June 13, 2014 at 2:32 am #16425
Hi Everyone–I was just given this list of edible bugs by “Crochunter” on another forum. I cannot vouch for the edibility and safety of his list, but I am willing to try some of them soon as an experiment. (I’ve already eaten some pasture grasshoppers and grubs from under pine bark.
And seen video footage of frying acorn grubs.) Since insects are incredibly numerous and available, it doesn’t hurt to know which ones can be eaten. So, here goes:
Junior Member Join Date: Jan 2012 Location: Near Surfside Texas Age: 45
This is by no means an all-inclusive list of edible bugs in the lower 48 United States. It is however, an user-friendly guide to common, safe and easy to ID insects and spiders. I have not included any with toxic mimics.
I used to teach outdoor environmental education and natural history to school children up in New England. One of the things I taught weekly was wild edible plants. I had a responsibility to make sure they didn’t go home and show off to friends and eat the wrong thing.
Plant poisons do not play around, they are usually far more deadly then any North American snake bite. Most plant poisons will kill a person with little to no chance of an antidote.
This came up all due to the edible wild carrot. A wonderful food easy to ID. Problem is, it has a mimic that often grows right around the wild carrot. You really want to trust a child to think back to my teachings and wonder “Did the bad one have purple spots? Or was it the good one that had purple spots?”
NOTES: To make the best of an adult insect, please remove all legs, carapace, wings and anything else hard ( anything outside their body on an adult is their exoskeleton ). Not because you will be harmed but for palatability and to help the squeamish to try them.
They are “bugs” after all. As for cooking, fry them, sautéed them, roast them or eat raw. I will note ones that are not the best raw. Do not eat already dead ones. Common sense.
Here is my bomb proof list, user-friendly and as detailed as I can make it. And yes, I have tried everything on here with the exception of only a few and I made sure to note that :P.
Easy to ID as it is the only grub you will find in an acorn . Its small and tasty raw or cooked. It does not (surprisingly) have any of the tannins in it that make acorns themselves bitter without processing.
If you fry them, fry on low heat or else they..er pop. Look for acorns with a small hole or an acorn that is cracked as two separate species lay their eggs in acorns. Both are edible and good bait! Peak season is August and September.
Can be easily raised in captivity as you simply put them in sawdust.
These insects are all in the same family. Just think of ants as wingless bees . All life stages can be eaten, but the larva (pupae) are the easiest to gather and easy to eat raw.
Simply remove wasp nests ( the small ones don’t go removing the basketball sized ones folks please ) and eat the larva right out of the nest.
Ants….look for anthills as any rain coming or past recently will have the eggs and larva near the top. I like to get the larva out of fire ant nests. Kind of a payback for all the misery they cause me.
Carpenter ants are yummy and one of the biggest we have. They don’t actually eat wood….. The various species also vary in taste from sunflower seed-like to shrimp.
Adult ants….. Once separated from ground/anthill debris, boil them to remove any hint of acidic taste. Wonder how many times I am going to have to add something lol.
NOTE: DO NOT EAT VELVET ANTS. They are the large-ish colored velvet looking ants that run around care-free. That’s warning coloration for….I taste bad. I have read accounts of people put in the hospital so just don’t.
God must love beetles since 35% of all animal species are beetles. Stick with any grubs you find in the ground, rotting logs, tree bark, or in fruit. Adults, junebugs are fine.
Any of the adults are fine but as a safety precaution, stay away from any bright colored beetles with mainly red, yellow, or orange colors. Black is good, as is brown.
See, I told you I had easy to ID bugs . You can eat them as they are emerging from the ground , climbing trees, or dug up. Best if fried or roasted to a golden brown color. Taste good. They are easy to gather/catch.
Yes, I said it. I have eaten the big ones, the so-called American cockroach. They have several life stages unlike the gross and the bane of all apartment dwellers world-wide, the German cockroach ( I do NOT suggest you eat them just because I draw the line somewhere :P).
These are timid detritus eaters that manage to get in our homes. I eat the wingless stage as the adults remind me too much of the German cockroach. Those wingless ones are usually in your yard somewhere, not hard to find. I have eaten the Madagascar hissing cockroach but since they are not native, they don’t count.
Most of us reptile keepers have them for feeding our various reptiles. Easy to raise and farm as are meal worms. A lot easier to farm then tilapia or rabbits .
All life stages are edible and good. Easier to collect the underwater larva or emergent nymphs. Adults you need a butterfly net.
