• Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic

Entomophagy section? Anyone here eat bugs?

 
Todd Nease
Posts: 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I wonder if permies would wish to put up a Entomophagy section ever. Which is raising bugs for the purpose of human consumption. Which is a little different than this section I feel. I think it is a more common topic for a sustainable world these days. And frankly as a mealworm farmer/eater it is just darn good eating.

There are other forums that start up on the topic, but I find they tend to die out, because as a singular topic for a forum it may not be enough to sustain a website. Just an Idea.
 
Burra Maluca
Mother Tree
Pie
Posts: 8808
Location: Portugal Zone 9 Mediterranean Climate
610
bee bike books duck forest garden greening the desert solar trees wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do you think you get plenty of interesting threads going in one if we set one up? Empty forums are so depressing...

What sort of ideas do you have for topics?
 
Todd Nease
Posts: 16
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yeah I hear that. I think that can tent to be the problem with sites only dedicated to that subject alone. However on the other hand I have posted here about Mealworms, and have found the topics discussed quite well. I think the subject is rather new insofar as public knowledge at least in our culture, in regards to people eating the insects themselves. It seems that others here are raising insects more as feed, as well as composting. As that is the other side of raising the insects, that they can eat garden wastes, and create superior waist themselves that can be used directly or to make an awesome compost tea. Which is why of course I feel it is a good topic to bring into permiculture.

I can tell you though that mealworms taste great! They really do. And all info I have found tells of how healthful they are for human consumption. Not to mention how small of a space they require to breed. It can be done in a closet or under a bed. My farming of them has gone wild, yet it only takes up a 4x4x3 foot area. The cost of inputs is minimal, and can possibly be reduced to nothing.

More input from others here may be needed! I think maybe if more people showed interest in the subject, it would be a great idea.
 
Abe Connally
Posts: 1502
Location: Chihuahua Desert
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I like mealworms, they are good. They will also consume lots of wastes from other things, herbivore manures, dried grass, leaves, etc.

Crickets, grasshopper, not so much, the taste isn't impressive, but mealworms, I could eat them regularly.

Also, they are great for taming birds.
 
Keira Oakley
Posts: 71
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Entomophagy IS the future (actually mankind has been living on grubs since prehistoric times, and we in the west today are the exception). It's a fascinating subject, I wish I could find more people to share ideas etc...
Scientists have studied a very ancient hominid that had a special tool, that they now think was made to harvest termites. Also, very old cropolites from hominids (=fossilized fecal matter) contains quite a lot of grubs and insects. Sure, in the arctic there's no way of doing this, but apart from that place, you find grubs everywhere, but more of course in the tropics. Some countries are culturally more open for it: Thailand, Japan (wasp-larvaed eating for instance), Mexico, just to name a few...
For me, there is this simplicity: you just eat the grub whole, it's in my opinion much tastier that eating only muscle tissue, but also this is true "whole food". And many taste really good raw as well: now we're really talking "live" food.

 
Stephanie Ladd
Posts: 67
Location: Southeast Wisconsin, urban
2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
This is very interesting! Keep the conversation going!
 
Will Meginley
Posts: 112
Location: Concord, New Hampshire
6
food preservation forest garden hunting tiny house trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've had grasshoppers done the Mexican way - boiled in salty water with lime juice and garlic and eaten by the handful as a snack. They weren't bad. I've also had them served in quesadillas and a mole rojo type sauce over rice with good results. Many indigenous Mexican cuisines have a role for insects, particularly Oaxacan.

Just for jollies I once tried using some in place of chicken when making a "Thai chicken pizza" with OKAY results. I think I'd use half chicken and half bugs next time. Between the grasshoppers and the peanuts it was a bit crunchier than I typically associate with pizza.

Haven't tried any other insects yet. Other than raw on a dare - which seems to be rarely a good idea. Cooking does wonders from what I've heard.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 140
Location: Officially Zone 7a, nearer 6b, SW Tennessee
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Marjory Wildcraft has a bug festival every year, her expert Allen Davisson wrote The American Bug Eater’s Handbook available here http://www.bugbanquet.com/
The book is informative, I have yet to heat up the skillet.
 
Miles Flansburg
steward
Posts: 3669
Location: Zones 2-4 Wyoming and 4-5 Colorado
134
bee books forest garden fungi greening the desert hugelkultur
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Another thread here just to tie things together.
 
Joylynn Hardesty
Posts: 140
Location: Officially Zone 7a, nearer 6b, SW Tennessee
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
More on eating and potential for farming bugs...
"Forest insects as food: humans bite back"
http://www.fao.org/docrep/012/i1380e/i1380e00.pdf
From the forward...

