Bugs are considered by many a superfood, as pound for pound bugs contain more protein than beef. The problem is that most people are disgusted with the idea of eating bugs, but sooner or later as the world’s population grows we will probably start considering bugs as a staple food. If you think you would never eat bugs you might want to look at the FDA’s regulation when it comes to food, as most food items do contain a small percentage of bugs and even eggs.
The bugs you can eat are cockroaches, weevils, crickets, ants, beetles, termites, scorpions, silkworms, lice, snails, grubs, bees, wasps, mealworms, flies, stink bugs, water bugs, potato bugs, water boatman, maggots, woodlice, earthworms, earwigs, aphids, dragonflies and tarantulas.
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During an SHTF situation, you might be forced to eat things which you could never imagine, such as grass, dirt and even bugs. People who are on the brink of starvation will literally eat anything, although eating bugs might actually save your life one day. Most people are disgusted by the idea of eating bugs, on the other hand, there are people who eat edible bugs as some of them are considered superfoods.
Pound for pound, bugs have more protein and carbohydrates than beef, but the “packaging” is so disgusting that most people will avoid eating bugs at any cost. Although you can eat almost any bug, the problem is that a lot of them will carry harmful parasites and bacteria which in a survival situation could be extremely dangerous. Some cultures, mostly in Asia, do eat bugs however they usually cook them beforehand in order to kill off the parasites and harmful bacteria.
So what countries eat bugs? Countries that eat bugs are Cameroon, Uganda, China, Zambia, India, Zimbabwe, and even Indonesia. Eating bugs can mean the difference between life and death in a survival situation, but you will have to get over your grossness to eat them. There have been numerous cases of people dying of starvation when they could have eaten bugs in order to survive but simply couldn’t make themselves to eat them.
One of the most common bugs which you might find around your home are cockroaches. There are a lot of different types of cockroaches, including one that actually makes milk, this is called cockroach milk and it is considered a superfood by scientists, for more information, check out my recent article Can you eat cockroaches? ( WTF is cockroach Milk? ).
When you think of edible bugs for humans you probably think of crickets or something similar and not of cockroaches. Although if you have read my above-mentioned article then you already know that cockroaches are safe to eat if you cook them. According to scientists, in case of a nuclear war, cockroaches will most likely survive as they can survive the radiation made from the nuclear blasts.
So if you are reading this after a nuclear war, then you are already munching down some delicious deep-fried cockroaches. Jokes aside, cockroaches have a lot of protein and amino acids, although eating them raw isn’t recommended as they tend to carry disease.
If you have ever opened up an old pack of flour then you have probably noticed some small bugs in the flour, these are weevils and they are safe to eat, for more information check out my recent article Weevils in flour safe to eat? ( How to get rid of weevils ).
Some cultures consider crickets as a delicacy, there are several types of cricket and most of them are edible, even the ones which you find in your back garden. You can deep fry crickets or dry fry them in order to eat them safely, some people choose to dehydrate them but this comes with some dangers as the parasites and harmful bacteria can survive in the dehydrated crickets for months on end.
If you are planning to eat crickets, then make sure to chop off the wings and their legs before consuming it, these tend to have small barbs which will irritate your throat and stomach.
Ants have colonized the world you can basically find them anywhere except in colder climates. Ants are good for eating, but the problem is mainly their size, you will need to catch a lot of ants in order to get satiated. Some ants do have toxic properties, which they will use in order to defend themselves, although these types of ants are mostly found in the Amazon rainforest.
Beetles have the ability to digest cellulose which is found in trees, they will convert the cellulose into protein, glucose, and fat. Beetles have been used as a source for food for thousands of years already, most cultures hoe at beetles are found in Africa and in South America.
When you think of termites, you probably do not think of food, however, termites are an excellent source of protein, macronutrients and they also contain plenty of zinc and iron which the human body needs. Termites are similar to beetles, as they also digest cellulose, some people think of termites of beeing white ants although there are closer relatives to cockroaches than to ants.
Scorpions can be a fairly dangerous food to eat, however, if you remove the stinger and cook it well you can eat them safely. Some people will actually eat the scorpions with the stinger intact, as with the cooking process the poison will get neutralized, although if it is your first time eating scorpions you should probably play it safe and remove the stinger.
Silkworms have very high protein content, they have bee used to make silk and in some cultures they even eat them, mostly deep-frying them in oil before consuming.
You have probably seen monkeys eating lice off each other and eating the lice. Scientists agree that at one point during our evolution we had a similar behavior also, some people even today might find themselves eating the lice when they are removing lice from their children without even realizing what they are actually doing. Although eating lice doesn’t seem like a good meal, but if your only other option is to eat grass then eating lice is definitely better than eating grass, if you want to know if you can eat grass, then check out my recent article Can you eat grass to survive? ( Not so Fast ! ).
