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Survival Skills: 5 Bugs You Want to Eat

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November 26, 2012
Survival Skills: 5 Bugs You Want to Eat - 6

Have you ever had that dessert called “worms and dirt”? Generally, it’s some kind of chocolate and gummy worms. But how about the real thing? Something has usually gone wrong if you are thinking about eating actual bugs. But for argument’s sake, let’s suppose you did run out of food and required some protein sustenance. Which bugs would be the safest choices for you to eat? Here are three groups of creatures for the adventurous diner.

Earthworms
There are many different species of worms throughout North America. All are considered safe for human consumption, but they should be purged of the dirt that fills them before you try to eat them. An easy way to clean them out is to place them in a container of damp grass. After a few hours, the critters will be void of the dirt and sand they normally hold. Like all animal foods, worms should be cooked before you eat them. I recommend frying. The good news is that fried worms taste a little like jerky. The bad news, average sized worms provide only about 1 calorie per gram (not counting the fat from frying).

Crickets, Katydids and Grasshoppers
This diverse group of bugs is generally safe to eat, if you avoid the colorful members of these families. Red, orange, yellow, and blue colorations are usually warning signs. The heads and small legs should be removed, and the bugs should always be cooked thoroughly. Bugs with crunchy shells are often the most parasite laden. Hunt for them in the early morning, when they are less active from the colder temperatures. This group yields approximately 4 to 5 calories per gram. They range from flavorless to fatty tasting.

Termites
Ripping open a rotten log may seem like a lot of work, but the payoff might be worth the trouble. Termites have the highest calorie content of the bugs on this list. These pale colored, ant-looking insects provide about 6 calories per gram. You’ll have to work to get the nutrition, though. These little guys go scurrying for cover anytime you damage the wood in which they reside.

Hungry for more details? Check out www.ent.iastate.edu. Have you eaten bugs? Did you lose a dare or just wanted to try them? Let us hear about it in the comments.

 

Comments (6)

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from randall 11/29/2012 at 04:35pm

Eating any kind of bug that lives in the soil is a mistake that can kill you! They almost all have psudomonis and loconostoc bacteria in their bodies. You are much better off eating higher developed animals such as rodents and birds. Most of the protein in insects is indigestible. Nut, berries,fish,crayfish,turtles and frogs are also safer and more nutritious. You can live a long time without any food and can die quickly if you eat the wrong things!

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from charliedakota 11/29/2012 at 03:07am

When I was first stationed at Ft Huachuca, AZ, one of the members at the Rod & Gun Club gave a series of talks about the local beasties and survival. One night he demonstrated eating earthworms and called for volunteers to try them. One guy was so enthused he went to the bar, bought a cup of bait worms and had them with beer. He put Tobasco sauce on them - I heard they didn't much like it. Ah well, that was in the 70's

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from ArizonasJoe 11/28/2012 at 04:39pm

I learned to eat insects while living in Africa. I ate dried grasshoppers and "French-fried" termites (nuptuals = kings and queens flying away from mounds). I broke off legs and wings of grasshoppers before eating. They tasted like grass. I ate live and cooked termites, cooked were better. With salt it was a little like eating pistachios - good with beer. I had a temporary teaching job on the North Slope of Alaska. I took nightcrawlers being raised on coffee grounds, i.e. no dirt. They tasted like coffee. I sauteed them in butter.

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from Bob Hansen 11/27/2012 at 12:42pm

Hi...

I hope that I'm better prepared for dire circumstances. If I'm not, though, worms here I come...!!

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from erockrph 11/27/2012 at 08:34am

I forget where I first read/heard/saw about eating ants, but I tried some for the heck of it and they are actually quite tasty. They have a nice tart kick to them. It would be tough to get enough of them to survive off of, but I'd definitely seek them out if needed.

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from JM 11/26/2012 at 10:47pm

It's like thanksgiving all over again...

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from erockrph 11/27/2012 at 08:34am

I forget where I first read/heard/saw about eating ants, but I tried some for the heck of it and they are actually quite tasty. They have a nice tart kick to them. It would be tough to get enough of them to survive off of, but I'd definitely seek them out if needed.

+2 Good Comment? | | Report
from JM 11/26/2012 at 10:47pm

It's like thanksgiving all over again...

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from Bob Hansen 11/27/2012 at 12:42pm

Hi...

I hope that I'm better prepared for dire circumstances. If I'm not, though, worms here I come...!!

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from charliedakota 11/29/2012 at 03:07am

When I was first stationed at Ft Huachuca, AZ, one of the members at the Rod & Gun Club gave a series of talks about the local beasties and survival. One night he demonstrated eating earthworms and called for volunteers to try them. One guy was so enthused he went to the bar, bought a cup of bait worms and had them with beer. He put Tobasco sauce on them - I heard they didn't much like it. Ah well, that was in the 70's

+1 Good Comment? | | Report
from ArizonasJoe 11/28/2012 at 04:39pm

I learned to eat insects while living in Africa. I ate dried grasshoppers and "French-fried" termites (nuptuals = kings and queens flying away from mounds). I broke off legs and wings of grasshoppers before eating. They tasted like grass. I ate live and cooked termites, cooked were better. With salt it was a little like eating pistachios - good with beer. I had a temporary teaching job on the North Slope of Alaska. I took nightcrawlers being raised on coffee grounds, i.e. no dirt. They tasted like coffee. I sauteed them in butter.

0 Good Comment? | | Report
from randall 11/29/2012 at 04:35pm

Eating any kind of bug that lives in the soil is a mistake that can kill you! They almost all have psudomonis and loconostoc bacteria in their bodies. You are much better off eating higher developed animals such as rodents and birds. Most of the protein in insects is indigestible. Nut, berries,fish,crayfish,turtles and frogs are also safer and more nutritious. You can live a long time without any food and can die quickly if you eat the wrong things!

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