"In this fast-paced modern world, it is sometimes easy to lose sight of valuable traditional
knowledge and practices. There is a tendency to think of traditional habits and customs as
outdated or primitive. Yet, experience across numerous fields has highlighted the value and
benefits to be gained from combining customary knowledge and approaches with modern
science and understanding.
Such is the case with edible forest insects. The practice of eating insects goes back thousands
of years and has been documented in nearly every part of the world. In modern times,
however, consumption of insects has declined in many societies and is sometimes ridiculed as
old-fashioned and unhealthy. Yet, it would be prudent to carefully consider the value of
customary knowledge before discarding it too readily. Scientific analysis confirms, for
example, the exceptional nutritional benefits of many forest insects, and studies point to the
potential to produce insects for food with far fewer negative environmental impacts than for
many mainstream foods consumed today.
Aside from their nutritional and environmental benefits, experts see considerable opportunity
for edible insects to provide income and jobs for rural people who capture, rear, process,
transport and market insects as food. These prospects can be enhanced through promotion and
adoption of modern food technology standards to ensure that the insects are safe and
attractive for human consumption.
Traditionally, most edible insects have been harvested from natural forests, but surprisingly
little is known about the life cycles, population dynamics, commercial and management
potential of most edible forest insects. Among forest managers, knowledge and appreciation
of how to manage and harvest insects sustainably is limited. On the other hand, traditional
forest dwellers and forest-dependent people often possess remarkable knowledge of the
insects and their management, offering excellent opportunities for modern science and
traditional knowledge to work together.
In an effort to more fully explore the various facets of edible forest insects, the FAO Regional
Office for Asia and the Pacific organized an international workshop, entitled “Forest Insects
as Food: Humans Bite Back” in Chiang Mai, Thailand, in February 2008. The workshop
brought together many of the world’s foremost experts on entomophagy – the practice of
eating insects. Specialists in the three-day workshop focused specifically on the science
management, collection, harvest, processing, marketing and consumption of edible forest
insects, as well as their potential to be reared commercially by local farmers.
It is hoped that this publication, containing the edited proceedings of the Chiang Mai
workshop, will help to raise awareness of the potential of edible forest insects as a food
source, document the contribution of edible insects to rural livelihoods and highlight linkages
to sustainable forest management and conservation.
Hiroyuki Konuma
Officer-in-Charge and Deputy Regional Representative"

Proceedings of a workshop on Asia-Pacific resources and their potential for development
19-21 February 2008, Chiang Mai, Thailan
FOOD AND AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION OF THE UNITED NATIONS
REGIONAL OFFICE FOR ASIA AND THE PACIFIC
Bangkok, Thailand 2010
 
Andrew Parker
pollinator
Posts: 514
Location: Salt Lake Valley, Utah, hardiness zone 6b/7a
4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I can say with surety that I have eaten bugs -- unintentionally.

There have been a few articles recently about various cricket/grasshopper flours and energy bars.

Quite a few years ago, I came across an article describing various insects eaten by the native Americans in the Great Basin. There are some other articles available at the same site and they offer the entire collection of the Food Insects Newsletter for a reasonable price.
 
Jill Older
Posts: 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I love my cookbook "The Eat-A-Bug Cookbook" by David George Gordon.

I have only had luck breeding meal worms so far. I have tried breeding crickets & super worms but the production is just too small and too slow.

I prefer them roasted then they can be used in a variety of foods. The added bonus is if you breed too many of them they are great chicken food, especial in the winter months when they don't have a real protein source.
 
Keira Oakley
Posts: 71
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Buffalo worms are a bit like meal worms, but much tastier. Recommended. Taste like mix of nuts and bacon, really nice
 
Ian Mack
Posts: 16
Location: Northeastern Coast of the U.S.
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Todd Nease wrote: My farming of them has gone wild, yet it only takes up a 4x4x3 foot area. The cost of inputs is minimal, and can possibly be reduced to nothing.

Do you mind sharing your process? Where did you source them from, what do you feed them on, habitat, other expenses, etc? I'm definitely interested in insects as a highly nutritious food that requires so little space to create. I think most people would want to put them through a trophic level or two first, haha, but hopefully that changes as time goes on.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've tried ants because I figure if I can eat ants I'll never starve. They were ok, not very yummy but I'll never starve. (I may get tired of ants and Jerusalem artichokes though...)

Every year I look at the chestnut weevil larvae and I know that they would taste good fried with salt. Maybe this is the year I try it.
 
Keira Oakley
Posts: 71
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
@ Matu: chestnut weevil larvae? how big are they? I think they must taste real nice because grubs take on the flavour of their food... although, yes you might need to fry them, raw might not be a good option, as raw chestnuts aren't really edible.
I have one question. Does anyone know how to farm waxworms? They live on honey in beehives, but on the internet they only show an artificial way how to breed them: giving them a mixture of honey and cereals, in glass jars, but normally they don't live on cereals. Would be nice to more learn about those "waxies", they taste real nice.
 
Niko Economides
Posts: 24
Location: Marquette county Michigan's upper peninsula
3
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
When I was a kid my best friends family had gardens orchard and bee hives. One winter we collected the frozen bees from the snow ( I think they wer cleaning out the hive on a sunny day and froze) we cooked them up in a dry frypan and ate them in front of my friends sister just to gross her out, they wer delicious. We collected them every winter and ate them, we also collected grasshoppers crickets and ants but I remember liking bees best.
 