If you go on for a walk outside in the morning you will find plenty of snails, now you probably won’t think of breakfast while looking at snails although they do have a lot of carbs and protein. Some countries even consider snails as being a delicacy like in France where they often eat escargot. I had the fortune to eat escargot a couple of years ago, what I can say that it is fairly tasteless, although if you pick some snails from your back garden and boil them then you will probably find that they taste awful.
Grubs are the larvae of beetles, there are hundreds of types of grubs and all of them are good for eating. Some cultures consider them as a delicacy, deep frying them, they might look disgusting but pound for pound they have more protein than beef. In a survival situation, the best place to find grubs is in rotting logs, generally speaking, the bigger the rotting log is the ore grubs you will find. Some people will eat these grubs raw and uncooked, although it isn’t the best idea as they may contain dangerous parasites and bacteria.
One of the dangers of eating insects like bees is that you might have an anaphylactic reaction to them, although this is fairly easily treatable in a hospital, but in a survival situation the last thing you would want is to have a swollen head and throat which might actually kill you. Cultures who often consume bees do not actually eat the bees, rather they consume the larvae of the bees, they are fairly similar to beetle larvae as they have a lot of protein.
Wasps are one of the edible insects for humans, although if you have ever seen a full-sized adult wasp than the last thing you would think is to eat it. Wasps can sting several times unlike bees, and their stinger is fairly large, people who eat wasps actually consume either the very young wasps which do not have a stinger or they consume the wasp larvae.
If you have an exotic pet than you are probably feeding them with mealworms. These worms are bread to be food for small pets, although humans can also consume them. Some people will eat them raw, while others will make tortillas with them like in Mexico.
In the case of a major SHTF scenario, flies will be abundant as they will have plenty of food and plenty of rotten animals where they can lay their eggs. Some cultures in Africa do consume flies regularly although they do not eat any kind of flies. The problem with eating flies is that they often do carry diseases as they will come in contact with rotting flesh fairly often as they are laying their eggs inside them.
The last thing which you would probably want to eat is a stink bug, although they do contain a lot of protein and some minerals like iron and magnesium. They are mainly consumed in South Africa and before they consume it they put the stink bugs into hot water, as this will make them release their toxins which they use as a defensive mechanism.
You can find water bugs almost all over the world, now you might think that these are fairly small and hard to catch which is true but in a survival situation it might end up saving your life. In Thailand, there are a giant water bug species, which is often eaten raw.
If you are growing potatoes you probably know everything about potato bugs, but mainly how to kill them as they will destroy the potatoes. Although not the most nutritious bugs on this list they do contain plenty of proteins, and if you combine them with potatoes you might even find them tasty. Just be careful as most potato bugs will contain dangerous chemicals from pesticides.
Water boatmen are aquatic bugs and you can find them both in freshwater and saltwater. The actual bug is not the best for eating, but their eggs are very nutritious. Water boatmen will lay their eggs on plants which makes them fairly easy to collect.
Maggots are the larvae of flies, and they can mostly be found in rotting flesh. Flies will put their eggs on the rotting flesh and once they hatch the maggots have a good supply of rotting flesh to consume. These maggots can be consumed raw or deep-fried, although you should always deep fry them if you pick them from some rotting animal as they might carry dangerous diseases
Woodlice are not actually insects as they are more closely related to shrimps ad other crustacea, this is why you probably heard some people call them land shrimp. Woodlice are considered a pest by many people, although if you are wondering can you eat woodlice, then the answer is yes, and you might even find that they do taste like shrimp.
Although not an insect, but I thought I will add earthworms to this list as many people consider them as being bugs. If you have a shovel just dig down and sooner or later you will find a couple of earthworms.
Earwigs can be found in your garden, usually, they tend to favor darker places, so if you have some pots or boulders, just lift them up and you will find lots of them. They have a massive pincher at their end, although they do not have any venom and are considered safe to eat even raw.
Aphids are fairly small bugs, and you can find them on leaves. Although they are god to eat, but the problem si that you will need thousands of them to feel satiated.
At the early stage of their lives, dragonflies will be living in the water, after which they pupate into full-grown adults and start their life above the water. Dragonflies are good to eat, no matter if you catch them while they are living underwater or they are already flying.
Most tarantulas are poisonous, but you can still eat them. In Cambodia, tarantulas are considered delicacy although they are not eaten raw. It is vital that you clean the tarantula from all the hard and the fangs before you start cooking them, as even after death the toxins in the venom glands could be dangerous.
As you can see there are plenty of bugs which you can eat, although if you are going to eat some bugs make sure to get some edible bugs and not to eat bugs which you find in your garden, as oftentimes these will contain dangerous chemicals like pesticides even if you do not use pesticides in your garden.