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List of Edible Insects
Bugs you can eat, from A to Z!
Agave worm: Also known as the maguey worm, these larvae of either the Hypopta agavis moth or the Aegiale hesperiaris are sometimes included in tequila bottles as proof of authenticity and alcohol content (tequila must be of high enough proof to preserve the worm). In Mexico, they are also eaten as part of a meal, and are highly nutritious. (Image viaIanchadwick.com)
Ant: there are several varieties of ants that are eaten: Carpenter ants, leaf-cutter ants, honeypot ants, and even lemon ants.
Honeypot ants have abdomens swollen with a nectar-like substance, which is used to feed other ants, sort of like a “living larder.” An excellent “bush food,” they are dug up from the ground and eaten raw by aboriginal peoples in Australia. (Image viaThinkquest.org)
Leafcutter ants, also known as Hormigas Culonas in Spanish (which means big-butted ant) are eaten mainly in South America. They are said to taste like a cross between bacon and pistachio, and are usually eaten toasted. In Colombia, they are sold like popcorn at movie theaters. (image via Bugman onhttp://www.whatsthatbug.com)
Lemon ants are found in the Amazon jungle and are said to taste like just that: lemons. (Image viahttp://www.learnsomethingnewtoday.us)
Bee: Bee larvae, especially, are prized in many cultures as tasty morsels. Think about it, all they eat is royal jelly, pollen, and honey! The larvae, when sauteed in butter, taste much like mushroomy bacon. Adult bees may also be eaten, often roasted (roast bee!) and then ground into a nutritious flour. In China, ground bees are used as a remedy for a sore throat. (Image via www.weirdmeat.com)
Centipede: Most often found as a street food in China. (Image via biscuitswithhoney.blogspot.com)
Cicada: Periodical cicadas, primarily found in the Eastern US, live underground for 17 years before emerging and molting into adults. Just after they molt, they have soft, juicy bodies, and are said to be very tender and delicious. Different species of cicada are also eaten in many Asian countries, such as Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia. (Image viahuntingboots.com)
Cockroach: Yes, you can eat cockroaches! Just not the ones you find around your house. Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches can actually be very clean and tasty insects, especially if they are fed on fresh fruits and vegetables. They can be eaten toasted, fried, sauteed, or boiled. Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches have a taste and texture like greasy chicken. (Image via Shoichi Uchiyama.)
Fly pupae: the fatty acid pattern of house fly pupae (Musca domestica L.) has been found to be similar to that of some fish oils. Shaped like small red pills, the “flavor is rich with a hint of iron, sort of like blood pudding,” says David Gracer of Small Stock Foods. (image viahttp://www.smallstockfoods.com)
Flying Ant: Also known as Sompopos, the flying queens are collected in Guatemala and roasted on a comal with salt and lime juice. They are said to taste something like buttery pork rinds. Because of their territorial nature, flying ant queens are sometimes pitted against each other, cock-fight style. (image via )
Hornworm: David George Gordon, author of The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook, says that Tomato Hornworms can be fried up much the same as the fruit of the plant on which they feed. They taste a bit like green tomatoes, shrimp, and crab.
Jumiles: also known as stink bugs. High in B vitamins, these are said to taste either bitter or like cinnamon, and may have tranquilizing and analgesic properties. Apparently, they can survive the cooking process, and thus are often eaten alive. The yearly Jumile Festival involves the eating of thousands of jumiles, and the crowning of a Jumile Queen.
Locust: the locust is one of the few insects condoned by the bible. Leviticus 11:22: Even these of them ye may eat: the locust after its kind, and the bald locust after its kind, and the cricket after its kind, and the grasshopper after its kind. (image via )
Louse: ‘“I have seen the Cheyennes, Snakes, Utes, etc., eat vermin off eachother by the fistful,” wrote the nineteenth-century chronicler Father Pierre-Jean de Smet. “Often great chiefs would pull off their shirtsin my presence without ceremony, and while they chatted, would amuse themselves with carrying on this branch of the chase in the seams. As fast as they dislodged the game, they crunched it with as much relish as more civilised mouths crack almonds and hazel-nuts or the claws of crabs and crayfishes.” — excerpt fromThe Eat-A-Bug Cookbook by David George Gordon. (Image via )
Mopane worm: largely eaten in Southern Africa, during their season, mopane worms can fetch a higher market price than beef. When dried, they are said to taste like an earthy jerky. (Image via)
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.
Nsenene: This tasty grasshopper is a Ugandan delicacy. Usually prepared fried. David Gracer suggests that they taste like “a cross between chicken, shrimp, and croutons.” (Image via )
Sago grubs: the larvae of the Palm Weevil. Sago Delight, or fried Sago grubs, is a specialty in Malaysia and Indonesia. In Borneo and Papua New Guinea, they are often cooked in Sago flour, and wrapped in a Sago leaf like a tamale. They are said to taste somewhat like bacon, and are an essential source of fat. (Image via )
Wasp: Wasps are eaten in both adult and larval stages. Boiled, sauteed, roasted and fried, they taste somewhat buttery and earthy. Emperor Hirohito of Japan favored boiled wasps with rice. (Image via )
Walking stick: Eaten in Asia and Papua New Guinea, Walking Sticks taste somewhat leafy. Their legs can be used as fish hooks, says Aaron Dossey of All Things Bugs. (Image via )
Water Bug: AKA Toebiter, the giant water bug is popular in Thai cuisine, both c0nsumed whole (steamed or fried), and as an extract in sauces. Raw, the bugs have a scent like a green apple. Steamed, their flesh (plentiful enough to make small filets), tastes like a briny, perfumy banana/melon, with the consistency of fish. (Image via )
Waxworm: The larvae of the wax moth, in the wild wax worms are a parasite of bee hives. In captivity, they are fed on a diet of bran and honey. Roasted or sauteed, they taste like a cross between a pine nut and an enoki mushroom, and are high in essential fatty acids. (Image via )
Wichetty grub: Eaten by Aborigines in Australia, often roasted in coals or over a fire, wichetty grubs are high in protein and fat. According to Peter Menzel in Man Eating Bugs, “Witchetty grub tastes like nut-flavored scrambled eggs and mild mozzarella, wrapped in a phyllo dough pastry.” (Image via )
Zaza-mushi: “Zaza-mushi —zaza, the sound of rushing river water, and mushi, insect — are the larvae of aquatic caddis flies.” – Man Eating Bugs. Zaza-mushi are boiled then sauteed in soy sauce and sugar in Japan. (Image via )