Matu Collins
Posts: 1969
Location: Southern New England, seaside, avg yearly rainfall 41.91 in, zone 6b
69
bee books chicken forest garden fungi trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Keira Oakley wrote:@ Matu: chestnut weevil larvae? how big are they? I think they must taste real nice because grubs take on the flavour of their food... although, yes you might need to fry them, raw might not be a good option, as raw chestnuts aren't really edible.
I have one question. Does anyone know how to farm waxworms? They live on honey in beehives, but on the internet they only show an artificial way how to breed them: giving them a mixture of honey and cereals, in glass jars, but normally they don't live on cereals. Would be nice to more learn about those "waxies", they taste real nice.


The chestnut weevil looks like a maggot in shape and size, which is a factor in my lack of eagerness to eat them. I know logically that if all they eat is chestnuts they'll be pretty yummy but the way they look does not appetize.
 
Keira Oakley
Posts: 71
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
©Matu: it's just in your head, lol! Many kids love to eat insect, it's kind of natural for them, that is, before they've been taught to fear and despise them.
@ niko: i've tried bees in Thailand, really good! Actually, these were not fully developed, sort of in a stage after egg, but before adult. Would like to try the adult version, as you did. (There was no problem with the sting, btw?)
 
casey lem
Posts: 28
Location: under a foil hat
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Love this thread! I'm a fan of crickets, grasshoppers, anything in the wasp/ant family. I've been in contemplation about stag beetles, here's why. As I understand, members of the scarab beetle family are edible, of which this is one(I think, please correct me if I am wrong). The grubs feed on decaying wood, readily available in the form of wood chip mulch. I believe the adults feed on sap, I need to do more research. In an urban setting insect consumption could be risky business if done often with who knows what going into the bugs. I love to get treats now and then from my yard, but worry about what that grasshopper, etc. might have been eating or crawling through in my neighbor's yards full of spray on poison. So, wood chip mulch, seems pretty clean. Grubs eat that, I find a few beetles, respect the population to keep it renewable, we both win. I know in the UK this beetle is considered endangered, but I feel this concept would be more of a stewardship than an attack on the population. Open to any thoughts or opinions, please!
 
Marsha Richardson
Posts: 37
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Eating a variety of insects is a great way to supplement your diet. I am always eager for the acorn harvest. If the acorns have a tiny round hole, they have acorn weevils and they are super special. If you put the acorns in a bucket with a bit of sand/fine sawdust in the bottom the larva will squeeze out of the acorn looking for a place to pupate and you can gather large quantities of them. They are mild and delicious fried lightly with a dash of garlic. Eating them also cuts down on the amount of acorn weevils! Yay, double benefit.
There is a lot of information out there on eating and preparing insects. Even the evil and dastardly Marmelated Stink Bug which is invading the east coast here can be eaten and is fairly easy to prepare.
 
S Moore
Posts: 9
Location: Northwest
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm starting into this adventure this year, but haven't found a local source. Can anyone recommend online sellers?
 
Marsha Richardson
Posts: 37
1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sellers? Of insects? Hmmm. That is a somewhat novel concept for me. We catch and eat. Grasshoppers bothering your plants? Go on a hunt! The year that the 17 year cicadas hatched was a banner year for insect eaters. Some friends and I exchanged recipes and had a grand old time. And there were tons of them. There are some books that are devoted to edible insects and may help with identifying what is edible and what is not. Trying to harvest a bombardier beetle is never a good thing. Do you know marmalated stink bugs are edible? It seemed a little farfetched to me as well but if you par boil them (gets rids of a lot of the scent) and then fry them they turn into little crispy nuggets of yummy. Make an excellent salad topper or sprinkled over a bowl of steamed greens. Some people like earthworms but I don't find them that tasty.

If you are doing any digging and come across grubs, you know the little white ones that curl into a "C" shape, they are also prime and keeping a cup handy to pop them into is a great idea when gardening. It also rids your garden of Japanese beetles and a variety of pests you do not want. Of course you can always ease into it by growing your own mealworms. They are the larva of the darkling ground beetle and very easy to grow in the bin of wheat bran.
 
Che Jackson
Posts: 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
im very interested in raising insects on a large enough scale to make them my sole protein source. Ive only had mealworms and crickets and both seemed to taste like whatever I seasoned them withor cooked them in (mealworms fried in butter and salted tasted like a somewhat bland, very crunchy popcorn). I tried breeding mealworms but lost patience and ate all the larvae, the pupas all didnt make it. But ill be trying again soon.

The only downside, to me, about mealworms, is their need for a high carb diet, which usually means grains. I think mealworms are ultimate in every other way besides that (very little smell, no lighting needs, their poop is basically a powder that sifts to the bottom of the cage, very small space requirements, quiet and escape is unlikely). But i dont feel like buying or growing grains. My ultimate goal is to raise insects off of vegetable scraps and foraged vegetation like leaves and grass, as a free source of protein. Ive been looking into grasshoppers, which need more space and require lighting, but research says theyll do fine off of fresh collected grass, weeds and leaves. Ive also been thinking about just using large traps to catch them, theres a video of large, light baited locust traps in Uganda that gets a really awesome amount.
 
  • Post Reply
  • Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic