Friday, February 25, 2011

Edible Insects - Section 1 of 2

Despite which insects are discussed below, the important thing to remember is that it is always better to cook them over flame instead of eating them raw. Even if you were to pick an insect that contains venom or other harmful toxins, bringing the bug to a good boiling point or roasting it over a flame can cancel out the harmful effects. Some insects can also carry parasites which will also be killed during cooking helping you avoid ingesting something that would be more harm than good. Generally, cooking insects will also help with taste. Some black ants found among the world have a strong vinegar taste to them raw but taste much better after being boiled. If you prefer, you can also remove the insect’s wings, thin legs, or even entire head, all of which usually contain little nutrients anyways. Only eat bugs that are found alive, there could be reasons a dead bug is a dead bug. Poisons, pesticides, and insecticides can all be ingested by insects but can usually be purged from them if you happen to be suspicious and have enough time to wait. Capture the insect in a container and introduce new greens for them to eat, after 24 hours they will have passed any harmful chemicals they may have been carrying. If the insect dies within that 24 hour period, then discard it.

1)      Watch for bright colors that usually suggest that they are poisonous. Sometimes this means only parts of the insects, not entire portions. For example, yellow legs, red antenna, orange wings, etc… Also, don’t attempt to eat any insects that have noticeable or obvious stinger attachments which are usually either located at the head or rear of the insect. Many insects have triangular rears that may look like stingers but are in fact anal exits used for waste. If you’re not sure, take a stem of grass or stick and interact with the insect to see if it repositions itself or a portion of its body to strike at it. Most experts recommend avoiding eating stinging or biting insects. However, some insects such as Scorpions can have their stingers cut off and can be cooked over a flame and eaten. However if you’re uncertain whether or not you should eat an insect or find yourself questioning your actions, you’re better off passing on the opportunity and moving on to candidates that you are more comfortable deciding upon.

2)      Watch for the insects that just bumble around in the opening carelessly and are not timid towards you or frightened when moved with a stick or other objects. There is usually a reason that they are not frightened by you, birds, lizards, or other predators. Stick to the bugs that seem timid, try to hide, stick to the brush line, or foliage for cover.

3)      Don’t eat any insects that have a repulsive smell or handle them. If you’re unsure, use a large leaf or sharp stick to pick them up and inspect them for odors. It is very important within close range that you close your eyes upon putting your face close enough to smell them. Some insects are capable of spraying poison or other toxins in short distances so be aware and try to have their side facing you. Most insects capable of spraying toxins usually do so from the front or back of their torso.

4)      Most experts generally recommend avoiding hairy insects as well. The vast majority of insects deemed hairy are inedible, don’t offer much protein or vitamins, or are poisonous. Tarantulas are a good exception to the rule and can be roasted over a flame. In some countries they are even considered a delicacy.

5)      Do not eat disease caring insects such as flies, ticks or mosquitoes. Ingesting these can often do more harm than good and offer very little protein anyways. 

Termites – Termites are loaded with protein which can help you recover some of your strength and are the second most eaten insect in the world. They can be found in several different locations including fallen logs, damaged trees, and damp wood rich areas.


  1. Very good info. I dont plan on eating any bugs anytime soon but If I'm ever stuck in that situation, at least I'll know exactly what to look for.

  2. LOL, well most of us don't really look forward to having insects for dinner either but in the worst of situations then you have to do what you have to do in order to survive.

  3. i look forward to having insects for dinner.

  4. The time you need to eat bugs in a survival situation is not the time to do it for the first time. Practice before you need it. I am going out to the woods today to find some timid, non-brightly colored, non-hairy insects that do not reposition to sting when poked with a stick. maybe in rotting tree parts on the ground I will find slugs or something, then I will hold them in my hand while I drown them in a stream, or if no stream I will just pop the heads off, and then throw a flat rock in the middle of a small fire to set them on the rock to cook (I would never eat a bug raw- ups the virus and bacteria risk too much!). I'd rather find out how to do it now, and not wait until i need it.

  5. Practice makes perfect! That's one of the oldest sayings in the book but it couldn't be truer. If you happen to find slugs or snails, it's best to not ingest them immediately. Avoid any that have brightly colored shells as they are more than likely poisonious. Collect them and starve them of food for a couple of days or feed them fresh greens to purge them. When you’re ready, place them in saltwater and it will clear out their guts. Slugs and snails usually taste best to most people after they’ve been boiled for about 10 to 12 minutes. Introducing any locally found herbs can also help better their taste. Sea Snails or Slugs should be avoided all together unless you are able to identify precisely what they are.