consumer acceptance, regulation and legislation pose new research challenges. Microbial safety, toxicity due to chemical contaminants, and allergies are important issues in safety of insects as food and feed.
The first volume of the journal will be published in 2015. It will contain articles derived from the joint FAO/WUR conference ‘Insects to feed the world’. Innovative contributions that address the multitude of aspects relevant for the utilisation of insects in increasing food and feed quality, safety and security are welcomed.
Journal of Insects as Food and Feed
ISSN 2352-4588

online-only, peer-reviewed journal

publisher: Wageningen Academic Publishers editor-in-chief: Dr. Alan L. Yen
About the editor-in-chief
Dr. Alan Louey Yen is an entomologist based at Agribio at La Trobe University in Victoria, Australia. He holds a joint appointment as Research Leader in Invertebrate Sciences in the Victorian Department of Environment and Primary Industries and Associate

Professor in the School of Applied Systems Biology.
Alan began working on the insect foods of Australian Aborigines when undertaking invertebrate surveys in Central Australia. This expanded into insects as food and feed with an emphasis on sustainable harvesting of insects from the wild. He received an Australian Government Endeavour Executive Award in 2011 to work on edible insects based at the UN FAO Asia and Pacific headquarters in Bangkok, and he studied edible insects in Thailand, Laos and Cambodia. More information about him is available on the journal website.
About the publisher
Wageningen Academic Publishers is an independent publishing company in the field of life sciences. Main topics are animal and veterinary sciences, food sciences, social sciences, environmental sciences and plant sciences. Wageningen Academic Publishers publishes journals, monographs, textbooks, proceedings as well as popular scientific publications.
More information:
Contact: Dr Renate Smallegange

Editor Journal of Insects as Food and +31 317 476513

More information about the journal is available on the website:
World Ento is Bringing Insects to Your Table
George Washington University’s Today
World Entomophagy . The Georgia-based business, WorldEnto for short, wants you to include the eating of crickets, mealworms, and presumably, other crawly members of the insect kingdom in your lifestyle.
It’s a company on a mission, with partners such as Little Herds, that feel bug eating is a positive social change. WorldEnto believes consuming soil-dwelling creatures will help reduce our carbon footprint, since raising and transporting the kinds of animals commonly used for food is very taxing on the environment. They also see entomophagy–the eating of bugs–as a solution to world hunger. In short, crickets and their friends are a sustainable protein source.
WorldEnto’s product list is streamlined, revolving mostly around crickets (young ones are apparently Chef’s Choice and a bit more expensive than the adults) and mealworms. In addition to the whole thing, you can buy flour made from each insect, in case you’re up for some “chocolate chirp pancakes.” The sweet and spicy teriyaki cricket snacks are sold out at the moment, but they have crews out with shovels trying to rectify this.
Little Herds’ tumblr site includes a quote pointing out that insects are close cousins of lobsters, mussels, and shrimp, the most expensive items on the menu. It also links you to photos at of grasshopper kebabs and deep-fried tarantula with smoked paprika.
As for WorldEnto, it promises its wares are free, not only of disease, but of the kind of psychological wait, why I am I in this shoe box and where are we going? kind of angst that might compromise deliciousness. Its “Good Karma Killing” policy seems to involve freezing to keep the bugs panic-free as the end draws near.
Companies with a conscience are easy to get behind, and as soon as they come out with Cool Ranch Crickets, I’m in for a case.

How Will We Feed 9 Billion People in 2050?

How Will We Feed 9 Billion People in 2050? Experts at GW’s Feeding the Planet Summit discuss sustainable innovations in food security.

Rajiv ShahRajiv Shah
USAID Administrator Rajiv Shah was the keynote speaker at the Feeding the Planet Summit. He presented the "five most innovative things the U.S. is doing to feed the planet," such as an orange-flesh sweet potato enhanced with high levels of Vitamin A.

November 03, 2013
By Lauren Ingeno
By the year 2050, experts predict the world population will rise to 9 billion.
To meet the needs of that many people, humans will have to produce as much food in the next 40 years as they have in the last 8,000, says Jason Clay, senior vice president of market transformation for the World Wildlife Fund. Currently, more than 800 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.
And as the world population surges, the Earth’s health is declining. Humans are destroying forests, draining rivers and building factory farms to increase food production. Meanwhile, climate change is impacting all elements of food security—availability, access, utilization and stability.
So how will we feed the world without destroying the planet? And what role will consumers, farmers, policymakers and scientists play in addressing these challenges?
These were two of the big questions tackled at the day-long Feeding the Planet Summit held in the George Washington University’s Jack Morton Auditorium on Wednesday.
“Feeding the Planet: Sustainable Innovations in Food Security”was launched by GW Planet Forward—a project created in 2009 by GW School of Media and Public Affairs Director Frank Sesno and based at SMPA’s Center for Innovative Media. Planet Forward is an online community where “experts and engaged citizens come together” to find solutions in the areas of energy, climate and sustainability.

Edible Baja Arizona
Don’t Bug Me
=Don’t Bug Me=
With entrepreneurs and academics leading the way, we may all soon be enjoying the benefits of edible insects.

By Norah Booth

Before you know it, entomophagy, or insect eating, will be a familiar media topic. Fancy Paris restaurants already feature insects as novelty food items. High-end chefs in New York prepare dishes of scorpions and tarantulas that cost upwards of $100. Bloggers, like Daniella Martin of Girl Meets Bug, share their experiences and expertise with preparing insect meals. Seattle chef David George Gordon promotes insects-as-food at food fairs along with his Eat-A-Bug Cookbook. Don Bugito is a San Francisco food truck business serving you-know-what.
Semi-retired University of Arizona entomologist Carl Olson, known as the Bugman, used to regularly dish up insects to his students as part of his courses. Changing public perception of this class of creatures has been a lifelong pursuit for a man who still works the temporary entomology job he took 38 years ago. “They are animals. They have tiny hearts, a respiratory system, a digestive system. They are like us.”
It’s a hard sell, even for someone so knowledgeable and passionate about his subject. “We have,” he says, “been conditioned to get out the insecticide at the sight of a bug.” How do crawlies like crickets or mealy worms get rebranded as dinner fare? Olson starts with the facts. “Insects are a healthy source of protein, low in fat, low in cholesterol.
“We’re so tunneled in the way we look at things—it’s amazing what other countries have learned from the bug world.” Olson sees the issue as, “How can we culture insects to put them into production for food?”
Grasshopper illustration by Bobby LongGrasshopper illustration by Bobby LongUA graduates Pat Crowley and Seth Davis have more than a suggestion. “Join the Revolution” is the slogan for Chapul, the first business to offer cricket-powered energy bars. With Ruth Arevalo and Dan O’Neill, they started their company out of Salt Lake City with a Kickstarter campaign that raised $6,000 beyond its requested $10,000. The partners spent time in Tucson grinding crickets into their confections and selling their fare at the Loft Farmers’ Market.

Phoenician Crowley says the first response to Chapul’s product is often the learned revulsion the thought of eating bugs evokes in most faces. But he says Tucsonans just took it in stride. “‘It’s about time’ one woman told me. Others said, ‘Thank you for doing this.’ That’s the kind of response that keeps me going.”
Crowley’s interest in bugging the planet about its food habits comes out of his UA degree in watershed management. “I saw how much water goes into raising food for our food. Seventy percent of arable land is used in this production.” Chapul now donates 10 percent of profit to water conservation in the Southwest.
White Chocolate and Wax Worm CookiesWhite Chocolate and Wax Worm Cookies
White Chocolate and Wax Worm Cookies
“Insects convert grain and grass into edible protein as much as 10 times more efficiently as cows and pigs, and are rich in key nutrients such as omega-3 acids and low in fat,” he says—and they do this on a 10th of the water needed by cows.
Although 80 percent of the cultures in the world include insects in their diets, when it comes to bugs on our Western plates, most arthropods, or insects, have a serious image problem. There are, however, a few, such as the water bugs we know as lobsters, crabs, and shrimp that have been successfully rehabilitated. Consulted about how cultures develop food preferences, UA anthropologist Brackette F. Williams says, “Get rich people to eat them. It worked with lobster.”
It seems that people are much more agreeable to the idea of eating bugs if they don’t see the bugs. It also helps when the public is reminded that we already eat bugs with the amounts of insect parts that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits in foods like peanut butter and frozen vegetables. (There are currently no FDA regulations governing growing insects for human consumption.)
Baja Arizona has a climate suitable to bug farms, or insectaries. While none catering to human consumption has opened here yet, it could be just a matter of time. The bugs and workers will need to be cooled in our summers and heated in the winter, but the up to five temperate Sonoran Desert months will help make such an enterprise viable.
With a long-time ambassador named Jiminy, crickets are the darlings of edible insect enthusiasts.
Fried Green Tomato HornwormsFried Green Tomato HornwormsFried Green Tomato Hornworms
A seminal Austin business offers a model for how cricket farming is done (and is looking for partners in the Southwest). Harman S. Johar hatched his fledgling insect protein enterprise out of his Atlanta dorm room closet less than four years ago. He was invited by nonprofit entomophagy promoter Little Herds’ Robert Nathan Allen to set up in Austin. The two co-founded World Entomophagy, an edible bug processing company that has current capacity to produce a few million organic-quality crickets a week. Much of the product so far is cricket flour. “It’s easy to blend with other products. People say it tastes like regular food,” Johar says.
All insects are cold-blooded. When the crickets are about five weeks old, before they develop wings (which can leave debris in human teeth), they are harvested by a gradual lowering of their ambient temperature, lulling them into natural stasis. It’s the same principle native peoples used when they gathered crickets and grasshoppers slowed by the cold in the early mornings. In the insectary process the temperature continues to drop to freezing.
Frozen crickets are transported to the processing plant for cleaning and random testing for contaminants, and then washed, dried, and roasted. Three and a half ounces of cricket retail at $9. “The products are expensive because the process is labor intensive,” Johar explains.
Educating the public and Western cultures to accept insect consumption as a staple and as “normal” is one of the goals of Little Herds. “We can’t continue to eat meat the way we do. Insect production improves nutrition across the world. We don’t have to put them on a skewer. We can adopt them into our food in approachable ways. They don’t have to look like bugs,” Allen says.
Norah Booth is an omnivorous writer living in Tucson. Her most recent articles and interviews have appeared in Poets & Writers, Tucson Weekly, and

Fried Green Tomato Hornworms

Yield: 8 servings
3 tablespoons olive oil

32 tomato hornworms

4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into sixteen ¼-inch rounds

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

White cornmeal

16 to 20 small basil leaves
1. In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the hornworms and fry lightly for about 4 minutes, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect under high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
2. Season the tomato rounds with salt and pepper to taste, then coat with cornmeal on both sides.
3. In another large skillet or wok, heat the remaining oil and fry the tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides.
4. Top each tomato round with 2 fried tomato hornworms.
5. Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately.
<em>Reprinted with permission from </em>The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook,<em> Revised by David George Gordon (Ten Speed Press, © 2013). Photo Credit: Chugrad McAndrews.</em>

White Chocolate and 
Wax Worm Cookies

Yield: about 3 dozen cookies

  • 1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ¾ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ¾ cup butter, softened
  • ¾ cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cups white chocolate chunks or morsels
  • ¾ cup (about 375) frozen wax worms, thawed
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a large mixing bowl, beat together the butter, brown and granulated sugars, and vanilla extract until creamy.
  3. Stir the egg into the butter mixture, then gradually beat in the flour mixture. Stir in the white chocolate chunks and half of the wax worms, reserving the rest for garnishing the cookies.
  4. Drop the batter by rounded teaspoonful onto nonstick baking sheets.
  5. Gently press 2 or 3 of the remaining wax worms into the top of each cookie.
  6. Bake until the edges of each cookie are lightly browned, 8 to 12 minutes.
  7. Let cookies cool on the baking sheets for 
2 minutes, then transfer them to a wire rack to cool completely.

