In the guide below, we discuss edible insects and bugs.
We outline what they are, the different types of edible insects and bugs, the major ways they might be eaten, where to buy them, & more.
(Note – the information in this guide is general information only. It is not professional advice, or a substitute for professional advice. See a suitably qualified expert for professional advice on matters such as health and nutrition)
What Are Edible Insects & Bugs?
Edible insects and bugs are insects and bugs that are used for (and safe for) human consumption
Entomophagy is a broad term or phrase used to describe the eating of insects
Difference Between Insects & Bugs
A key difference between insects and bugs is that bugs are a type of insect
There’s different reports online that provide descriptions of the features of both insects and bugs
Different Types Of Edible Insects & Bugs
Different Types Of Edible Insects & Bugs
Some of the most common types of edible insects and bugs might include crickets, butterflies and moths, worms (such as mealworms), beetles, cockroaches, grasshoppers, ants, caterpillars, bees and wasps, and more
canr.msu.edu lists some other types of edible insects
Apart from whole adult insects and bugs, edible insects and bugs may also include eggs, larvae, and pupae
Most Commonly Consumed Species Of Insects
wikipedia.org lists the most commonly consumed species of insects in their guide
Beetles currently top the list when measuring the proportion of species consumed worldwide by %
How Many Types Of Edible Insects & Bugs Are There?
theguardian.com mentions that there is ‘… 900+ edible species of insects’
csiro.au mentions that ‘[there are …] more than 2,100 insect species currently eaten by two billion people from 130 countries …’
Where Do Edible Insects & Bugs Come From?
Individuals can collect insects and bugs via netting and other collection methods.
However, on a mass commercial level, insects/bugs can be farmed at insect farms.
How Can Insects & Bugs Be Eaten?
Edible insects and bugs might be eaten in two major ways:
If insects are prepared in a safe and proper way, they can be eaten whole/unprocessed (with their exoskeletons)
Frying, grilling, and roasting are a few examples of different cooking methods of whole insects and bugs
Some insects are also freeze dried, packed, and delivered to a specific location, and eaten later
– In Different Processed Food Products With Insect Ingredients
There’s also different processed food products that include insect ingredients and insect proteins.
Examples include but aren’t limited to burger patties, mince, pasta, snacks, flour, insect protein powder (such as cricket protein powder), and other food products
Cricket protein powders and other insect powders can also be added to various processed products, or used as a standalone product with other foods, by mixing it (such as in a shake or smoothie), or sprinkling it on top of other foods. They might also be a substitute for regular protein in some instances
wikipedia.org lists some other insect food products made by North American, Canadian and EU producers in their article
*Eating Insects & Bugs Indirectly
People don’t always have to eat whole insects, or eat processed food products with insects ingredients or insect protein to eat food that involves the use of insects
People may eat insects indirectly by eating meat that has come from livestock that has been fed on insect feed, just as one example.
Where To Buy Edible Insects & Bugs
Where exactly edible insects and bugs can be bought depends on the country someone lives in.
However, some of the various ways to buy edible insects and bugs include but aren’t limited to:
– In some food stores and supermarkets (some stores stock specific types of insect food products)
– Online directly from some companies that produce or supply insect food products, or from food delivery services and apps
– At some restaurants
– At some events like sporting events (some baseball stadiums in the US for example sell whole insects)
– From street vendors (in some countries where insects and bugs are widely eaten)
What Are Some Other Uses For Insects & Bugs?
Apart from being edible as whole insects/bugs, or in food products with insect protein and insect ingredients, insects and bugs might be used:
– As Animal Feed
Such as for livestock feed in agriculture
– In Products Other Than Human Food Products
Some pet foods may include insect protein in place of animal meat protein
Insects may also be used for fats in other products like oils and even some cosmetics.
Other Resources On Edible Insects & Bugs
1. Various ‘Better Meets Reality’ guides