Easy to ID, easy to collect and quite good. For the grasshoppers stick with the more solid colored ones as the multi hued ones are said to make some folks sick.
I have not had any problems eating grasshoppers before I heard this news and I am positive I paid no attention to their color lol.
One note: The large mole cricket, you know the UGLY SCARY looking one some call the “potato bug” is very edible and good. Easy to find under logs, ground litter or after a hard rain.
Easy to ID and all over the place. The little “c” shaped grubs you find in the dirt of your yard are June bug grubs. Adults are just as edible, well once you remove the hard parts.
Any grub you find in the dirt, under logs or in bark is edible. Just in general….as these are other species. These can be air popped in an popcorn air popper .
Pill bug. ( Roly-poly’s)
Yes these childhood favorites to catch are quite edible. Actually a crustacean and not a true insect nor bug at all ( think land-shrimp ). The best are the ones that fully roll into a ball.
We have many separate species of these. Wood-louse is the actual name for these guys.
I have eaten them raw on hamburgers at a BBQ, much to the delight of the kids .
All our native species are rather on the small side, but edible once you remove the tail stinger. Eaten the world over.
Tarantulas are both edible and a delicacy. I have not and will not eat one. Just too big for me. Maybe someday someone might convince me. Take the hairs off the body first though.
I have kept tarantulas as educational animals for years and those hairs are like fiberglass. They make you itch.
I will eat the banana spider next time I am out on the trail. They are large and all over Texas. Easy to ID.
Any in or under water are edible, yes even mosquito eggs and larva. Safe due to the fact that the larva aren’t adults that exist off blood thus prone to parasites, disease organisms and just yucky in general :P.
The toebiter when caught without being bitten, is very good to eat and probably the biggest insect you will find here in America. You know what toebiters are, the big diving waterbugs with HUGE mandibles. Hence, toebiter .
Found the world over in all palm species in the bark or inside the tree. They are huge, ready source of protein, calories and fat. They do NOT taste like coconuts but…..Relax, they taste like bacon! I have them on here because they taste so good and are my top choice for any first-time bug eater species.
I included them due to any folks in the Florida Keys or any of us going on tropical vacations. Rumored to be complete daily nutrition if you eat 20 per day.
A fine source of protein, vitamins, minerals and calories. Stay away from any that have hairs or very bright colors ( aside from green ) or both.
The caterpillars you don’t want to eat will usually broadcast that by being covered in hairs, long hairs, or spiky growths that cause you immediate pain , discomfort or nausea just by touch.
The puss caterpillar is deadly. Assassin cat can be. Just stick to small green caterpillars or any that do not have bright colors. The colors are for a reason. Cook caterpillars is best option but I have eaten small ones raw.
Any “worms” found on or in corn are edible and usually accidentally eaten anyways.
*** NOW THE OTHER IMPORTANT PART***
What to never eat.
They are quite toxic. Will they kill you? Probably not. Never heard of anybody dying from them and I know there has to be some kids out there who ate one.
Oil or blister beetles
Stay away from these. The adults will put you in the hospital. What do they look like? Google them or simply stick to my above list.
June 13, 2014 at 2:46 am #16429
- Any caterpillar that is brightly and pretty colored. Same with any that are covered in long hairs, even if they look silky.
- Any worms/grubs found on bean plants, poinsettia plants, and morning glory stay away from. Best to avoid the possibility of eating a toxic grub entirely.”
I hope to God I’m never that hungry.June 13, 2014 at 3:00 am #16431
I will go fishing. I live were there is ocean every were so I will do my best to find food in the ocean.June 13, 2014 at 4:01 am #16433
freedom wrote:I will go fishing. I live were there is ocean every were so I will do my best to find food in the ocean.
I would do that as well, or drown myself in it.June 13, 2014 at 4:06 am #16434
C’mon guys! Squeamish are we??? I’ve eaten a few and they’re quite as good as shrimp or oysters. Many Middle Eastern/African countries roast grasshoppers over a fire; Southeast Asians eat fried scorpions/spiders etc. What’s so different from crayfish?June 13, 2014 at 3:45 pm #16450
wildartist, I am not saying I will not eat them if and that is a big IF there is nothing else to hunt or plants to eat. It is the last thing for me to eat.June 13, 2014 at 6:08 pm #16466
True, freedom, true. Just good information to have in the back of your mind.June 14, 2014 at 9:13 pm #16561
Yea, agree with you there, I did some weird stuff, but I too find insect as a food pretty much nasty. But it is all about levels of need and on what things you are forced, so thanks for info Wildartist.
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