Reprinted with permission from The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, Revised by David George Gordon (Ten Speed Press, © 2013). Photo Credit: Chugrad McAndrews



Modern Farmer
Meal Worms: Apartment Bug Farm Is Big Business

=Meal Worms: Apartment Bug Farm Is Big Business=
By Andre Gallant on June 14, 2013

external image 060713-Bug-Farm-MF-8-AG2.jpgAnyone who’s braved the apartment of a college-aged male will recognize this scene: video game controllers strewn across the carpet; juice glasses left out on the coffee table; “Family Guy” posters pinned to the wall.
This townhome mess belongs to Harman Johar, a recent graduate of the University of Georgia Athens, and his roommates, some of whom are still finishing up classes in summer school.
They’re just a bunch of dudes enjoying their youth — nothing out of the ordinary — except that Johar houses a few thousand extra roommates at a time in his closet, cooks them, freezes them and then eats them.
“If I don’t provide them with enough moisture, they’ll cannibalize each other,” Johar says, pulling out a10-gallon underbed storage box filled with meal worms, crawling through and feeding off organic oats, from his closet. Through his academic career, Johar “farmed” crickets and mealworms using a D.I.Y. set-up at first based solely in his college apartment bedroom. The company he created to sell the critters,World Entomophagy, has since rented out storage space to accommodate an increase in business. But his closet has remained his temporary research and development facility where he tests variables in the bug rearing process.
In the media barrage that followed the Food and Agriculture Organization’s recommendation that we all eat bugs, one question mostly remained unanswered as we all squirmed at the thought of eating grasshopper tacos: if Western cultures take up entomophagy, as insect eating is called, where will all the bugs come from?
Johar shows off a plastic container full of meal worms and organic oats.Johar shows off a plastic container full of meal worms and organic oats.1Investors are betting that Johar will turn these little guys into a booming business.Investors are betting that Johar will turn these little guys into a booming business.21Johar shows off a plastic container full of meal worms and organic oats.2Investors are betting that Johar will turn these little guys into a booming business.Just like many restaurants want to know exactly how their chickens were raised and killed, the few U.S. restaurants that have decided to add bugs to their menu want to know their pedigree. Johar’s bedroom bug farm may be the only U.S. source for bugs with a backstory: Johar can show that his bugs are organic and raised and killed humanely.
No standards for organic bug farming currently exist, but Johar’s insects grow to market size by feeding off organic oats instead of conventional grains which might have been sprayed with pesticides. Humane insect slaughter includes dropping the temperature on the critters, who essentially fall asleep before they die.
Internet searches turn up a number of domestic insect producers that grow bugs for pet consumption, and there are several businesses that sell bugs from Thailand and other places. But the background of those bugs are harder to verify. A restaurant or individual can simply email Johar, who’ll bag up a half pound of roasted crickets, stuff them in a trade paperback-sized box and send them off in the mail.
Johar’s living room may be a mess, but with a double major in biotechnology and entomology, his scientific practice is anything but. Sure, he had to fend off house party drunks who wanted to see the bugs, had to hide the operation from potentially nosey repairmen and told his landlords he sold books on eBay to explain the piles of boxes he regularly stuck in the mailbox. But he’s rather sober and methodical about the manner in which his bugs live and die. As mealworms grew from eggs into larvae, which is the stage they’re best consumed in, they live in a sealed, climate-controlled environment that Johar built in to a regular old clothes closet. He didn’t want to share his trade secrets, but the contraption involves a humidifier and an air cooling unit. He tests the nutrient content of everything he raises and swears his bugs are cleaner and safer than anything foraged.
Anyway, now that he’s graduated, such sneakiness is in the past. And World Entomophagy is about to move into digs way fancier than a closet: they’re scaling up to a $2 million facility in Santa Cruz, Calif paid for by angel investors and venture capital. With the additional funds, Johar’s company will further meet the expanding demands of restaurants, educational ventures like Tiny Farms and value-added bug products like the Chapul energy bar, all of which are World Entomophagy customers.
Soon, the only bug you’ll find in Johar’s apartment may be the occasional roach.

  • Jordaansl2 years agoI heard the term "mini-livestock" back in 2009 and thought that this was a great way to produce highly nutritious food at a fairly low cost and environmental impact. Many insects are great sources of concentrated nutrition like minerals and vitamins, not just protein. A friend and myself talked about the idea of creating a cricket based protein supplement a few years ago but it never really came to anything. I think this is a great idea and hope to see more and more people getting behind it.



Claudia Duranda year agoBugs would be great for home-farming, because they require minimal space and aren't messy. Plus they are easy to kill- just use a freezer, no mess

||< || || || ||

|| external image 1412386282.png

|| ||

Open Bug Farm

An innovation platform to stimulate interaction between farmers, researchers and hobbyists who want to change the world with edible insects.

You've probably heard: Edible insects are starting to change the world.
Join this collaborative project to develop a new kind of agriculture!
Insect protein is poised to become a big part of the global food supply. With UN recommendations and exciting new startups, the market for edible bugs and insect-based products is growing like never before. Things are moving fast – but how can you get involved?

Through Open Bug Farm discussions, information sharing, and events, you'll be part of the community that is pioneering insect protein.
Discuss and share everything about insect farming on the forum. People from a breadth of backgrounds sharing innovative solutions to rearing problems.

Contribute or find information about farming insects on the wiki. A centralized repository for information like climate, diet, and rearing conditions.

Life-changingThe goal: A system that can generate additional food and income, developed with the power of collaborative research.
The OSI logo trademark is the trademark of Open Source Initiative.The OSI logo trademark is the trademark of Open Source Initiative.

Open SourceOpen Bug Farm's tech is fully open source, receiving constant improvements from a community of innovative farmers.
Maker-friendlyDetailed design files and instructions make it possible to build and alter your own farm equipment.

The Open Bug Farm Mealworm Farm Kit v1.0 Beta is now available!

__Project documentation, schematics and wiki on GitHub__

Music used under Creative Commons from Josh Woodward
Whether you want to develop a product, start a farm, or you're just curious about how bug farming works, we've developed an inexpensive kit containing everything you need to start growing nutritious edible insects. Raising bugs is easy, and you could soon be producing enough to eat – or to sell.

The kit is suitable for education, research and commercial exploration. Our goal is to allow anyone to produce enough bugs to experiment with entomophagy, while developing technologies and practices to bring high volume production within reach.

And with the power of Open Source, the blueprints are available for anyone in the world to use – and continually improved by our community of farmers.

Check out the Wiki for instructions to build your own kit!

If you have questions, or to contribute, visit our community forum.
We think Open Bug Farm is going to change the world.

Sign up to be the first to know more.

For more information, read our blog post: Launching Soon – The Open Bug Farm. If you're still not sure, here's 5 reasons you should drop everything and start growing bugs. We're looking forward to helping you start!
|| Subscribe to the Tiny Farms mailing list for occasional updates:

Open Bug Farm is a project of Tiny Farms, the edible bug company.
Photos used under Creative Commons from joaquinuy, Montgomery County Planning Commission

5 Reasons You Should Drop Everything and Start Growing Bugs

Daniel Imrie-Situnayake9/10/13

Follow @tiny_farmsDaniel Imrie-SitunayakeDaniel Imrie-Situnayake
6 CommentsOrder a ReprintE-mail this Story

  • 3

Around the world, since the dawn of time, humans have eaten insects. The Western aversion to the idea is a recent phenomenon. With feed conversion ratios double that of chicken, and nearly six times that of beef, edible species like the common house cricket are a popular food source worldwide. In countries such as Thailand, commercial cricket farms arerapidly scaling up to meet growing demand.
For an entrepreneur seeking opportunities for disruption and rapid growth, the edible insect industry is unlike anything else. In the past couple of years, an increase in media attention—backed by a couple of reports from the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization—have captured public imagination in the West. Events like Future Food Salons draw crowds of intrigued consumers. Early adopters are experimenting with insect recipes, and startups like Exo and Chapul are building consumer food brands.
To anybody in the know, we’re on the verge of a protein revolution. Here are the top five reasons you should get involved:
5. Do Something About Food Scarcity
Modern agriculture is facing a crisis. A growing world population demands a protein supply that is not attainable with current methods. A third of the world’s grain is used to feed livestock; beef cattle occupy a staggering 24 percent of the planet’s land. In an era of scarcity, the US could reportedly feed 800 million people with the grain currently fed to cows—which require 100,000 liters of water to produce a kilogram of meat. Cattle are so inefficient that 1 pound of feed produces only half an ounce of beef (dry weight), a feed conversion ratio of 3.6 percent.
Entrepreneurs’ disruptive powers derive from increased efficiency. We strive to optimize systems, doing more for less. There are few industries less efficient than modern agriculture, and it presents a striking opportunity for new thinking. There’s funding available for those who need it—from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to regional NGOs.
4. Plentiful Low-hanging Fruit
Humans have always eaten insects, but it’s only recently that large scale bug farms have emerged. Modern agriculture has had thousands of years to evolve, and contemporary insect farming can be primitive in comparison. Entire cricket farms have been wiped out by disease, and yields are low for the cost. On the consumer side, retail food products are still fairly unsophisticated, and insect-based recipes have a long way to go.
For an entrepreneur willing to do the leg work, there are countless opportunities to do things better. Perhaps you could import technology from traditional agriculture? Maybe you know something about nutrition, and can design cheaper bug feed? Do you have the marketing background to make a new product take off? The current industry is characterised by enthusiastic amateurs. There’s a lot of room to do better.
3. Bask in the Media Spotlight
Any once-taboo food is a conversation starter—and edible bugs have taken the press by storm. With coverage in every major outlet, journalists are reaching out to entrepreneurs for the inside scoop on what’s going on. What’s more, tireless advocates like Little Herds are working hard to build a domestic market. It’s a dynamic community and an exciting place to be.
Instead of clamouring for attention from TechCrunch, courting bored tech writers who are tired of the same old apps, be part of an industry that’s making a big dent in the world. It’s a lot easier to promote your business when the press are knocking at your door.
2. We’re Desperate for Supply
There are two major sides to the modern bug business: retail and supply. Right now, retail is really taking off. Products from Exo and Chapul have gained a load of attention, with distributors knocking down their doors. The bottleneck now is supply. With only a couple of food-grade insect farms (like World Ento andChirp), the industry’s total production capacity is relatively small. At this moment, any entrepreneur with the resources to start a cricket farm has a guaranteed market for their produce.
1. Welcome to the Ground Floor of a New Industry
Have you ever dreamed of being there at the dawn of the industrial revolution, the beginnings of Silicon Valley or the early days of biotech? Well, that’s where the edible insect industry is today. The next century will require a lot of clever thinking around food security, and insect protein will play a major role. Don’t just take our word for it—the UN has much to say on the matter.
With the intelligent application of technology and processes from other domains, insect protein supply can rapidly scale, give millions a better quality of life and moving us closer to a post-scarcity world. The global supply chain is ripe for development; there are opportunities wherever you look. Things are moving fast—don’t miss out on your chance to disrupt conventional agriculture and shape the course of history.
Daniel Imrie-Situnayake is a co-founder of Tiny Farms, the edible bug company


The consumption of insects as food, is accepted and practiced by many cultures around the world (Defoliart 1995; Nonaka 2009; Ramos-Elorduy 2009). As many as 3,071 ethnic groups in 130 countries (Ramos-Elorduy 2009) utilize insects as essential elements of their diet (Nations 2008; Srivastava et al. 2009; Yen 2009). In fact, it is estimated that as much as 80% of the world’s population eats insects intentionally, and 100% do unintentionally (Srivastava et al. 2009). Even in the United States there has been an increasing interest in entomophagy (Gahukar 2011; Nations 2008).
HIGH NUTRIENT VALUE of INSECTS: Animals are important or even the sole source of numerous necessary nutrients such as the 8 essential amino acids, vitamin B12, riboflavin, the biologically active form of vitamin A (retinol, retinoic acid, and retinaldehyde) and several minerals (Bukkens 1997; Bukkens 2005; Hoppe et al. 2008; Michaelsen et al. 2009; Singh and Singh 1991). In particular, it is broadly accepted that animal-sourced dietary protein superior to that derived from plants (Babji et al. 2010; Hoppe et al. 2008; Michaelsen et al. 2009; Singh and Singh 1991). Insects can be grown highly efficiently and in many areas not amenable to dairy cattle and, thus, help provide a robust alternative to milk as well as a potential alternative income source for farmers.
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Insects present a substantial, yet extremely underexplored, alternative opportunity to provide much needed animal-sourced nutrients (Bukkens 1997; Bukkens 2005; Defoliart 1992; Gahukar 2011; Michaelsen et al. 2009). For example, insects are generally high in protein and fat at levels comparable to meat such as beef and milk (Table 2). As with beef and chicken, insects are a source of “complete” animal protein which is generally nutritionally superior to protein from plant sources (Hoppe et al. 2008; Michaelsen et al. 2009; Singh and Singh 1991). A review by Bukkens concludes that the amino acid composition of insects compares favorably with the reference standard recommended by UN FAO, WHO and UNU (United Nations University) (Bukkens 2005). Many insect species contain a higher portion of protein per 100g of dry weight (i.e. 68.7g for House Crickets) than ground beef (27.4g) or broiled cod fish (28.5g) (Gahukar 2011). Some estimate that the digestibility of flour made from insects is as high as 91% (Bukkens 1997). Insects are also particularly rich in fat (Table 2) (Bukkens 1997; Bukkens 2005; Defoliart 1992; Finke 2012; Gahukar 2011), and, thus, can supply a high caloric contribution for such energy dense foods (Table 2). In the reviews by Bukkens, all insect species were found to be a “significant source of the essential fatty acids linoleic and linolenic acid” (Bukkens 1997; Bukkens 2005). Some insects can also provide a higher caloric contribution to the diet than soy, maize and beef (Gahukar 2011). Insects are also particularly high in omega 3 fatty acids (Table 2). Additionally, many insect species are significantly higher in thiamin and riboflavin than whole meal bread and hen’s eggs (Bukkens 1997; Bukkens 2005). Retinol (a biologically active form of vitamin A) and β-carotene content of many insect species is also high, with levels in some species as high as 356 μg/kg and 1,800 μg/kg, respectively (Bukkens 2005).
SUSTAINABLE PROTEIN SOURCE: As the human population grows, it is ever more important to decrease our levels of consumption and harvesting materials from the planet and its ecosphere. The world adds about 70 million people each year. The United Nations expects the population to grow to more than 9 billion people by 2050, adding approximately twice the current population of China (Dzamba 2010; Safina 2011; Vogel 2010). Humans consume roughly 40% of the biomass that the land and the coastal seas produce (Safina 2011). Approximately 70% of agricultural land, and 30% of the total land on earth, is used to raise livestock (Steinfeld et al. 2006). Expanding the amount of land used for livestock production is neither a feasible nor a sustainable solution to cover the food/protein needs of the projected increases in population. Thus, it is important to use sources of high quality animal protein which reduce the amount of pollution, habitat destruction and abuse of natural resources.
We cannot rely on food production strategies utilizing livestock such as cattle to feed our growing population. About 70% of agricultural land, and 30% of the total land on earth, is used to raise livestock (Steinfeld et al. 2006). Insects are a promising source of high quality animal protein with a substantially lower ecological footprint than vertebrate livestock (Dossey 2013, Shockley and Dossey 2014, van Huis et. al. 2013). Increased utilization of insects in food products rather than ingredients from vertebrae livestock will significantly reduce the human impact on the natural environment, including our contribution to climate change. However, new technologies for improving food security, such as production and processing insects as human food, take some time for application on large scale, so it is important to make investments in these innovations sooner rather than later (Gahukar 2011).
Insects have numerous attributes which make them highly attractive, yet underexplored sources of highly nutritious and sustainable food. The general categories where insects provide the most substantial benefits for a sustainable and secure food supply are: 1) efficiency and 2) diversity.
EFFICIENCY: Insects can be produced more sustainably and with much smaller ecological footprint than most vertebrate livestocks such as cattle and swine (Dossey 2013, Shockley and Dossey 2014, van Huis et. al. 2013). They are very efficient at biotransformation of a wide variety of organic matter into edible insect body mass (eg: a high feed conversion ratio) (Nakagaki and Defoliart 1991; Oonincx et al. 2010).
Food input to weight increase for cattle is 7 to 1, for pork is 4 to 1, for poultry is 2 to 1 and for fish is less than 2 to 1 (, 2014; Pimentel and Pimentel, 2003, pp. 660S-663S). By contrast, crickets create approximately 1 lbs of body mass for every 1.25 lbs of feed (Table 1). The feed conversion ratio for milk is 1 to 1, however, milk is 87% water. Additionally, dry milk powder is only 30% protein. Crickets create 4.4 times more protein output per food input. (A Strategic Look at Protein, 2014;, 2014) Water and land requirements for animal-derived protein versus insect protein output are equally disproportionate. (Pimentel and Pimentel, 2003, pp. 660S-663S)

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(, 2014; Pimentel and Pimentel, 2003; A Strategic Look at Protein, 2014;, 2014;, 2014;, 2014; van Huis et al., 2013)
Cows consume 8 grams of mass to gain 1 gram in weight, whereas insects can require less than two (Vogel 2010). This is partly due to insects being poikilothermic (“cold blooded”), thus using less energy for body warmth (Premalatha et al. 2011). House crickets (Acheta domesticus) have an “efficiency of conversion of ingested food” (ECI) that is twice that of pigs and chickens, 4 times that of sheep and 6 times that of steer (Capinera 2004; Gahukar 2011). This efficiency leads to less usage of pesticides on animal feed, thus providing additional environmental, health and economic incentives. Compared to all other animals on earth, insects are substantially more prolific (higher fecundity) and have shorter life spans, so they can be grown rapidly. For example, house crickets can lay 1,200-1,500 eggs in a 3-4 week period, whereas beef cattle require about 4 breeding animals for each animal marketed (Capinera 2004; Gahukar 2011). Insect production also uses much less water than vertebrate livestock (Capinera 2004) (Table 1). Insects also give off lower levels of greenhouse gases than do cows (Oonincx et al. 2010). Additionally, many insects can eat non-human food plants or agricultural byproducts, thus they don’t compete with the human food supply like vertebrate livestock such as cows, chickens and pigs.
BIODIVERSITY: The UN FAO estimates that there are well over 1,000 edible insects currently used (Vogel 2010), and others estimate that number to be over 2,000 (Ramos-Elorduy 2009; RamosElorduy 1997). There are over 1 million species described and 4-30 million species estimated to exist on earth, living in every niche inhabited by humans and beyond (Dossey 2010). With this diversity and their collective reproductive capacity, they are a lot safer bet for future food security than are vertebrate animals. Development of more diversity in animal livestock/protein sources is critical to human food security going forward. For example, since there are insects of some sort on nearly every patch of land on earth, chances are that some local species in every area can be farmed as human food without transporting non-native species into the area for the same purpose. Additionally, the large numbers of edible species mean that an insect farm affecting their initial species can likely switch to another species which is resistant, which has already been done at some US cricket farms.
CLEAN PROTEIN FROM INSECTS: Salmonella spp. and Listeria monocytogenes in samples of the following commercially farmed cricket and mealworm species: (Zoophobas morio, Tenebrio molitor, Galleria mellonella, and Acheta domesticus) (Giaccone 2005). Additionally, to date, All Things Bugs LLC has not found Eschericha coli, Salmonella sp., Staphylococcus aureus, or Listeria sp. in any of several shipments of raw frozen insects from some of the largest US cricket and mealworm farms, and coliform/total plate count is reasonably low. Also, pasteurization appears to reduce total plate count to very low and possibly nearly sterile levels. Additionally, insects are biologically more separated from humans than vertebrate livestock, so the risk of an insect viral pathogen or parasite jumping to humans is exceedingly low (van Huis et al., 2013). Thus, pathogen risk appears to be very low for farmed insects.

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Austin American-Statesman
Relish Austin: This Halloween, Don’t Let the Idea of Eating Bugs Scare You

Think you’re ready for something scary on your plate this Halloween? What about toasted mealworms or cookies made with cricket flour?

Americans tend to cringe at the idea of eating insects, but the truth is, we already are. (And not just the occasional bug in our sleep.)

Relish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoRelish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoMEGHAN YOUNG
Toasted mealworms are one of the easiest, most palatable ways to eat bugs. You can also grind them into a powder … Read More
The Food and Drug Administration has surprisingly exacting standards for how many insect fragments, maggots or larvae or how much mold or “rodent filth” can be in food for it to be legal to sell.

Just 3.5 ounces of the chocolate candy in your kids’ plastic pumpkin can have 60 or more insect parts and at least some rodent hair. Eating pizza at a Halloween party this week? A half cup of tomato sauce can have 30 or more fly eggs, and 100 grams of canned mushrooms can contain up to 75 mites. (You can find these “Food Defect Action Levels” at

Some analysts estimate that we inadvertently eat a pound of insects every year, but several organizations and entrepreneurs are trying to eat more bugs on purpose.

Relish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoRelish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoCHAPUL
Chapul bars are one of the only products made (intentionally) with insects that are currently available in stores.n the summer of 2011, intrigued by Dr. Marcel Dicke’s TED talk on entomophagy, I started exploring the potential of insect protein as a solution to the overconsumption of freshwater in our industrialized agriculture sector, which consumes as much as 92% of all freshwater we (humans) use around the world. The numbers are striking…insects convert grain and grass into edible protein as much as 10 times more efficiently as cows and pigs, and are both rich in key nutrients such as omega-3 acids and low in fat to boot. And so, the math is simple – if we shift even a small fraction of our protein consumption to environmentally friendly, healthy (and tasty!) insects, we can reduce the huge amount of water which irrigates the massive, mechanized farms which exist solely to feed the 300 million head of cattle and 1.4 billion pigs mankind slaughters every year. Enough change here at home, and one day the mighty Colorado might just reach the sea again
Robert Nathan Allen is one of them. He’s the founder of Little Herds, an Austin-based nonprofit that aims to educate Americans about the benefits of eating bugs and help them get over the notion that insects are dirty or unhygienic. (Full disclosure, Allen is a multimedia sales consultant at the American-Statesman, a fact I didn’t know until long after I learned about Little Herds.)

In 2012, Allen’s mom sent him an article about bug eating, or entomophagy, which sparked his interest. As he started to research the health and environmental benefits and how accepted it is in many countries around the world, he set out to do what he could to normalize it here.

Allen says he was amazed to learn that most insects have more protein per ounce than chicken, beef and fish, and many also have higher levels of omega fats, amino acids, iron and other minerals, but the really surprising difference is in how much water and feed it takes to produce.

Relish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoRelish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoMEGHAN YOUNG
Camden Stuerzenberger of Hickory Street made these cricket tacos with mole, cotija and sweet corn for a Little Herds event earlier … Read More
Even using statistics from a pro-meat organization like California Beef Council, a single pound of beef requires 400 gallons of water to produce (other groups have put that number at more than 2,000), while most insects get liquid from food and don’t require any additional water to grow.

And insects are more efficient at turning feed into protein, so one pound of feed can produce almost a pound of insect protein, a ratio that no amount of antibiotics could help cows, chickens and pigs reach.

“The only downside is the Western psychological taboo,” Allen says.

Relish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoRelish Austin: This Halloween, don’t let the idea of eating bugs scare you photoMEGHAN YOUNG
These sweet potato bites from Camden Stuerzenberger of Hickory Street are topped with toasted mealworms.
And taboo it is. Since learning about entomophagy earlier this year, I’ve been asking people what they think about eating bugs. Most of them, even meat eaters who don’t think twice about consuming a dead mammal, have the same reaction you might be having right now.

But entomophagy is something that now even the United Nations is advocating.

Earlier this year, the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organization released a report that said that insects are the most viable option for feeding the world’s population because they are healthy sources of protein that have a small environmental footprint and are less costly to raise than traditional livestock.

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Eating bugs, 10.30.13 galleryEating bugs, 10.30.13 gallery
Eating bugs, 10.30.13
Getting over the yuck factor

Once people find out that insects are so nutritionally dense and can be raised with fewer resources than traditional sources of protein, Allen says they start to warm up to the idea.

After all, we’ve watched sushi and offal go from “yuck” to “yum” in the past 30 years, but the best example might be lobsters, which as crustaceans are closely related to insects and were once so publicly reviled that they were served only to indentured servants and prisoners. (It is for this reason that Allen warns if you have a shellfish allergy, you might be allergic to insects, and if you are allergic to chocolate or dust, you might be allergic to the insect parts in them.)

For Allen’s birthday in May, he teamed up with Camden Stuerzenberger of Hickory Street to host a bug birthday dinner for a group of his friends. For that meal, Stuerzenberger prepared calamari crusted in a mixture of coconut and mealworms, cricket mole tacos with cotija and sweet corn, sweet potato fritters with spring greens and toasted mealworms, and macarons made out of mealworm flour. (You can watch a video of his friends’ surprising reactions at

Earlier this year, Allen helped local sustainable living expert Marjory Wildcraft with her annual bug-eating festival, which has taken place in Austin since 2008. “We’ve had fantastic response from anyone who has tried anything we’ve made or come out to the bug festival,” Allen says. “Take cookies made with the bug flour. For every person who thinks it’s gross, there’s another person open to trying it who ends up liking the product.”

Allen, who raises his own mealworms at home, says that another advantage to eating them is that unlike four-footed sources of protein, insects are so far genetically removed from humans that they don’t carry diseases like avian flu or hoof and mouth disease.

Even so, it’s important to cook insects before eating them. “We don’t encourage people to go in the backyard and pick up a bug and certainly not to eat a live bug,” Allen says. “People ask, ‘Do we cook them?’ Well, do you cook your chicken or your fish? Absolutely. You wouldn’t bite into a live chicken.”

Getting bugs into grocery stores, on menus

“Eating insects is an incredibly anticlimactic experience,” says Harman Johar, who grew up traveling with his parents around Asia and was somewhat accustomed to the idea. “Most people are adventurous enough to try it, at least once,” and after they bite into it, they say something along the lines of “it tastes fine.” “They realize that it’s just another form of food.”

In 2010, the then-student at the University of Georgia started growing scorpions and mealworms in his closet, and by the time he graduated in May with degrees in applied biotechnology and entomology, Johar had started a company called World Entomophagy to produce commercially available insects for edible consumption.

Over the summer, he moved his business to Austin, in part to be closer to Little Herds, for which he is a board member, and to be in a startup-friendly city that embraces all things “weird.”

Johar says that of the more than 1,400 edible insect species, only about 20 are commercially produced in the United States, and entrepreneurs and entomophagy advocates are focusing on two species, crickets and mealworms.

Chirp and Tiny Farm are two other startups trying to get insects (and “flour” made out of ground insects) in the hands of customers who want them, and all three companies will be participating in a South by Southwest Interactive panel in March called “Hacking Meat: Why Insects Are the Future of Food.” (See box for other entomophagy events.)

One of the biggest hurdles that Harman has faced is developing the technology to grow insects on a mass scale. As such, there’s a bit of a bottleneck right now, Johar says, with plenty of vendors and fellow entrepreneurs in need of human-grade whole or ground insects but not enough infrastructure to meet the demand. Between World Entomophagy, Chirp and Tiny Farm, only World Entomophagy is able to fulfill customer orders through its partner production facilities in various parts of the country. Crickets start at $8 for 100 grams, and mealworms cost $12 for 100 grams. Johar recently released flour mixes for pancakes, brownies and cookies, which start at $21. (You can place an order by emailing

The Utah-based Chapul is already selling several flavors of cricket bars online and in stores around the country, including Wheatsville Food Co-op, and another company called Exo, which is based in Brooklyn, soon will be launching its own line of protein bars made with cricket flour.

Insect bars are the first retail products to hit stores, but Johar says that it’s only a matter of time before other business owners and chefs find ways to tap into the growing interest in entomophagy. To help further this creativity, Johar donates insects to chefs who are interested in hosting events or experimenting with new dishes.

In Austin, only La Condesa regularly features insects on the menu, in the form of a traditional Mexican cricket dish called chapulines, but there are food trailers opening on both coasts that feature insects in almost every dish, including Don Biguito in San Francisco, which serves mealworm and larvae tacos and cricket tostadillas.

Before ‘Bizarre Foods’

When David George Gordon published his “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook” (Ten Speed Press, $16.99) in 1998, there weren’t nearly as many people talking about why we should eat more insects. Andrew Zimmern of “Bizarre Foods” wasn’t eating bugs on TV, and only a handful of people, mostly in scientific circles, were studying entomophagy.

The Seattle-based author says that in the past five years, he’s seen an explosion of interest in the subject, and he calls Austin a “hotbed of bug activity.” Young entrepreneurs learn about entomophagy and realize that they can help save the world and start “a pretty good little business” at the same time.

Gordon says he’s surprised at how quickly people seem to be embracing the idea of eating bugs. “People are rather conservative, especially when it comes to food,” he says. “And people have strong feelings about bugs, that they are disgusting or germy.”

Americans aren’t used to eating things with arms, legs and eyes still attached, so Gordon thinks that we’ll likely see the insect flours take off before their whole counterparts.

“I’m interested in the way people and animals interact,” Gordon says. “I want people to think about insects as more than things you swat at.”

If you need even more proof that eating bugs is all the rage this year, consider this: Fifteen years after publishing Gordon’s cookbook, Ten Speed Press, which puts out some of the best cookbooks in the industry, published a revised version of it over the summer.

Maybe those toasted mealworms aren’t so scary after all.

Upcoming bug-eating events
At 7 p.m. Nov. 6, Robert Nathan Allen of Little Herds and Harman Johar of World Entomophagy are participating in a Dionysium event at the Alamo Drafthouse Village, 2700 W. Anderson Lane. Tickets cost $11 and are available at
The Entomological Society of America is hosting its annual conference in Austin from Nov. 10 to 13, and to kick off the event, Little Herds is helping with an “insect rodeo,” a free, family-friendly event that is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Also timed with the arrival of some 3,000 entomologists that week is the opening of Art.Science.Gallery’s ECLOSION exhibit at Canopy Austin, 916 Springdale Road. The opening reception for the insect-inspired art collection, which will be on display through Dec. 1, will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Nov. 9 and will feature insect hors d’oeuvres from Little Herds and World Entomophagy. You can find out more
On Feb. 19, a traveling entomophagy event called the Future Food Salon will come to Austin. Tickets are not yet on sale; more
Fried Green Tomato Hornworms
If you’ve ever grown tomatoes, you’ve dealt with hornworms, those fat green bugs that love to munch on the plants. With this recipe from David George Gordon’s “Eat-A-Bug” book, revenge is sweet. Cut the recipe in half or use as a guide if you have only a few hornworms to cook, and Gordon says that he prefers to freeze all of his live insects before cooking to kill them and then defrost before using.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
32 tomato hornworms
4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into sixteen 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
White cornmeal
16 to 20 small basil leaves
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the hornworms and fry lightly for about 4 minutes, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect under high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Season the tomato rounds with salt and pepper to taste, then coat with cornmeal on both sides. In another large skillet or wok, heat the remaining oil and fry the tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides. Top each tomato round with 2 fried tomato hornworms.
Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 8.
— From “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook” by David George Gordon (Ten Speed Press, $16.99)
To see more photos with this story, go to
Fried Green Tomato Hornworms
If you’ve ever grown tomatoes, you’ve dealt with hornworms, those fat green bugs that love to munch on the plants. With this recipe from David George Gordon’s “Eat-A-Bug” book, revenge is sweet. Cut the recipe in half or use as a guide if you have only a few hornworms to cook, and Gordon says that he prefers to freeze all of his live insects before cooking to kill them and then defrost before using.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
32 tomato hornworms
4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into sixteen 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
White cornmeal
16 to 20 small basil leaves
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the hornworms and fry lightly for about 4 minutes, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect under high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Season the tomato rounds with salt and pepper to taste, then coat with cornmeal on both sides. In another large skillet or wok, heat the remaining oil and fry the tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides. Top each tomato round with 2 fried tomato hornworms.
Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 8.
— From “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook” by David George Gordon (Ten Speed Press, $16.99)
To see more photos with this story, go to
Fried Green Tomato Hornworms
If you’ve ever grown tomatoes, you’ve dealt with hornworms, those fat green bugs that love to munch on the plants. With this recipe from David George Gordon’s “Eat-A-Bug” book, revenge is sweet. Cut the recipe in half or use as a guide if you have only a few hornworms to cook, and Gordon says that he prefers to freeze all of his live insects before cooking to kill them and then defrost before using.
3 Tbsp. olive oil
32 tomato hornworms
4 medium green tomatoes, sliced into sixteen 1/4-inch rounds
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
White cornmeal
16 to 20 small basil leaves
In a large skillet or wok, heat 1 tablespoon of oil over medium-high heat. Add the hornworms and fry lightly for about 4 minutes, taking care not to rupture the cuticles of each insect under high heat. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Season the tomato rounds with salt and pepper to taste, then coat with cornmeal on both sides. In another large skillet or wok, heat the remaining oil and fry the tomatoes until lightly browned on both sides. Top each tomato round with 2 fried tomato hornworms.
Garnish with basil leaves and serve immediately. Serves 8.
— From “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook” by David George Gordon (Ten Speed Press, $16.99)
To see more photos with this story, go to

For 400 år siden var en "bug" et spøgelse eller lignende væsen, og da de nataktive væggelus er svære at se blev de kaldt bedbug. De hører til en gruppe af insekter, som har en sugesnabel, Hemiphera, og som ifølge insektforskerne er de egentlige "bugs" ("True bugs"), men folk i almindelighed bruger ordet "bug" om alt muligt kryb, også f.eks. edderkopper og tusindben, som slet ikke er insekter.

Lethocerus indicus og Lethocerus amerikanus er vandlevende.

De fleste mennesker i Europa og Nordamerika anser insekter for urene, sygdomsbærere og dårligt-smagende.

2/3 af alle dyr er et insekt.

En termitdronning kan leve i 50 år.

De fleste edderkopper har 8 øjne.

Skorpioner har været på Jorden i mindst 440 mill. år.

Hvis en kakerlak var så stor som en bil ville den kunne løbe 150 miles i timen

Der er flere insektarter i et træ fra en tropisk regnskov end der er i hele staten Vermont.

I landdistrikter i Sydafrika spises mopane worm ved juletid, som er larven af Emperor moth.

Medlemmer af Klamath-stammen i det sydøstlige Oregon tændte ild under træer for at udryge pandora-møllet.

I Oaxaka i Mexico er chapulines stadig en yndet spise. Det er soltørrede græshoppe-nymfer, krydret med salt, lime og chili. Denne tradition stammer fra indbyggere i det sydvestlige Mexico, videreført fra generation til generation.

Kvartalsvis udgivne Food Insects Newsletter med Florence Dunkel som redaktør, en professor i entomologi ved Montana universitet, som også skrev to bøger om at spise insekter.

Du spiser allerede insekter. De er umuligt at undgå at spise insekter, som findes i svampe, salatblade, majsmel, tørrede bønner, broccoli, tomatsaft, karry, figenmasse, rosiner. USA har regler for, hvor mange insekter sådanne madvarer må indeholde. Det skyldes kosmetiske hensyn og ikke sundhedsmæssige hensyn. Ifølge disse regler må 100 gram af disse madvarer indeholde henholdsvis 1 bananfluelarve i tomatjouce, 400 insektrester i karry, 74 "mites" i dåsechampignon, 13 insekthoveder i figenmasse og 21 bananflueæg i rosinerne. (Food Defect Action Levels, FDA – refereret i

Melorme (mealworms) – larven af en sort bille, Tenebrio.

Insekternes ydre skelet er opbygget af kitin (chitin), som er N-acetylglucosamin, og som sætter sig mellem tænderne ligesom skallerne, når man spiser en majskolbe.
Vi kan ikke nedbryde dette kitin, så det kommer uændret ud efter fordøjelsen. Da de fleste retter med insekter indeholder insekternes yderskelet kan det blive nødvendigt med en skål til "skaller", når man spiser suppe lavet på insekter. Kitin er nogenlunde lige så bløde som dine fingernegle.

Nogle insekter signalerer, at de ikke er gode at spise, ved at have kraftige farver. (Nogle insekter har mimicry, Batesian mimicry, dvs. at de på falsk måde ligner de giftige i farverne, men uden at være det.

Da entomologen David Madsen svingede insektketcheren et sted nær grænsen mellem Utah og Colorado kunne han på 1 time fange så mange
Mormon crickets (Anabrus simplex), at det i energiindhold svarede til 98 "chilidogs", 49 pizzastykker eller 43 McDonald Big Macs.

Food Dive
Will People Eat Bugs? World Entomophagy Takes on a Tough Market

is week, Food Dive launched a new Food Startups directory that features a wide range of innovative companies in in ingredients, packaging, processing and retail. Among them, you will notice a small niche group emerging that wants to serve up insects to a new generation of consumers.
These startups are not crazy.
A May United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization report called for more edible insect farming, with estimates pointing to creepy-crawlies becoming a necessary supplement to Western diets by 2050 due to sustainability issues. Needless to say, interest in human insect consumption, known as entomophagy, has risen in recent months.
Several forward-thinkers, like Harman Singh Johar, were ahead of the curve. Johar is the founder of World Entomophagy, an edible insect supplier with clients ranging from food service companies to private individuals. A recent college graduate, he founded the company out of his dorm room at the University of Georgia in 2010, and it has grown to include over 20 other individuals and an array of insects ranging from crickets and meal worms to scorpions.
Food Dive caught up with Johar to talk the edible bug market, the future of entomophagy and how he got into this increasingly visible niche segment in the first place.
FOOD DIVE: Let's start at the beginning. How did you get the idea to start selling edible insects?
Johar of World EntomophagyJohar of World EntomophagyHARMAN SINGH JOHAR: Oh, man. It’s kind of a college story that starts with what just about any good story starts out with. I was chasing this girl at UGA, trying to get her to date me. It had been about a two month process at this point, which sounds kind of sad. I was studying at the time as an entomology student, and I was approached by the department to show David Gracer around Athens when he came to give a lecture. So, I ended up showing him around town and I heard about why eating insects is fantastic—the science behind it, basically. At the time, I thought it was a really interesting idea, but who’s gonna eat bugs?
So the next day, after David left town, I got a call from the girl saying, “Hey, let’s go out.” I ended up taking her out for sushi, and while we were eating, I kind of zoned out. I realized that 20 years ago, no one would be eating raw fish. It kind of hit me like, “Man, I don’t know what we’re gonna be eating 20 years from today. I decided that instead of investing in more beer as a college student, maybe I should invest in bugs. It turned out that I invested in a little bit of both, and I got just drunk enough to invest in a crazy company and it kind of took off.
It’s probably safe to assume at this point that you’re not still raising them in your closet, right?
JOHAR: No. We started out doing that in the first six months. We were raising them in my dorm closet, but those were more for experiments to see how we could raise the insects, what was the most efficient way. That was kind of keeping our overhead at the bare minimum to make sure that I didn’t invest too much money in something that wasn’t going to go anywhere. Now, everything is grown in a warehouse space that’s environmentally sealed. All of the environmental and health precautions are taken, and actually, right now, we’re working with a pretty large insect farm to figure out ways we can grow them in a higher quality and higher mass and cheaper.
World Entomophagy cricketsWorld Entomophagy crickets(Image Credit: Food Dive)
Did your landlord ever know that you were raising all of these bugs in your closet?
JOHAR: I had two different landlords. One was the University of Georgia, and they had absolutely no idea. Had they had an idea, I would have been kicked out right away. I hid them in my closet, and all of my clothes were all over my bed. I lived in about a 12’ by 8’ apartment—it was a little bit more than that, I think. I lived with another person in the room, and he was really, really understanding, thank god. I kind of got away with hiding it, especially because we weren’t shipping anything out or creating any end products for sale at the time.
Later on, I started growing them out of my college apartment when I moved. Again, there, if the landlord found out, I probably would have gotten thrown out—and maybe fined quite a bit. That’s when we started selling to a few people in the industry to try and get their opinions on the matter. We’d package them in the priority shipping for USPS to ship out, and when I’d go drop them off at the front desk for the mailman to collect, our landlord started asking questions. Every day, we were shipping out like 10 of these packets. “Hey, what are you shipping? Why are you here every day?” I just came up with a quick, off-the-top-of-my-head lie, saying, “I’m just shipping books that I sell on eBay.” [Laughs]
What has it been like going from operating out of your closet to having that warehouse space with 20 people?
JOHAR: It’s been a very kind of run-and-gun process and I’ve been trying to remain as flexible as possible. So we do have about 20 people working on the project, but almost all of them are college students who are doing this either as internships or as favors to me—and they’ll do it on a project-by-project basis. It’s been very strange. We’ve been exposed to a whole lot of new opportunities. The fact that this industry is growing and we happened to get in on it at the right time, it’s been absolutely amazing. Some of the opportunities that are coming our way and some of the effects that we’re having on the world have defined who we are and what we’re gonna be doing in the future with our professions.
Where do you see World Entomophagy in the overall edible insect market?
JOHAR: We’re suppliers. If you’re a company that wants to produce a cricket bar, instead of having to worry about your marketing, branding, creating the product and getting it out there for distribution and also growing your own crickets or worrying that your crickets from a random cricket farm are safe for human consumption and the quality’s good—instead of all that, you can just focus on your marketing and branding, and leave the idea of having those insects to World Ento. We’re a producer and distributor of edible insects to people who want to make a product out of them. If you’re a bakery that wants to have cricket cookies for Halloween, we’re the guys to call.
Who do you think your competitors are in the market?
JOHAR: In the overall scheme of things, I suppose we’ll be taking a little bit of protein share off of the meat market. In terms of competitors, right now, there’s no one that can provide high-quality insects or high-quality insect flour like we can. There are two or three firms that I believe are trying to do what we are, but they haven’t had any products ready that are on the market yet.
What have you noticed since 2010 as far as increasing acceptance to eating bugs?
JOHAR: The two biggest things that we’ve seen are that the market has trended away from mealworms, and now crickets dominate everything. Honestly, the future of this industry lies in crickets. In terms of acceptance, people have been more exposed to the science of why eating insects is so good, it’s become a lot easier to get people to try it. The real big innovation in the industry so far has been the idea of creating flour out of insects—basically just grinding the insects down into a very fine powder and using that in baking, using that in bug burgers and stuff like that. Once we get our bugs down to where you can’t even tell what they are and you can’t even see them in the product, it’s so easy to get people to accept the idea of eating insects.
How can the food industry benefit most from using insects?
JOHAR: In terms of the food industry, we can now cater toward paleo-diet clients that want more carb-consistent foods that feel like breads and so forth. It’s an alternative protein source that’s fantastic for the environment. Theoretically, it’s cheaper than any other protein source we have right now, once you get up to a certain economy of scale. In terms of advantages, it just really offers a new and really refreshing culinary experience. It’s opening the door to the next generation of our food. Not only does it have to be organic and nutritious, but it also has to be environmentally sustainable, so we’re now on the forefront of the next generation of food.
Are there any dangers to consuming insects?
JOHAR: Yes. There are a few different precautions that have to be taken. The first one is, you have to educate your audience so they don’t go out and find insects off the ground and start eating them. Those insects could be exposed to parasites, to chemicals, to pesticides and whatnot. You really want to make sure that what you’re eating comes from a safe and reliable source. You also want to make sure you know what kind of insect you’re eating, because some insects are incredibly detrimental to human health. For example, we have people who order scorpions from us, and some people wanted to order live scorpions, which we can’t do. Scorpions can be very dangerous, especially if you’re highly allergic to their venom. We can process them so the venom is no longer an issue and stuff like that. What it really comes down to is that there are some dangers, just like there are with any food. You could have rancid or spoiled meat and so on. As long as you know the source you’re getting them from is a safe and reliable source, you’ll be fine.
cricket macaroonscricket macaroons(Image credit: World Entomophagy)
What sort of regulatory concerns do you have to worry about, like say FDA or USDA regulations?
JOHAR: We make sure that all of our insects are raised not just in the environmentally responsible manner for our clients, but in a way that’s safe for human health. We follow a few different health code regulations—all of our insects are processed in a FDA-approved kitchen to make sure that they’re kept separate from other contaminants, that they’re processed in a proper manner and so on and so forth. There are quite a lot of regulations to take into consideration.
It was definitely something we wondered about, as far as whether the FDA or USDA pays much attention yet to insects as food.
JOHAR: I can tell you that they are paying attention to what’s happening and regulations are in the pipeline. There are no edible insect-specific regulations; however, if you’re a company that’s really worth trusting and eating from, you’re going to be following all of the regulations that the FDA has that could apply to insects. We actually have internal regulations to really make sure that our insects are safe. We aim for testing—at least 20-30% of the time—above the industry standard for other products. We make sure that our insects are processed a little bit more than they probably should be, just to make sure that they are really, really safe to eat.
Which are your personal favorites to eat?
JOHAR: My personal favorites—I really do enjoy scorpions, but that’s more because I happen to take it with shots of tequila when I eat them. I really like these things called chapulines, Mexican grasshoppers that are caught in Oaxaca, Mexico. They’re fried in chili and lime, and they taste amazing. They taste like a very spicy Dorito. I absolutely go nuts over them. I’m trying to think of what else is really good. I do enjoy these Ugandan katydids that when you fry them, they taste just like bacon. Those are my two favorites. I’ve had tarantula sushi before. It was quite good. Honestly, my company, we provide the insects as raw ingredients. I’ve seen some chefs do some absolutely mind-blowing things with crickets and create some of the most delectable dishes I’ve ever eaten in my life. Just this summer, we were in Austin, Texas, having a gourmet bug dinner. The chef took our crickets and made this mole sliced chocolate chip cricket cookie out of them, and it was fantastic.
Who do your customers include?
JOHAR: We’re very serious about our clients’ privacy, so I can’t really speak too much to that. I can tell you that there’s everything from the New York Botanical Gardens to Yale University. We’ve catered to just about anyone that’s involved in the environmental side of things. The most interesting clients that we get, we get a lot of private individuals. Just, like, every day, normal folk that will call in and order from us. They’ll be moms, dads and aunties that are like, “Hey, I’ve got a nephew or niece or a son or a daughter and I really want them to be exposed to newer things. Can I have some bugs from you guys?” We have a “Cool Mom and Dad” discount that we apply to them. They’re the ones that will follow up with pictures of their kids with crickets in their mouths, having a blast.
cricket cookiescricket cookies(Image credit: World Entomophagy)
Where do you see the market for edible insects 10 years from now?
JOHAR: I think it’s going to be a very significant part of the food industry. It’ll probably honestly end up very similar to sushi, but with a little bit more of an everyday focus because they’re just so good for us environmentally and so good for us in terms of sustainability. I wouldn’t be surprised to see products that have edible insects on the shelves at Whole Foods or at Trader Joe’s. I wouldn’t be surprised if you can’t go to the Whole Foods market and go to the freezer section and just pull out a frozen bag of raw crickets for you to cook with at home.
A UN report earlier this year suggested bugs could be a staple of diets worldwide by 2050. Do you think it will happen sooner?
JOHAR: I don’t think that they’ll be a staple of our diet before then, but I do believe that they’ll be very well integrated—kind of like sushi is. I’d say that, in about 10 years, we’ll see them as kind of a normal food that you can go out and eat, and it’ll take maybe another 20-30 years before they really become a “you probably eat them four or five times a week” kind of thing.
What do you think the pros and cons of being ahead of the curve are?
JOHAR: In terms of cons in general and being ahead of the curve, we’re the ones that have the burden of developing the market—of making this go from more than just being a fad that’s gonna be around for maybe a year or two to make it become something that sticks around in our society, like sushi or so on. The pros, we got into this when no one else was around, which meant we had the first-to-market advantage. We have the initial publicity. The idea of eating insects is still kind of crazy and people still kind of recognize that, so it’s very easy to kind of lure in the interested parties. It’s really just another food product that we’re trying to get out there. It’s just another market that we’re trying to develop. I guess one of the biggest pros is it was really easy to get involved into the entomophagy community because no one else was willing to put their money where their mouth was at that time, and we kind of got a lot of street cred really fast. Within six months of being on the scene, we had a product and we were delivering.

