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Who here eats bugs?

 
Jimbo Mathews
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Since this is the non-vegetable protein source of the future, I'm thinking about getting a head start. I'm thinking of starting out with crickets, since they're good bait for fishing too. Any tips on raising or eating them? I think processing them into flower and baking into some bread would be awesome
 
Tyler Ludens
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I've eaten earthworms, but not crickets. Can't recommend the earthworms, they taste just like they smell.... If you put crickets in bread you might want to have some other seasonings in there too, for a savory bread, because my guess there will be a "cricket note" to the product.

Here are some cricket recipes: http://www.insectsarefood.com/recipes.html

I've mostly decided chickens like to eat bugs more than I do, and I like to eat chicken more than I like to eat bugs!

 
leila hamaya
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only accidentally !
sometimes i find one that i missed in the washing of the veggies.
i have taken to not washing my veggies as much...since i discovered that eating a tiny amount of soil (provided i grew it and know theres no chemical stuff there) is actually good for you. so i dont scrub the root veggies very well...get some B vitamins from the soil. theres also tons and tons of tiny microscopic bugs there...on root veggies...so ha...well i guess i do end up eating some bugs...

theres some strict veg in some of the buddhist oriented sects...they wont even eat root veggies just cause of the microscopic bugs that might accidentally kill and eat!!!
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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I've eaten grasshopper: http://www.velacreations.com/food/animals/insects.html

Many insects are edible, though there is not a lot of info out there about raising them commercially. Take the crickets, for instance. On the net you will find people feeding them cat food, dog food, chicken/layer mash, etc. That's really not very sustainable compared to just feeding your chickens layer mash.

I raise Black Soldier Flies on pig and poultry manure. They become feed for the poultry: http://www.velacreations.com/food/animals/bsf.html

It would be cool to have some information about possible species to raise, what to feed them, and how to process them.

I think insects have huge potential as animal food. Pigs, poultry, and fish require high protein diets that can use animal protein. Back in the day, offal and fish meal were used. Today, soy is used. I've see experiments with fish being fed insect meal to replace fish meal (caught from the oceans), and there was no difference in growth rates, taste, etc. This is a major issue, because fish meal is basically depleting the ocean at an alarming rate.

So, there might be a possibility for insects to provide protein for animal feeds. You could set up shop near a pig operation, take their manure and convert it to BSFL, then dry, grind and sell that as a powder to feed mills (like soy). Other insects might have better conversions of waste products (could crickets eat grocery waste?), but I don't know much about it, and I'm not finding a lot of information online.

Maybe one day we'll all have grasshopper tractors instead of chicken tractors....
 
Jimbo Mathews
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Abe Connally wrote:I've eaten grasshopper: http://www.velacreations.com/food/animals/insects.html

Many insects are edible, though there is not a lot of info out there about raising them commercially. Take the crickets, for instance. On the net you will find people feeding them cat food, dog food, chicken/layer mash, etc. That's really not very sustainable compared to just feeding your chickens layer mash.



I'm sure feeding crickets vegetable scraps is more sustainable, but I'm thinking feeding crickets layer mash is more sustainable than feeding chickens layer mash. I heard a figure that 10 pounds of grain makes one pound of beef (and we only eat 55% of the cow after that), whereas 10 pounds of grain makes 9 pounds of crickets which we can eat all of. While i'm sure chickens are far more efficient at converting grain to protein than cattle, I'd bet bugs are more efficient than chickens. As taboos and conceptions about food change (Bacon was eating relatively low on the hog back in the day, now its promoted as the best of the best), I'm sure we'll all be eating insects in some processed form in the next 50 years. Their carbon/methane production is nil compared to farming mammals. I'm going to start experimenting with crickets soon in terms of raising and eating. I do wish there were some good books on the subject, since almost all other cultures already eat insects and there are like 1400 known edible ones (I'm sure hundreds of thousands of others are edible, but who knows which ones eh?). Maybe we need a new field, ethno-entymology

Deff agree that bugs as animal feed is awesome/sustainable idea, but I think bugs as human feed is the most sustainable of all if animals are part of our diet.
 
chip sanft
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Location: 18 acres & heart in zone 4 (central MN). Current abode: Knoxville (zone 6 /7)
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I've eaten crickets at a restaurant in Japan (serving a particular locality's specialties). Not a lot of flavor there except for the marinade, nothing bad either, except for how the back legs tended to stick in the throat. I'd eat them again.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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Jimbo Mathews wrote:10 pounds of grain makes 9 pounds of crickets which we can eat all of.

