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Sometimes, the best way to get rid of insects is to eat them. Yeah, you got that right! In fact, there’s a science that deals with it (it’s called Entomophagy or something like that). The Holy Bible even permits eating certain species of bugs (check it out in Leviticus). But don’t take it the wrong way; most insects aren’t edible and some are even poisonous! Better call pest or termite control for those pests. Anyway, what are these edible insects? Let’s go check them out!
Ants and its larvae are enjoyed as food in different countries. Mexicans use eggs of two known ant species for their escamoles. Columbians roast bachacos or hormigas colunas (large-bottomed ants) alive and eat it. Countries like India, Burma and Thailand use the insects as an ingredient for curry condiment as well as for other snacks and dishes. Most people prefer reproductive ants, although some are known to eat soldiers and worker ants too. And since some of the ant species are hard to find and the dishes enjoyable for a certain season only, these foods are considered delicacies. For example, the Mexican escamoles can be bought for USD 40 per pound (or USD 90 per kilogram).
Many Africans consider termites as a key component for their diet. Various communities in different countries even have their own methods of collecting or cultivating the insects. While most prefer the alates or reproductive termites, there are some who favor certain soldier species. Termite queens are hard to come by, and are considered a delicacy whenever available. Believe it or not, termites are a good source of fats and proteins, and it has a nutty flavor when cooked. People from Asia and the Americas also enjoy termites as food, although on a smaller scale. Australian aborigines are known to eat termites too, but they never enjoyed it even when other food is scarce.
While crickets make a wonderful food source for pets like turtles, frogs, spiders, lizards, and even snakes, these insects are also edible for people. As mentioned earlier, the Bible permits certain species of insects for human consumption. The cricket is one of them. Countries like Cambodia, Thailand and Vietnam enjoy these bugs as snacks, usually deep-fried or roasted.
Different countries regard grasshoppers as a good source of protein and other vitamins and minerals. Mexicans like chapulines (a species indigeneous to the country), collecting them at dusk, placing them in water for 24 hours, and cooking them with other ingredients and spices. The Chinese serve the insects in skewers in many food markets, most notably the Donghuamen Night Market. Africans look to grasshoppers as an important food source, especially during famine. And in the Middle East, the bugs are boiled in hot salt water, sun-dried and enjoyed as snacks.
Locusts are one of the insect species permitted by biblical laws to be used for human consumption, along with crickets and grasshoppers. Even notable characters like John the Baptist maintain a strict diet of these bugs. Locusts are a good food source, especially during food scarcity (some of which are caused by the pests themselves).
Despite how it looks, these insects are actually not half bad once you get used to the taste and consistency. And it’s always good to try out new things! Just make sure you leave their inedible cousins to pest control.