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Austin 360
Why its Silly to Bug Out Over Entomophagy

Why it's silly to bug out over entomophagy Posted: 9:03 a.m. Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013 | Filed in: Food & Cooking
find this kind of knee-jerk reaction to eating bugs amusing.
"Eww! It's creepy! They have eyes and legs! So gross!"
Oh, please.
Do you know what else has eyes and legs? Chickens, pigs and cows. Do you know what else was once considered repulsive in this country? Eating raw fish, lobsters and pig trotters. Do you know how many other insect-eating humans are quietly laughing at your precious Western mentality? Billions.
In today's food section, I wrote about Little Herds and World Entomophagy, two local organizations (the first a nonprofit, the second an edible insect company) that are part of a much larger trend of trying to get people to think differently about eating bugs.
I didn't know much about entomophagy (the official name for eating insects) until this summer, when I first met Robert Nathan Allen, the Little Herds founder whom I found out later also works in another department at the Statesman. He's incredibly passionate about insects as an alternative source of protein, and as I learned about how little input of both feed and water it takes to grow (downright tasty) bugs like crickets and mealworms (and how many bugs we are already eating througheveryday foods), it started to make sense in the larger conversation about sustainability and the environmental impact of our diet.
With more than half a dozen companies on the verge of launching all kinds of insect bars, baked goods, flours and grow-your-own kits, entomophagy is certainly a more viable food trend than, say, 3D food printing, which is one of the otherfuturistic food panels slated for South by Southwest Interactive next year.
If you're interested in trying some of these bug creations yourself or learning more about why it's probably a good idea to be a little more open minded about what we eat, Little Herds and World Entomophagy are involved in a number of upcoming events, some of which coincide with the Entomological Society of America's national conference, which is coming to Austin next month.
Piranha Killer Sushi, 207 San Jacinto Blvd., is featuring an array of dishes on Halloween night that incorporate some of World Entomophagy’s products. The special menu starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday.
At 7 p.m. Nov. 6, Little Herds and World Entomophagy are participating in aDionysium event at the Alamo Drafthouse Village, 2700 W. Anderson Lane. Tickets cost $11 and are available at
The Entomological Society of America is hosting its annual conference in Austin from Nov. 10 to 13, and to kick off the event, Little Herds is helping with an “insect rodeo,” a free, family-friendly event that is open to the public from 9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Nov. 9 at the Bullock Texas State History Museum.
Also timed with the arrival of some 3,000 entomologists that week is the opening ofArt.Science.Gallery’s ECLOSION exhibit at Canopy Austin, 916 Springdale Road. The opening reception for the insect-inspired art collection, which will be on display through Dec. 1, will take place from 7 to 11 p.m. Nov. 9 and will feature insect hors d’oeuvres from Little Herds and World Entomophagy. You can find out more
On Feb. 19, a traveling entomophagy event called the Future Food Salon will come to Austin. Tickets are not yet on sale; more at

5 Reasons You Should Drop Everything and Start Growing Bugs

The Ecologist
Why Eating Insects is Good for the Environment
Why eating insects is good for the environment
Ben Whitford
28th August 2013


As a growing number of chefs put bugs on the menu, Ben Whitford samples his first ‘entomophagic' meal and talks to the edible-insect entrepreneurs hoping to convert the rest of us to the environmental and nutritional benefits of eating insects….

  • Feeding insects to livestock delivers many of the environmental benefits of directly consuming them

The other day, at a busy restaurant in the middle of Washington, D.C, I had bugs for lunch. Sitting at a polished table in Oyamel – a high-end Mexican eatery a stone's throw from the Capitol – I was presented with the house specialty: a fresh corn tortilla cradling a fist-sized heap of glistening chapulines, the roasted grasshoppers prized as a delicacy in the Oaxaca region of Mexico.
Reader, I ate them. The carapaces were disconcertingly crunchy, but the taste was subtle – mostly chipotle chilli and lime, with a pleasant nuttiness from the grasshoppers themselves. Later, after picking the legs from my teeth, I chatted with Oyamel head chef Colin King, who sells two or three dozen tacos de chapulines a day to curious diners. Many guests first try them on a dare, King said, only to order second and third helpings. "People generally end up liking the flavour," he adds.
Grasshopper tacos won't replace crab cakes and steaks as D.C. power-lunch staples, but the dish's popularity points to the gradual mainstreaming of entomophagy, the practice of eating bugs.
A growing number of forward-thinking chefs are putting insects on their menus – often grasshoppers and mealworms, but also more exotic fare such as creamy bee larvae or zesty carpenter ants. "It's amazing to me how it's snowballed," says David George Gordon, author of The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook and one of America's top edible-insect evangelists: "In the last five or six years there's been a real trend … when I give talks, and ask who in the audience has eaten insects before, I'm amazed how many people raise their hands."
That's music to the ears of Afton Halloran, a consultant with the U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organisation, (FAO), who co-authored a recent report suggesting that insect consumption could help feed the planet's growing population. Insects are a cheap, reliable protein source, Halloran explains, requiring a quarter as much feed, pound-for-pound, as larger livestock. Insects also need negligible space and water, can eat waste that would otherwise be discarded, and are far less flatulent than conventional livestock: one study found that pigs belch out up to 100 times more greenhouse gases than insects per pound of meat produced.
Halloran knows that insect-eating is a hard sell: while 2 billion people around the world regularly eat insects, Westerners are typically disgusted by the idea of consuming bugs. (That doesn't mean it doesn't happen: many processed foods are permitted to contain a certain proportion of insect parts, and it's been estimated that the average consumer unknowingly ingests more than half a kilogram of insects per year.) Still, Halloran is hopeful that culinary innovators like Oyamel's Chef King will pave the way for the broader acceptance of insect consumption, and eventually the full-scale commercial development of insect-based foods.
To some extent, that process of commercialisation is already underway: a handful of startups now sell products such as candy and protein shakes made from insects. Pat Crowley, a laconic former rafting guide, launched Chapul, a Utah-based power-bar company, in 2012; he now sells about 5,000 bars a month, each containing a dozen ground-up Jamaican crickets. Using cricket-flour rather than whole crickets was an important strategic move intended to make the bars more palatable to squeamish consumers, Crowley says. "Everything we do is focused on the psychological aspect of trying insects for the first time," he explains.
Crowley hopes to take a big bite out of America's $3 billion energy-bar market, but for now he's constrained by the limited availability of food-grade crickets. Raising edible creepy-crawlies has long been a cottage industry, says Harman Singh Johar, the 22-year-old founder of World Entomophagy, one of America's biggest producers of insects for human consumption. Still, it's a growing niche: Johar started raising crickets in his dorm-room closet while a student at the University of Georgia, but now ships well over 120,000 crickets a month to a roster of clients across North America. "We're pioneering an entirely new industry," he says. "As the ball rolls faster, we'll see massive expansion."
For all their optimism, Crowley and Johar admit that it's tough to convince Westerners to eat bugs. Ohio businessman Glen Courtright, though, thinks he's found a way around consumers' aversion to insects. His company, EnviroFlight, runs a 6,000-square-foot plant that produces millions of soldier-fly larvae every day. The wriggly larvae are nutritious and perfectly edible – they taste like soda crackers, Courtright says – but he doesn't expect anyone to pay money to snack on them. "I might do it for fun, but I can't base a business on that," he says.
Instead, EnviroFlight roasts and grinds its larvae to produce animal feed – chiefly for fish-farms, although the company is also working on a blend suitable for pigs. Feeding insects to livestock delivers many of the environmental benefits of directly consuming them, Courtright says, and sidesteps the marketing challenges that have held back other edible-insect pioneers. "We don't want to base a business on something where we have to change your behaviour," he explains. "We aren't hobbyists growing bugs in a little bucket – we've got a big industrial system here."
It will be a long time before startups such as Chapul and EnviroFlight reach the kind of scale that could put a serious dent in the global food industry's environmental footprint. Still, says the FAO's Halloran, edible-insect entrepreneurs are doing important work, both by slowly eroding Western consumers' anti-bug prejudices, and by forcing regulators to establish rules for the safe manufacture and trade of insect-based products.
That groundwork makes it more likely that major industrial food producers will one day make use of insect proteins – and if that happens, Halloran says, the sky's the limit. "This isn't something that's going to happen overnight, that's for sure," she says. "But once people have seen this is a safe area, the rest will follow."
This is one environmental trend, it seems, that could have legs!
Ben Whitford is the Ecologist's US correspondent. He can be reached at Follow him @ben_whitford


Mother Nature Network
Meet the Entrepreneur Who’s Betting You’ll Eat Bugs

Meet the entrepreneur who's betting you'll eat bugs
Harman Johar is an entomologist and businessman who believes this acquired taste is sensible, stylish and sustainable.

