Bugs you can eat, from A to Z!
Agave worm: Also known as the maguey worm, these larvae of either the Hypopta agavis moth or the Aegiale hesperiaris are sometimes included in tequila bottles as proof of authenticity and alcohol content (tequila must be of high enough proof to preserve the worm). In Mexico, they are also eaten as part of a meal, and are highly nutritious.
Ant: there are several varieties of ants that are eaten: Carpenter ants, leaf-cutter ants, honeypot ants, and even lemon ants.
Honeypot ants have abdomens swollen with a nectar-like substance, which is used to feed other ants, sort of like a “living larder.” An excellent “bush food,” they are dug up from the ground and eaten raw by aboriginal peoples in Australia.
Leafcutter ants, also known as Hormigas Culonas in Spanish (which means big-butted ant) are eaten mainly in South America. They are said to taste like a cross between bacon and pistachio, and are usually eaten toasted. In Columbia, they are sold like popcorn at movie theaters. (image via Bugman on http://www.whatsthatbug.com)
Lemon ants are found in the Amazon jungle and are said to taste like just that: lemons. (Image via http://www.learnsomethingnewtoday.us)
Bamboo worm: Often eaten fried in Thailand, they are the larvae of the Grass Moth, and eat their way through bamboo before metamorphosing. (Image via Changmai News)
Bee: Bee larvae, especially, are prized in many cultures as tasty morsels. Think about it, all they eat is royal jelly, pollen, and honey! Adult bees may also be eaten, often roasted (roast bee!) and then ground into a nutritious flour. (Image via http://www.weirdmeat.com).
Cicada: Periodical cicadas, primarily found in the Eastern US, live underground for 17 years before emerging and molting into adults. Just after they molt, they have soft, juicy bodies, and are said to be very tender and delicious. Different species of cicada are also eaten in many Asian countries, such as Japan, Thailand, and Malaysia.
Cockroach: Yes, you can eat cockroaches! Just not the ones you find around your house. Contrary to popular belief, cockroaches can actually be very clean and tasty insects, especially if they are fed on fresh fruits and vegetables. They can be eaten toasted, fried, sauteed… Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches are said to have a “creamy” taste and texture.
Cricket: eaten fried, sauteed, boiled, and roasted, these are amongst the most common insects eaten. Eaten in Mexico, Thailand.
Dung Beetle: despite their name, dung beetles are actually very tasty insects when roasted or fried. They are often eaten in Thailand.
Earthworm: Earthworms are known to be high in protein and iron, and are eaten by various peoples such as the native Yekuana of Venezuela.
Fly pupae: the fatty acid pattern of house fly pupae (Musca domestica L.) has been found to be similar to that of some fish oils. Shaped like small red pills, the “flavor is rich with a hint of iron, sort of like blood pudding,” says David Gracer of Small Stock Foods. (image via http://www.smallstockfoods.com)
Flying Ant: Also known as Sompopos, the flying queens are collected in Guatemala and roasted on a comal with salt and lime juice. They are said to taste something like buttery pork rinds. Because of their territorial nature, flying ant queens are sometimes pitted against each other, cock-fight style. (image viaantiguadailyphoto.com)
Hornworm: Fanny Flagg, author of Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe, says that Tomato Hornworms can be fried up much the same as the fruit of the plant on which they feed. They are said to taste like green tomatoes and crab. (via The Eat A Bug Cookbook)
June bug: June bugs (Phyllophaga) can be eaten at both the larval and adult stage. Native Americans roasted them over coals and ate them like popcorn. (Image via slice.seriouseats.com)
Mealworm: Mealworms are found wherever there is, well, meal! They are the larva of the mealworm beetle.
Midge fly: in East Africa, these are pressed into solid blocks and cooked into Kunga Cake. (Image via Haraprasan)