Can you give a source for this? 2 problems I see which this statement - 1. FCR for crickets is 3:1 (at best, from the sources I can find), and 2. although you can "eat" all the cricket, only about 60% of it's body mass is actually digestible.

Jimbo Mathews wrote:While I'm sure chickens are far more efficient at converting grain to protein than cattle, I'd bet bugs are more efficient than chickens.

The FCR for factory chickens is 3:1 or a little better, home-based ones are around 4:1. So, not really different than crickets. Additionally, 100% of the cricket won't be digestible by the chicken, so you have additional losses.

Jimbo Mathews wrote:I'm sure we'll all be eating insects in some processed form in the next 50 years.

I agree with this. In fact, we already eat a lot of insects, but you don't realze it. There are acceptable levels of insects in almost every food item.

Jimbo Mathews wrote:Their carbon/methane production is nil compared to farming mammals.

That completely depends on the species and how they are raised. Crickets being fed grains vs pastured rabbits, the rabbits win, no doubt. Pastured chickens vs grain-fed crickets - the chickens win. Crickets also have higher energy requirements, because of the controlled environments required.

If you can find a species that takes advantage of a waste stream (like BSF eating pig manure), then yes, the environmental impact is better. Insects have the potential to improve the impact of other animals being farmed, too.

Jimbo Mathews wrote:Deff agree that bugs as animal feed is awesome/sustainable idea, but I think bugs as human feed is the most sustainable of all if animals are part of our diet.

I am totally with you that they SHOULD be increased in the human diet, but I don't see it happening very fast, because of cultural influences. In the meantime, we could be feeding pigs insect protein instead of soy, and drastically reducing the footprint of that meat.

Aquaculture is an enormous demand on the world's oceans. Over 50% of all the fish caught go to feeding fish in fish farms. This HAS to change, mainly because the oceans can't keep up, and the demand for farmed fish is increasing. So, an enterprise that could figure out the logistics to replace fish meal with insect meal would stand to make a lot of money on that technology, while reducing the impact on the oceans. If the insects could be grown on waste streams, then the whole operation becomes extremely beneficial.
 
Jimbo Mathews
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Abe Connally wrote:
Jimbo Mathews wrote:10 pounds of grain makes 9 pounds of crickets which we can eat all of.

Can you give a source for this? 2 problems I see which this statement - 1. FCR for crickets is 3:1 (at best, from the sources I can find), and 2. although you can "eat" all the cricket, only about 60% of it's body mass is actually digestible.


My source was a documentary on youtube, which upon reflection, isn't much of a source at all. Your comments about FCR and aquaculture have me doing some interesting reading and thinking about a lot of things. Maybe inserting them somewhere in the middle of the food chain will be the best way to slowly integrate bugs into the western diet.

In the mean time, i'll be starting my utopian cricket farm raising project soon to see whats up Maybe I'll play around with measuring and weighing water, different, foods, and the crickets themselves.
 
Abe Connally
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Location: Chihuahua Desert
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Jimbo Mathews wrote:
In the mean time, i'll be starting my utopian cricket farm raising project soon to see whats up Maybe I'll play around with measuring and weighing water, different, foods, and the crickets themselves.


Please, please, please do this and let us know how it goes! I am hoping to do something similar later this year, and it will be very helpful to compare real world examples. One of the issues with insect farming is that there is a real lack of open information for small producers like us. There are so many species to consider, so many possible feedstocks, it is really overwhelming!

Another thing that's kinda interesting, is that insects haven't really been domesticated. If we selectively bred crickets and/or other species for food production, we'd probably be able to increase body size, reproductive rates, and feed efficiency. Just look at how other livestock have improved over the last 50 years. The advantage with insects is that the generations are so short, you could actually start seeing improvements within a few years.
 
Allan Babb
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Location: Greater New Orleans, LA, USA
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I don't eat insects directly, nor do I imagine that I will if there is another source of protein(ie: chicken eggs, nuts, various vegetables). Then again, if it were down to me killing an animal(besides a fish) for protein, I'm not sure that I could. I'd just be miserable for a while as my body adjusts to a meat free diet.
 