By: Tom OderMon, Jul 01, 2013 at 04:08 PM140Facebook42Twitter0Pinterest4Google+

external image Johar%20with%20cricket%20cookie_0.jpgHarman Johar holds a cookie he baked topped with a cricket in the entomology lab at UGA. (Photo: Tom Oder)

If the thought of eating insects makes you squeamish, Harman Johar has a small request. Just take one bite.

Crickets, mealworms, beetles, scorpions, ants, grasshoppers, wasps. “All you have to do is break the mental block,” he said, “Once you do that, you’ll not only get accustomed to eating bugs, you’ll get hooked.” Johar got hooked in 2011 during his sophomore year at the University of Georgia where he was majoring in marketing and entomology and experimenting with growing insects in his small dorm room.

The experiment turned into a startup business in entomophagy, raising and processing insects for human consumption, while he was still a student. By the time he graduated in May with dual degrees in applied biotechnology and environmental sciences/entomology, the business had won awards in global student and Chamber of Commerce competitions and attracted the attention of business leaders at home and abroad.

As fate would have it, Johar came up with the idea for the business during a missed opportunity. Early in his sophomore year he planned to attend a lecture by David Gracer, an icon in the world of entomophagy and an English composition teacher at the Community College of Rhode Island. He missed the talk because he lost track of time at one of the parties UGA is so well-known for.

Later that week, he took a date out for sushi. During dinner she accused him of ignoring her. In truth, he remembers being lost in thought — about bugs. Twenty years ago, he recalled thinking at the time, people wouldn’t eat raw fish. He wondered, what will they be eating in 20 years? The answer was obvious: insects. The date didn’t go so well, but a business concept was born.

To turn concept into reality, Johar put together a group of intrigued college buddies majoring in graphics arts, finance, biology, new media, and public relations who helped him form a business structure. Later that same year, Johar moved to an off-campus apartment where he formally launched Word Entomophagy. With himself as the only employee, he began to organically breed insects “for real,” as he put it, in stacks of plastic containers in an environmentally sealed closet.

His insects of choice were then and remain primarily crickets and mealworms. “I grow them in oatmeal or another grain where they are surrounded by food,” he explained. “I add apples and carrots to give them a water source. They can’t help but grow fat and happy!” And multiply prolifically. When populations reach a sufficient level and he has orders, he harvests enough to fill the orders, kills them painlessly in a process he developed, dry roasts them and seals them in airtight, plastic ready-to-ship bags he sells by weight.

Within a week of having a salable prototype, Johar had his first client. The customer, a bakery in Ohio, wanted bugs to sell as Halloween treats. The end product was a spiced pumpkin rum cake covered in chocolate and dipped in caramelized mealworms. Other clients quickly followed, including bakeries, restaurants, and academic institutions of various levels.

Before long, Johar was taking box after box to the apartment sales office to mail. The landlord, he says with a grin, started giving him quizzical looks. Finally, his curiosity got the better of him, and he asked Johar what was in all those boxes. “Books,” Johar said he told him. “Just a lot of books.” The grin grew a little wider.

While the business was flying under the landlord’s radar, it caught the business world’s attention. Johar was named runner-up in the 2013 Global Student Entrepreneurial Awards sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Organization, selected as a Startup to Watch in the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s 2013 Business Person of the Year Awards, and just returned from the G20 Summit in Moscow where for the second time he represented his business on the world stage.

“Most of the world, 80-85 percent, regularly consumes insects,” said Dr. Marianne Shockley, an entomology faculty member at the University of Georgia, one of the top five academic institutions involved in entomophagy in the United States, she proudly points out. Johar says she is his mentor and the reason he attended UGA. Shockley describes herself as an outreach entomologist who takes edible insects into schools and the community and studies the public’s reaction to eating them.

shockley with mealwormsshockley with mealworms

“Two things about insect consumption differentiate the United States from the rest of the world.” Shockley explained. “One is perception, the other is wealth. Land for agriculture,” she pointed out, “is readily available.”

The benefits of growing and eating insects, she added, are numerous and fall under scientific umbrellas including nutrition, the environment, conservation and sustainability and medicine.

Insects, Shockley said, provide an alternative source of protein, vitamins and minerals not found in legumes, beef, pork, or poultry, their carbon footprint is far less than farm animals and she believes researchers will one day derive a new vein of medicine from bugs.

She shares Johar’s belief that most people are intrigued and open-minded about insects as by-products in their food. That’s not to say either of them is suggesting folks sit down to a dinner of scorpions as a main dish with sides of crickets and mealworms.

“We’re also not talking about harvesting adult wasps with stingers or grasshoppers with wings that would have to be removed,” Shockley added. “They taste much better in the pupae or larvae stage.”

What she and Johar envision are dry-roasted bugs as snacks in something like a chirpy chex mix or topping cookies with crickets or mealworms rather than pecans. Other options might be to add insects to pizza toppings, put them in pastas, risottos and tacos or slip them into chili.

For doubters who can’t imagine the sight of a bug on their plate, Johar said insects are finding an acceptance in food and culture scenes. As an example, he cites the culturally progressive capital of Texas which has adopted the small business promotional slogan Keep Austin Weird.

On trips to Austin, Johar has worked with Hickory Street Restaurant and Little Herds Charity to have a special menu listing mole´ cricket tacos, mealworm bruschetta, fried calamari coated with a meal worm flour, pear-styled macaroons made from a meal worm flour and mole´-spiced chocolate chip cookies topped with crickets for the first of many Bug Dinners. Austin attracted his attention because the charity educates people about eating insects — he now serves on their board of directors — and because “the people there accept new and strange things in the culinary and cultural scene.”

The business and the demand for his bugs have outgrown an apartment closet, and Austin is one of the towns where he is considering opening a large production facility. He’s also considering Atlanta, which is the heart of the state’s $20 billion bioscience industry.

Other locations are under consideration. Harmon, though, says for competitive reasons he can’t disclose those or revenues. He will say he does plan to have a facility up and running “in limited production in November and to be in full swing and pumping out bugs to anyone who wants them in January 2014.”

In the meantime, he’s looking for investors and finalizing business plans. “The timing is right,” he said, “because food shifts come in great movements. Recent food shifts occurred in the post-World War II years of the 1950s when we industrialized our food and in the 1990s-early 2000s when we realized our food was making us obese.” The next shift, he’s convinced, is beginning now and is in mass-produced but healthy and environmentally sustainable food.

Shockley believes Johar is poised to ride the wave he envisions. “U.S. insect nutrition studies were prevalent in the 1980s and ’90s,” she said. “But,” she added, “research essentially stopped when the leading proponent of insect nutrition at the time, Gene DeFoliart, retired from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.” That conversation, she said, has started again.

Johar sees himself as a part of a greater movement. “My generation of entrepreneurs are social entrepreneurs,” he said. “We will make or break the world.”

I am a Sikh, he continued. “One of the pillars of our religion is to hold a langar, a free and completely open communal meal after prayers. Everyone has the right to food, water and shelter. Of these, food is the closest to love.” That’s why he said he wants to devote part of his business to famine relief. He’s already planning to work through the United Nations distribution network to accomplish that.

Along the way to developing a business that creates an impact and makes the world a better place, he said he also plans to make a buck. No doubt when that time comes, he can trade in what he calls his college car, an aging white Nissan Xterra that takes a few solid whacks on the battery posts to crank, for a brand new bug mobile.

Read more:


UGA Alumni Association: Executive Director’s Blog
This UGA grad is betting you’ll eat bugs…

UGA Alumni Association:Alumni Association Blog

Archivesexternal image rss_icon.png

10.10.2013===This UGA grad is betting you’ll eat bugs …===
external image bugs-138x138.jpgThe idea of eating bugs may seem a bit "out there" to most of us, but one daring Bulldog has made it his business. Harman Johar (BSES ’13, BSAB ’13) launched a company that sells insects as food while attending UGA. Today, that business is putting Johar on the map.
During his sophomore year, while on a date at a sushi restaurant, Johar realized that while the idea of eating raw fish was considered outrageous 20 years ago, raw fish is common these days. Johar, a marketing and entemology student at the time, was curious what Americans would be eating in the future. It was at that moment that he began to conceptualize his business.
Johar began by enlisting the help of college friends who were majoring in graphic design, finance, biology, new media and public relations. After formulating a general business structure with those friends, Johar officially launched World Entomophagy.
Within a week, Johar attracted his first customer: a bakery in Ohio looking for a product for the Halloween season. The result was a spiced pumpkin rum cake covered in chocolate and dipped in caramelized mealworms – perfect for a spooky holiday! Other clients quickly followed and before long, he was catching the business world's attention.
Johar was named runner-up in the 2013 Global Student Entrepreneurial Awards sponsored by the Entrepreneurial Organization. He was also selected as a "Startup to Watch" in the Metro Atlanta Chamber’s 2013 Business Person of the Year Awards. Johar attended the G20 Summit as a U.S. delegate and was a social entrepreneurship panelist at the summit this year.
Now that he has graduated, the alumnus plans to open a large production facility where he can begin full production in early 2014. Johar hopes to lead a sustainable, edible insect trend in America – especially in culinary forward-thinking cities like Austin, Texas.
So, how does it work? Johar grows mainly crickets and mealworms in oatmeal and other grains so the insects are constantly surrounded by food. He adds apples and carrots that serve as water sources. The end result is a protein-rich bug. When populations reach sufficient levels, he harvests enough to fill orders and kills them painlessly in a process he developed. Then, the insects are dry-roasted, sealed in an airtight bag and shipped around the country.
I must admit I've never had a "spiced pumpkin rum cake covered in chocolate and dipped in caramelized mealworms," but I'm impressed by the creativity shown by Harman. I wish him the very best in this business endeavor – and may just have to try a creation using his "ingredients" in the future!
Read more about Harman Johar online at Mother Nature Network.

Recent Entries

03.04.2015===Alumnus Spotlight: Alex Crevar (AB '93)===
external image The_Arch_blog-138x138.jpgThe University of Georgia, which ranks among the top 20 public universities by U.S. News & World Report, has a student body of more than 34,000. While many students arrive at UGA right out of high school, many do not. For example, consider journalist Alex Crevar (AB '93). After graduating from UGA in the early 1990s, Alex spent nearly 20 years traveling abroad and working as a freelance journalist, contributing toThe New York Times, Men's Journal, National Geographic and more.
Alex has returned to UGA to pursue a masters degree from the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication. He still works full time as a travel editor for Paste Magazine and part time as a spin instructor at the Ramsey Student Center. Assistant Director of Communications Jamie Lewis (AB '12, AB '12) sat down with Alex to discuss the biggest changes he's noticed at UGA since his undergraduate years and what it's like to return as a non-traditional student.
What prompted you to first attend UGA? What was your major and were you involved in any students activities?
UGA was one of the only schools I applied to and it was where all my friends were. Frankly, in those days, it was not a hard place to be accepted. I knew I would have fun. As a student, I was a communications major. I ran triathalons and played ultimate frisbee for UGA. I took a semester off to ski. I had a great time and still graduated with fairly good grades.
What did you do between graduating from UGA the first time and returning to earn your masters? How did your time at UGA prepare you for your career?
For the last 18, I have been a journalist. I lived between Europe and the U.S., covering travel for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
During my time at UGA, I became an adult — of sorts — and someone who was confident that he could try new things and visit new places. UGA and Athens have always been comfortable for me and because of those roots, I could live elsewhere knowing I always had a place to return, which is no small thing for any person.
external image crevar.jpg
Alex during his undergraduate years at UGA in the early 1990s
What made you want to return to Athens and UGA?
I came back to earn a masters in journalism. I want to eventually teach journalism at the college level while continuing to freelance.
Briefly discuss some of the biggest differences between your first time at UGA and now? How has campus changed, biggest difference in the student body, etc.
The biggest difference, without question, is technology. There was no Internet when I attended UGA. Now, of course, people are on their phones and laptops all the time. I find myself a little frustrated by the constant need to be in touch by device and the Internet.
The students today seem to be much more focused on school than I was … or my friends were. But again, UGA wasn't the kind of place you had to fight to get into back then. Having said that, my generation loved Athens for Athens. Largely we were here because of the town. It seems that students are here now more for the school, which is appropriate, of course.
Are you interested in returning to UGA to earn a graduate degree? Click here to learn more about opportunities with UGA's Graduate School, which has many nationally ranked programs.
02.25.2015===Alumna Spotlight: Sara Alread (BFA ’09)===
external image team_little_river-138x138.jpgSara Alread (BFA '09) of Saint Simons Island, Georgia successfully launched her business,Little River Designs, in April 2013. The web-based business features rustic hand-crafted, wooden designs for the Southern home. Litter River Designs is a family business in every sense of the word. Sara's father is a carpenter, while her mother and sister serve as constant inspirations for new designs. The idea to create Little River Designs came in the form of a new family member.
Sara shares how Litter River Designs got its name, "On November 30, 2011, my nephew, River, was born. He became our inspiration and official mascot. We were already making signs, planning weddings and building furniture for ourselves when friends became interested in what we were creating. Soon after River was born, Little River Designs began."
Little River Designs centers around a timeless family tradition: tracking grandchildrens' growth-spurts on the wall at grandma's house. Little River Designs' most popular item is the wooden Grow Chart Rulers.
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Grow Chart Rulers by Litter River Designs
Today, Little River Designs continues to develop its online business and clientele. A recent expansion includes a line of wedding signs and the personalization of all Litter River Design products. As Sara and her team grow the Little River Designs line, they have gained the attention of a few big crafting and design websites. The business has been featured on SwissMiss, Sweet Peach, 100 Layer Cake, Rustic Wedding Chic,//Golden Isles Magazine//, and in the //Atlanta Journal Constitution//.
To learn more about Sara and Little River Designs, check out the website and Facebook page.
02.23.2015===Sisters Rethink “Something Borrowed”===
external image AshleyandCaliheadshot-138x138-138x138.jpgSisters Ashley Steele (ABJ ’06), of Charlottesville, Virginia., and Cali Brutz (AB ’08), of Athens, Georgia., own and operate two businesses that are modernizing the wedding industry. Steele and Brutz began working together in 2008 at the ages of 24 and 22, respectively. At the time, Steele was planning her own wedding and Brutz was a photographer. During the wedding planning process, the pair identified a number of issues that arise for the soon-to-be brides. Looking to solve those issues sparked several entrepreneurial projects.
The duo's latest venture, Borrowing Magnolia, uses a concept similar to that of Rent the Runway and Warby Parker in that brides will be able to rent wedding dresses for their big day directly from Borrowing Magnolia. The dresses available for rental will be provided by former brides who are interested in earning extra cash by lending their gown to another individual. Borrowing Magnolia ensures that the dresses are in good quality by limiting each dress to three rentals annually and five total. Sizes range from 0 to 24 and alterations are available as long as the changes are reversible
Borrowing Magnolia lives to serve the bride. The sisters ensure the brides-to-be that, "Borrowing Magnolia is committed to helping you find your dream gown, the way the modern bride does the dress. We make it easy for you to buy or borrow a designer gorgeous gown at a fraction of the retail cost, while still having a white-glove personalized boutique experience from start-to-finish. Look fabulous in your dream dress, save some cash, go green, and focus on what really matters on your wedding day. That’s what we’re all about."
The sisters have obviously been bitten by the entrepreneurial bug and show no signs of stopping. This year, Borrowing Magnolia is expected to have over 800 dresses in their collection by the end of the year; the business was featured in the //New York Times’// Style Section; and reality show producers are in talks of covering their business endeavors.
Congratulation to Ashley and Cali on their stellar sucess and best wishes as they continue to help women live their dream weddings.


