Mealworms

Edible Insects List

Have you ever thought about adding edible insects to your diet? Well, it is not a bad idea. Since prehistoric times, humans have eaten insects as food. This includes eggs, larvae, pupae and even adults of various species of insects. We are going to share a list of insects you can eat. If you are impressed with the abilities of insects, just wait till you see what kind of nutrition they provide.

Although insects look weird and don’t look at all tasty for consumption, many provide great diet benefits. For example, just 100 grams of crickets contain only 121 calories, 12.9 grams of protein, 75.8 milligrams of iron and 5 grams of carbohydrates. For those seeking low carbohydrates and
a great source of protein, try a silk worm pupae or a bowl of termites. After reading this post, you may be interested in adding healthy and tasty bugs to your future meals (if you don’t already).

For a list of websites that sell dead insects (for art purposes), visit our post called Insects For Sale.

Entomophagy

Edible Insects

Insect Food Stall” by Takoradee is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

In the times before humans had developed the tools for successful hunting or farming, insects were a very important part of their diet. Even today, in most parts of the world (80% of the world’s nations), human insect-eating (over 1,000 species known to be eaten) is common to cultures. This includes North, Central and South America, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand. There are said to be around 3,000 different ethnic groups recorded to practice entomophagy. Entomophagy is the consumption of insects as food. It can be divided into two separate categories. The two categories include insects that are used for a source of nutrients, and insects that are used as condiments.

Even with the majority of the world in acceptance of eating insects, in some societies (like in the West) it is not only uncommon to eat them, but it is even considered to be taboo. However, there are some companies that have tried to introduce insects into Western diets. An example would be powder that is made from insects and used as an ingredient such as insect flour or cricket flour.

How Do You Find Safe Insects To Eat?

Perhaps, your safest bet to find the safest edible insects is to buy them yourself. You can find them online and pet shops. If you want to find some safe mealworms and crickets you can eat, you can visit a bait shop. It is recommended you cook them for not only safety, but improved taste. For a great source on how to tell if a bug is safe to eat, visit Eating Insects For Survival on Field & Stream.

Some Recommendations To Remember

Survival experts recommend it is the safest bet to never attempt to eat an insect that is brightly colored. They also recommend you stay away from insects that are hairy and extremely pungent.

Mealworms

Insects You Can Eat

Mealworm 01 Pengo” by Pengo is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mealworms are the larva of any of a genus (Tenebrio) of darkling beetles. They are a nutritious edible insect high in protein and fat. They can be eaten either raw or alive, are often pan-fried or sauteed. Dry-roasting is said to be the most tasty, yet the least recognizable way they are eaten.

A Meal With Mealworms

Ants

Edible Ants

A lollipop with ants.

The picture above shows a lollipop with ants. According to Wikipedia, there are 313 species of edible ants consumed by various cultures. Ants are low in carbs and just 100 grams (less than 100 calories) can provide 14 grams of protein, close to 48 grams of calcium, iron and other nutrients.

Bees

BeesWe all know that bees are a great source for honey. In their immature stages, they can also be a delicious source of food. Bee brood (beeswax structure of cells where the queen bee lays eggs) is often said to taste like peanuts or almonds. Even adult bees are edible. They can be roasted and then ground into a flour that is nutritious. Wasp larva is said to have a sweet and crunchy taste.

In China, ground bees are used as a remedy for a sore throat.

Cockroaches

CockroachesThose extremely resilient and obnoxious cockroaches can make a fantastic addition to a meal. So, how could this be? Surprisingly, they are said to be very tasty. They can be toasted, fried, boiled or sauteed. The hissing cockroaches are said to have the taste and texture similar to greasy chicken.

Lice

Believe it or not, even lice are edible insects. Yes, those disgusting insects that can live on the skin of both mammals and birds. You definitely want to make sure they are cooked before you eat up.

Shield BugsShield BugShield bugs (also called stink bugs) are a popular snack in the regions of East Africa and also parts of Mexico. These bugs can be eaten alone as a snack and are said to have a very sweet taste. A shield bug can even be flavored with a variety of ingredients such as soy sauce or chili and pepper.

Grasshoppers

Edible Grasshopper

Wikipedia says there are 239 species of grasshoppers eaten by a variety of cultures around the world. Although they are dangerous pests to farmers, after being cooked, others see them as a tasty food. This insect is high in protein and calcium. It is eaten in Mexico and roasted with chile and lime (they are known as chapulines) The larger specimens are said to have an earthy flavor.

A Close-Up Of Fried Chapulines

Dragonflies

Did you ever try to catch a dragonfly when you were a child? According to Wikipedia, there are 20 species of dragonflies consumed by many different cultures. Dragonflies are commonly eaten in China and Indonesia. They are often boiled or fried and can either be eaten in larval or adult form.

Moths

MothAccording to Wikipedia, there are 235 types of moths and butterflies that many cultures consume as food. However, it is important to remember that there are also over 142,000 described species worldwide. There are some moth species that can be very harmful if they are eaten dead or alive.

 Mosquito Eggs

MosquitoIn many markets in Mexico, you will find mosquito eggs that you can eat. Yes, mosquito eggs. After they are dried and roasted, they are wrapped in tortillas and all ready to eat. So where do the eggs come from? They are taken from trees located near water after being laid by water mosquitoes.

Final Words

So now that you have some enlightenment on the benefits and history of eating bugs, is there one from our list you would want to try out? You may be extremely hesitant to eat an insect, but if you try it, you may just like it. Just remember not to eat the cockroach that snacked on your food, or the beetles in your backyard. You don’t want to eat flushed pesticides or other harmful substances. This is why it is extremely important to ensure that the insects you are about to eat, are totally safe.

If you always thought eating ants or crickets are nothing but a disgusting habit, hopefully this post helped you change your mind. If you run into someone who is in the process of consuming these little critters, you may not be as disgusted as you would have before. Edible insects have benefited millions of people for thousands of years. Many species continue to be a great source of nutrition.