Laurel Robertson
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I've been to two bug-eating workshops in the last year, both hosted by a regional bug-eating expert. I could have learned most of what I wanted to know from books ("Man Eating Bugs" is a good place to start) but I knew I needed the support and peer pressure of a group to actually put that first creepy-crawly in my mouth! Now I'm pretty at ease with frying up the occasional scorpion I come across (overtones of bacon with a hint of popcorn) and I'm keeping an eager eye out for a red wasps nest - the toasted larvae are better than pine nuts! I was a little underwhelmed with crickets and grasshoppers, but that's just personal preference.

The real reason to bother with eating bugs (admittedly - it takes quite a few of them to make a meal, but then they do often hang out in large groups....) is the high protein/fat ratio they offer (generally hard to come by in wild harvested food). If you can override all your cultural programming and pop that first one in your mouth, you'll see (and taste) the sustainable logic behind it. Hakuna matata!
 
Jason Manson
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I've tried several insects I've caught with the same idea you have, Jimbo. I microwaved all of them except for dragonflies and a luna moth I found while dragonfly hunting. Crickets tasted slightly nutty, and grubs tasted pretty much just like walnuts. Worms tasted like fish, dragonflies tasted like soft-shell crab. My friend who also tried the dragonflies with me thought they tasted like slightly salty potato chips. I just happened to have soft-shell crab a couple days later for the comparison. I don't recall what the luna moth tasted like, I was probably too distracted as it must have been full of eggs because there were tons of "seeds" that were very hard to crush with my teeth, and got stuck everywhere in my mouth.
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I have read meal worms are good and easy to raise.
Any post yet about it here?

My local cricket is small and I would not import big ones!
(risk of escape)

I have eaten some big ants (fried) in a restaurant.

I have discovered a very big larvae, but in some composting manure....
How to empty the stomach and clean it?
And is it a safe one...
It is 2 inches long!
 
Keira Oakley
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Jimbo, did you manage to raise those crickets? I've heard that people who've experimented a bit with different insects in their home, said that crickets were not the best to raise, as they were very noisy...!
 
Matu Collins
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I'm curious about the cricket farm too.

I've tried ants, they're not very good.
 
Keira Oakley
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There is such a variety of insects out there, so much more interesting, in my view than eating only the muscle tissue of bigger animals...
Cicadas, beetles are other insects commonly eaten by locals... And, it's not only about food: there are pygmies that extract oil from termites to use as body/hair care. In Sudan, a bug called the melon bug can also be extracted for it's oil, that is antibacterial and used to treat skin infections.
My personal view is that the average person eats too much animal products/meat. I do not believe in veganism, but I do not support todays big meat consumption. And with bugs, you can really choose to eat smaller amounts, and as they taste more, I would say, you need less to feel satisfied.

Another strange edible insect: Lerp. It is the sugary secretion by a larvae, it's like a cone (found on leaves), consisting of the insects + their secretion. The taste is said to be nice and sweet.

Stuff I'd love to try: red ant eggs (=insect caviar!). Also, there is something called the "Mexican caviar", eggs from different species of aquatic insects. Sounds delicious

In America, the natives indians got sugar by eating a certain type of aphid, as they secreted a sort of honey dew. It was rolled in balls, wrapped into leaves and stored... (the funny thing is that the pilgrims loved to eat that stuff/buy it from the indians, but when they learned it came from insects they were disgusted and stopped lol)


 
Keira Oakley
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Here's a text I found on the net about Mexican insect poachers:

Red maguey worms – larvae of the moth Comadia redtenbacheri – and white maguey worms – larvae of the butterfly Aegiale hesperiaris – are found throughout central Mexico on the leaves of Agave salmiana. When fully mature, the highly nutritious caterpillars are considered a delicacy by Mexican farmers. They are generally eaten
deep fried or braised, seasoned with a spicy sauce and served in a tortilla. Along with the larvae of the agave weevil (Scyphophorus acupunctatus), red maguey worms are one of the types of gusano (caterpillar) found in bottles of mezcal liquor (a distilled alcoholic beverage made from the maguey plant, Agave americana) in the Mexican state of oaxaca. The gusanos are so popular that mezcal producers send security guards into agave fields during the rainy season to stop poachers.
Source: Ramos Elorduy et al., 2007.
 
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