Bug Girl’s Blog
Guest Post: Edible Insects and World Entomophagy

Guest Post: Edible Insects and World Entomophagy
external image worldento1.jpg?w=300&h=256My friend David Gracer has some news from the world of insect eating! From Dave:

The world has become increasingly interested in the subject of edible insects. There’s frequent mainstream media coverage, conferences, and now two important new developments. World Entomophagy, of Athens, Georgia, has launched a open-sourced website that will become the definitive source of information on entomophagy – a meeting-place for researchers and practitioners with visionary interests and goals. We are
For now, we are seeking all manner of contributions. Although we’re happy to see basic articles such as, What is Entomophagy; Allergy Concerns; Wine Pairings for Insects; How to Prepare your Insects for Cooking; and General Recipes,we are more interested in the cultural and international aspects of entomophagy; the many disciplines involved (such as Entomology, Anthropology, Nutrition, Sociology, Psychology, Literature, Agriculture, Sustainable Studies, History, Engineering, Chemistry, Culinary, Marketing, etc.); and artwork, video, and creative writing. We’re also creating a gallery of cross-referenced images with captions: documentation of edible insects around the world. Eventually we hope to publish original, peer-reviewed scientific papers.
Technical articles are welcome, and authors of such work will be asked to include short summaries in layman’s terms. In all cases we will prominently feature contributors’ names and other information they would like to include. Currently we cannot pay for content; the current budget is set for the site, though we may make exceptions for some articles. We would be happy to discuss the possibility of barter (edible insect products in exchange for articles) or terms for future compensation (within reason).
external image ediblelogo.jpg?w=150&h=75The other major development is EDIBLThe Environmental Discourses of the Ingestion of Bugs League. This student-group model was founded by Rena Chen, a food-anthropology major at Princeton, in 2010. Other chapters have started at The Richard Stockton College of New Jersey, the University of Texas, and the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. There are big plans to continue growing nationally and internationally, to pool resources and increase awareness. While college/university campuses might be the best setting for such enterprises, EDIBL’s founders would welcome other kinds of groups. Hopefully, the evolution of multiple chapters would encourage collaboration, friendly competition, and perhaps conferences.
There are Facebook pages for both “World Entomophagy” and “EDIBL Nation,” as well as Twitter. If social media holds no interest for you, email me at and I’ll answer any questions you have. As the main editor of the site, I’d be delighted to see anything you might like to contribute.
The future of this subject is very bright; consider joining us. According to the FAO, climate scientists, and other experts, there’s a very good chance that humanity’s future will have a lot more bugs in it.

Growing Georgia – The Business of Agriculture
Roasted Crickets can be Gourmet or Life-Sustaining Food

May 2012

Roasted Crickets can be Gourmet or Life-Sustaining Food

By Sharon Dowdy, University of Georgia
Friday, May 25th, 2012

If it were a matter of life over death, most people would munch on a grasshopper. But would you do so purely by choice?
University of Georgia student Harman Johar is counting on it.
A year and a half ago, Johar formed World Entomophagy, a business that produces wholesale raw edible insects. An undergraduate entomology student in the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Harman’s business grew from his undergraduate research project in entomophagy, the study of humans eating insects.
The food of the future
“Insects have been considered the food of the future,” said Johar, 21, of Sandy Springs, Ga. “They’re sustainable and environmentally friendly and it just so happens that my company was one of the first to provide them to the market. A few other companies are researching the field, but we have turned into a leader and are taking control of industry brokerage.”
Johar’s support team includes 15 undergraduate students across the U.S. and nine in the Athens, Ga. area.
“We have a graphic designer, an accountant, marketer, dietician and pharmacist,” he said. “And I’m the only entomology student. They are all helping me out, and without them I wouldn’t be able to do this.”
Don't say "ewwww"
Their goal is to fundamentally change people’s bias against using insects as food.
To those who say “ewwww,” Johar asks their take on lobsters and sushi.
“Lobsters were once viewed as a food only for poor people and so was eating raw fish,” he said.
“It’s just a matter of getting past the mindset,” he said. “If you’re going to eat a crab, oyster or shrimp, why not eat a cricket?”
For now, he is focusing on the U.S. and selling bugs to a variety of public and private customers, including Yale University’s Peabody Museum.
“We also sell to a few restaurants, cafes, bakeries and private citizens,” he said. “And, our meal worms and crickets are very popular in Germany.”
Insect livestock
Johar raises his insect livestock in his Athens, Ga. apartment and feeds them local, organically-grown produce and whole grain oats. The company plans to soon offer wax worms, scorpions, stinkbugs and grasshoppers.
“We raise and process our insects so they are shelf stable for a few weeks. Just open a bag and add them to stir fry or just eat them out of the box,” he said.
Upon request, the insects can be flavored, but typically they are seasoned with “just a little salt.” The company’s best sellers are crickets, but Johar’s personal favorite is scorpions.
“They taste like delicate fish,” he said.
Tastes like soy nuts or tofu
At a recent UGA outreach event, the Insect Zoo, Stephanie Schupska of Athens, Ga., tried several insect-based foods.
“Seasoned mealworms are crunchy, and they taste like a mix between soy nuts and peanuts,” she said. “Almost anything is good fried or baked in a cookie or coated in chocolate. I'm not sure I'm adventurous enough to stick my hand in a squirming bowl of worms and pull out an instant dinner or anything like that.”
Marianne Cruz, a CAES entomologist and Johar’s faculty advisor, is partial to salted roasted crickets and likens the taste to that of tofu.
“They remind me of tofu in that they taste like how you season them–sweet, salty, spicy, blackened, grilled or fried,” Cruz said. “I probably eat insects once a week or so through various outreach programs and with my students and classes.”
In addition to becoming a successful businessman, Johar hopes to develop insect-based famine foods and ship them worldwide.
“Insects require much less water and land and excrete minimal waste,” Cruz said. “Their carbon footprint is minute, and they can be sustainably grown and harvested at home. There will come a point with our expanding world population and need to feed the world that large mammals won’t cut it. They’ll have to be alternate healthy sources of proteins, vitamins and minerals.”
To learn more, see the World Entomophagy website at In addition to information about the company, the website includes recipes, poems, ballads, blogs and academic publications about eating insects and a list of restaurants that serve them.
(Sharon Dowdy is a news editor with the University of Georgia College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences.)


Athens-Banner Herald
Thought of Eating Insects Bugs Us, But Why?!
Gallant: Thought of eating insects bugs us, but why?

By ANDRE GALLANTupdated Tuesday, July 10, 2012 – 6:39pm

A few weeks ago, I walked into a fancy French restaurant downtown and ate bugs, dozens of them.
No, I’m not some Orkin freak. And, no, I’m not so broke that I’ve resorted to eating cockroaches for protein.
It was my first foray into the world of entomophagy, the practice of eating insects for taste and nutrition, and I was meeting the local leader in the field at his favorite Athens restaurant, Etienne.
But before I introduce you to Harmon Johar, the University of Georgia student who started World Entomophagy, a business that delivers edible insects to your door, all grown in his apartment, and before I tell you what these critters taste like, let’s lay out a few facts.
Eighty percent of the world’s population eats insects.
There are 1,417 species of insects that can be safely eaten by humans.
Pretty much whites of European descent — hint, hint, that’s the dominant culture in the U.S. — are the only demographic that doesn’t regularly eat bugs.
Do you eat anything with a confectioner’s or resinous glaze, like candy? You are eating insects. That glaze is made from an insect secretion called lac.
And according to Marianne Shockley Cruz, from the department of entomology at UGA, positive references to bug-eating humans are found in the Bible.
Now, Johar raises all of his insect stock here in Clarke County. How he does it is a trade secret, but he assured me it is an entirely natural and organic process.
The way he slaughters bugs is humane, he added, using a process in which they enter a creepy, crawly comatose state before he lowers the temperature enough to kill them.
Johar is an undergraduate entomology student at UGA, and the wholesale edible insect business he started less than two years ago, World Entomophagy, grew out of one question he thought the world should be asking itself: If we can’t feed ourselves now, if famine ravages millions and drought destroys crops, how will we feed ourselves in the future when world population is 9 billion (it’s more than over 7 billion)?
Johar grew up eating insects in his native North India, and once he moved to a Western culture — he lived in England before moving to the U.S. — he thought of bugs as just another food that Americans and Brits don’t eat.
But now he calls insects a “next generation food,” a safe, nutritious source of protein that’s also environmentally friendly.
According to Johar’s estimates, less than one quarter of a gallon of water is all it takes to raise the equivalent of protein found in a cow. The way insects are raised for consumption — in a physical space that can increase vertically ­— requires one-tenth of the land for an equivalent amount of beef.
Bugs can be fed off discarded vegetable matter, he said, the stuff we don’t want to eat. They produce no methane, and their waste is compostable.
Can white bread-eating Americans start chomping on crickets and caterpillars? I’m sure most readers are choking on their Cheerios as they imagine the possibility. But Johar is optimistic. Look at sushi, he said. Twenty years ago, nobody in the U.S. thought they would be eating raw fish and loving it.
Here’s where we start tasting.
Johar lays a bag of grasshoppers and a bag of crickets in front of me, and I start to pop them in my mouth. They’re crunchy.
Basically, he tells me, I’m eating only exoskeleton, no juicy guts, none of that ooze you see when you step on a bug. That outer layer is made of a protein called chitin, he said, and is where all the nutrition is.
Oh, wait, one more fact. So cod and beef are about equals protein wise. Caterpillars match those animals in protein content, and pretty much all the edible bugs you might ever try are just as protein-heavy as beans, more so in most cases.
Crickets and mealworms are Johar’s bread and butter, and they have no natural flavor. He likens them to tofu, which takes on the qualities of whatever it’s cooked with.
He took the liberty of seasoning the crickets with cinnamon, which makes them taste like sweet popcorn.
My favorites are the grasshoppers, which Johar did not raise but instead found in a market in Los Angeles. Some of these insects are two or three times the size of the crickets and are much more flavorful. These suckers come from Oaxaca, a Mexican province, and Johar roasted them in lime and chili powder, and crumble like hot fries (yes, the gas station variety) as my molars crush them. So good.
If I were to incorporate bugs into my daily diet, how would I do it? Here are Johar’s ideas: a simple sautée, as a protein replacement in a taco, roast them at 300 degrees for 15 minutes and use them as croutons on a salad, or grind them up and add them to hummus.
Really, though, I think it’s the type of food I’d eat as a snack, just drinking a beer and tossing back a few grubs.
I figure that I’m a more adventurous eater than the average Athenian, and I had no reservations eating bugs, but as I brought leftovers back to my office, and offered them to my friends around town, I found few takers. And, truthfully, I couldn’t think of a good way to sell them to anyone.
And that, for sure, is the hard sell for American consumers: the ick factor.
But Johar is hopeful.
“They’re just another food; it’s just that they look weird,” he said. “But we’ve been conditioned to see them that way.”
• André Gallant is the features reporter for the Athens Banner-Herald. Send email to


Athens Patch
UGA Student Has a Yen for Bugs—As a Food Source

University of Georgia senior Harman Singh Johar, 22, remembers one particular college roommate fondly. The guy was so pleasant and easy going, he didn't mind that Harmon had made a closet in their room the headquarters of a small insect-raising industry.
"He was really an understanding fellow," says Harmon, who has since moved World Entomophagy out of his residence hall room and into his Athens apartment.
Today, the three-year-old business supplies meal worms, crickets and grasshoppers–plus an occasional scorpion or tarantula–to businesses, UGA and other universities and individuals. It employs 15 people worldwide, nine of them based in Athens. The insects go into food products such as energy bars, breads and cookies, since they're another protein source.
World Entomophagy does a brisk trade with UGA's entomology department, Yale University and with the New York Botanical Garden–plus several cafes, restaurants and bakeries. There's an unnamed individual who orders 10 pounds of insects for his own consumption.
Harmon's business combines his academic interests, applied biotechnology and entomology. A student in the UGA College of Environmental and Agricultural Sciences,he said he was thinking about how we maintain societies, which led him to study social insects, which sparked the idea of a business selling edible insects.
His business was recently one of a few featured in a UGA event spotlighting student entrepreneurs.
Being an entrepreneur seems a genetic trait for Harmon, the son of Indian immigrants in Atlanta. His father has owned restaurants and now owns grocery stores. His uncle has a t-shirt design and manufacturing company in New York. And his little sister plans on creating her own fashion line.
Harmon hope to find a job of some sort when he graduates in May. But he plans to continue running his business, no matter what he does.


Artifacts for Reconsidering Impact
Entomophagy Trial Run
ENTOMOPHAGY TRIAL RUN Posted on 2012/01/30 | Comments Off
As an experimental preparation for a greater undertaking, I spent this weekend testing out some entomophagy recipes, based on my own intuition and some scavenged base recipes. Thanks to Harman Johar at World Entomophagy, I picked up ready-to-cook crickets and meal worms that had been organically raised and killed (more on this in a future post) before being packed and shipped. The first order I placed, just as a test, was for 100g of each insect.
Through my reading and research so far, I’d imagined the taste of both insects to have a nut-like flavor. My cooking partner and I started the experiment by tasting an unseasoned cricket… softer than I thought it would be, with the predicted nutty (woody, even) taste, followed by a pungent aftertaste. My co-chef described the experience as similar to eating asparagus. Then we each popped in a meal worm, which had a satisfyingly crunchy outside and a peanutty/earthy flavor. Here, you can see the insects in their packaged state, as they arrived from World Entomophagy.
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To compliment the woody, dryness of the insects, we wanted to try a creamy recipe, and opted for a simple quiche. Second on our menu was a more flavor-packed recipe, a beet and meal worm curry, and then to finish the event off, we made a last minute decision to whip up a garlic cricket potato hash. The creamy quiche worked well, and the insects provided an enjoyable texture, though less flavor than I’d hoped. The curry was delicious, but probably too strong in flavor for the subtle insects; the meal worms were more of an attractive garnish, also adding texture here. The cricket hash was the star of the show – simple ingredients, and lots of crickets, the pungent flavor was most effective in this dish. We enjoyed a fruity riesling with the meal, a satisfying lightness for the hash especially.
For round two, we hope to incorporate a sweet dish, possibly a kettle-corn style preparation for the crickets.
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Am liebsten mag ich Grillenkekse
Am liebsten mag ich Grillenkekse" Text: christian-helten
Der 21-jährige Harman Singh Johar verkauft Mehlwürmer und Stinkwanzen. Zum Essen. Jetzt will er nach Deutschland expandieren. Wie? Das erklärt er im Interview.
Harman Singh Johar ist ein großer Fan von Mehlwürmern und Stinkwanzen. Seine Studentenbude ist voll davon – aber nicht etwa, weil er die Tierchen putzig findet, sondern weil er sie gerne isst. Zusammen mit seinem Studienkollegen Leonardo Manzione hat der 21-jährige Amerikaner die Firma World Entomophagy gegründet, einen Handel mit essbaren Insekten. Dieses Jahr will er auch in Deutschland Geschäftspartner suchen. Ein Interview.

external image 875134.jpg Warum sollte ich Insekten essen?
Harman Singh Johar: Erstens sind sie verglichen mit traditionellen Fleischsorten sehr nahrhaft. Sie enthalten mehr Proteine, weniger Fett und viele der Aminosäuren, die der Mensch braucht. Insekten zu züchten ist außerdem viel umweltfreundlicher. Mit der Menge an Futter, Wasser und Land, die man zur Herstellung von einem Kilo Rindfleisch braucht, lassen sich ungefähr sieben bis zehn Kilo Insektenfleisch gewinnen. Und Insekten werden auf eine wesentlich humanere Art getötet – jedenfalls in unserem Unternehmen.

Eine wichtige Frage ist aber auch, wie so ein Mehlwurm oder Grashüpfer schmeckt.
Beide haben einen leicht nussigen Geschmack. Mehlwürmer haben ein eher schwaches Eigenaroma, das sich mit Mandeln vergleichen lässt. In den meisten Gerichten sticht es weniger heraus und ergänzt eher die Aromen der anderen Zutaten. Grillen und Grashüpfer haben einen stärkeren Eigengeschmack, auch ein bisschen nussig.

Was ist dein liebstes Insektengericht?
Am liebsten mag ich Mehlwurm- und Grillenkekse. Die schmecken gut mit Schokolade.

Wie hast du die Insekten für dich entdeckt?
Als erstes habe ich einen Skorpion gegessen. Er war knusprig und scharf und schmeckte ein bisschen wie Fisch. Ich war noch sehr jung und meine Ansichten waren noch nicht von der Gesellschaft geprägt – der Skorpion war einfach nur Essen für mich. Ich bin viel mit meinen Eltern gereist, die Essen sehr lieben und experimentierten. Auf den Gedanken, meine Ernährung auf Insekten umzustellen, brachte mich aber der Autor und Insektenfan David Gracer in einer Vorlesung.

Wann hast du begonnen, selbst Insekten zu züchten?
Als ich im Wald unterwegs war, um Insekten zu sammeln. Ich fing einen Grashüpfer, und als ich ihn untersuchte, sah ich, dass er voller Parasiten war. Ich wollte aber nichts essen, von dessen Sauberkeit ich nicht überzeugt war. Also züchtete ich selbst und machte ein Geschäft daraus.

Ich habe gelesen, dass du sie in deinem Studentenzimmer züchtest.
Nun ja, wir sind eben ein CollegeStartup. Wir arbeiten in unseren Studentenbuden, also habe ich auch Insekten in meinem Appartement. Aber das sind eher meine Experimentier-Insekten. Ich versuche, größere und wohlschmeckendere Käfer zu züchten. Aber sie haben schon ihren eigenen Bereich in meinem Zimmer und außerdem befinden sie sich wie die Insekten in unseren Farmen in kontrollierten, luftdichten Behältern. Wir wollen übrigens auch Farmen in Deutschland eröffnen.

Die meisten Leute finden Insekten als Nahrungsmittel aber eher ekelhaft.
Ich glaube, dass sich das ändern wird. In fast allen Kulturen außerhalb der westlichen Welt stehen Insekten längst auf dem Speiseplan. Oft gelten sie dort sogar als Delikatessen. Insekten sind ein neues Feld für kulinarische Entdeckungen.

Siehst du denn schon Anzeichen, dass Insekten essen auch in Europa und den USA ein Trend werden könnte?
Durchaus. Insekten als Nahrungsmittel haben schon viel Medienaufmerksamkeit bekommen, und auch viele Akademiker werfen ihre forschenden Blicke auf die Idee. Und man darf nicht vergessen, dass Sushi auch mal als abscheulich empfunden wurde, jetzt aber überall zu haben ist. Insekten sind eine genauso elegante Nahrungsquelle, die nur noch ein bisschen Zeit und das richtige Marketing braucht.
Innovative Startups: Entrepreneurs Selling Bugs as Food
Innovative Startups: Entrepreneurs Selling Bugs as Food

by Kimberly Danek • December 7, 2011

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Credit: lobster20 /

With more Americans being open-minded in the types of food they eat, entrepreneurs are taking advantage and are venturing into innovative startups such as selling bugs as food.
Fear Factor, along with other TV shows popularized bug eating, maing it less taboo to some Americans. Human consumption of insects, or otherwise known as Entomophagy, is popular in various cultures around the world. In the U.S., there are some companies earning quite a following with their innovative idea of selling bugs for human consumption.
An example of a company that sells bugs for food is World Entomophagy. Harman Singh Johar, student of the University of Georgia and owner of World Entomophagy, raises crickets and mealworms in his apartment and sells the insects to as much as $40 a pound. He feeds the insects with whole-grain oats and organic fruits and vegetables. According to him, insects fed with organic food are heavier and tastier.
Mr. Johar opted to breed organic bugs instead of catching them straight from the wild due to health and safety reasons. Wild insects may contain pesticides or parasites, which are dangerous when ingested. His closet in his apartment located off campus is temperature and humidity controlled. The insects are housed in boxes, and each box is well-organized and labeled with date of harvest and cleaning.
Mr. Johar’s company is just one of the many companies that sells insects as food. The number of Americans who expressed interest in eating insects has increased based on the number from the past years. David George Gordon, renowned author of “The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook,” said that the number of U.S.-based chefs cooking insects has increased and the number of companies supplying insects for human consumption has increased as well.
More Entrepreneurs Selling Bugs for Human Consumption
Hotlix, the original creator of edible insect candy, has been in business for 20 years. It specializes in outrageous confections such as candies and chocolates with edible insects inside. According to the company’s marketing manager, business is good, with a considerable amount of people calling to ask if the company sells insects in bulk. The company has been featured in popular magazines such as Newsweek and Forbes.
Sweet Whimsy, a French-inspired pastry store in Long Grove, Illinois, has recently joined the Entomophagy-mania and included bugs in its baked products. Owner Joshua Baudin started using caramelized mealworms as toppings for some of his goods, and he orders the worms from World Entomophagy.
Etom Foods, founded by University of Chicago sophomore student Matthew Krisiloff, is a fairly new insect-for-food business. Mr. Krisiloff positions his company differently than other companies’ selling bugs for food. In order to maintain a competitive advantage, he offers bugs in their less bug-like form, making the bugs for appealing to eat. Last April, he won a grant worth $10,000 from his school to develop a technology to extract the edible meat from grasshoppers and insects. The technology used is similar to taking the shell off a shrimp.
Another company in the business of selling bugs for human consumption is BugMuscle. The company has a pending patent for nutritional supplements derived from insects. According to the founder Dianne Guilfoyle, her recipes include ants, mealworms, crickets and pupae of a housefly. She sees her products as very marketable to athletes since insects are classified as a legal source of steroids.
Benefits of Eating Bugs
Advocates of bug eating have cited numerous benefits. According to a study conducted in a university in Netherlands in 2010, raising insects produce less greenhouse gas compared to raising livestock. Insects require less food and do not require energy for them to stay warm. It is also easy to take care of insects, since they are small and do not need a lot of space. Insects are also nutritious because they are rich in fats, amino acids, vitamins and minerals. A perfect example is a stinkbug. Compared to steak, a gram of stinkbug has similar protein content and 6x more iron content.
Although Americans are still far from being ready to have worms or insects in their dining table, there are entrepreneurs who are seeing the business of selling bugs as a potentially lucrative venture.

Kimberly is a researcher, writer, business woman, and contributor at blog network. She may be reached at

©2011, all rights reserved


San Francisco Chronicle
Firms hatching as more Americans add bugs to menu

Firms hatching as more Americans add bugs to menu


Caroline Winter, Bloomberg Businessweek

Published 4:00 am, Sunday, November 20, 2011
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  • Mealworms, cultivated in California, are the larval form of the Tenebrio molitor beetle and have long been consumed by the native populations of Mexico. At Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, Calif. on Thursday Oct. 27, 2011. Photo: Tim Maloney, The ChronicleMealworms, cultivated in California, are the larval form of the Tenebrio molitor beetle and have long been consumed by the native populations of Mexico. At Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, Calif. on Thursday Oct. 27, 2011. Photo: Tim Maloney, The Chronicle

Photo: Tim Maloney, The Chronicle
Mealworms, cultivated in California, are the larval form of the Tenebrio molitor beetle and have long been consumed by the native populations of Mexico. At Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, Calif. on Thursday Oct. 27, 2011.

Mealworms, cultivated in California, are the larval form of the Tenebrio molitor beetle and have long been consumed by the native populations of Mexico. At Headlands Center for the Arts in Sausalito, Calif. on Thursday Oct. 27, 2011.

It's not unusual to find creepy-crawly things lurking in the closets of collegestudents. In Harman Singh Johar's apartment, though, their presence is intentional.
His closet teems with organically raised mealworms and crickets that his company, World Entomophagy, sells for as much as $40 per pound. "We feed (the insects) only whole-grain oats – and local organically grown vegetables and fruits," he said. "Organic insects are more flavorful, and they have more weight."
World Entomophagy is one of a growing number of insect suppliers that promote bugs as food – for humans.
Encouraged by media attention, TV shows like "Fear Factor," and growing concerns about the threat of overpopulation to the food supply, Americans – at least a few – are warming to the idea.

"In the past three years, interest in eating bugs has surged," said David George Gordon, a chef and author of "The Eat-a-Bug Cookbook."

The number of U.S. chefs cooking insects has "probably tripled in the past five years," he said, and new suppliers selling bugs primarily for human consumption have popped up in the past two years.
"A lot of people call and ask if they can just buy the bugs in bulk because they want to add them to a stir-fry," said Kathy Mitchell, marketing manager at Hotlix, a company that has long sold novelty bug products such as scorpion lollipops.
Entomophagy – eating bugs – has many benefits, advocates say. Insects produce far less greenhouse gas per gram of meat than livestock, a 2010 study from Wageningen University in the Netherlands found, and they need less food because they're cold-blooded and don't use energy to stay warm.
Many species live in close quarters, which makes rearing them easy. And insects are often packed with amino acids, fats, vitamins and nutrients. Stinkbug, for instance, contains about the same amount of protein per gram as steak and six times as much iron.

Johar decided to breed organic bugs because scavenging them can be dangerous. Insects in the wild can be contaminated by parasites or pesticides, and some, like mealworms, will eat their own excrement, making them less nutritious.
Johar's customers (and roommates in his off-campus apartment at the University of Georgia) may be happy to know that the closet – hung with a sign saying "Don't do drugs, do bugs"- is airtight and controlled for humidity and temperature. His insects live in stacked boxes, each labeled with a harvest date and cleaning schedule.
Joshua Baudin, owner of Sweet Whimsy, a bakery in Long Grove, Ill., recently started topping spicy "cake pops" with white Verona chocolate and caramelized mealworms. To get his health inspector's OK for baking with bugs, Baudin ordered from World Entomophagy. Because of Johar's organic pledge, "I know they haven't been dug out of some garbage dump," he said.

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