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  1. 1. Entomophagy
  2. 2. What is Entomophagy • Entomophagy is the practice of eating insects for food. Entomophagy is found in many different taxonomic groups. There are many insects, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and mammals that benefit from eating insects (Wikipedia). • Aside from humans, chimpanzees, aardvarks, bears, moles, shrews, and bats are a few other mammals that eat insects. Insects that eat other insects are known as assassin bugs or ambush bugs (Bryant). • Entomophagy is the term used for people that eat insects. Even though it is generally looked down upon in the United States, many countries value insects for their nutritional value, as well as for their taste (Wikipedia). from the back left to the front: locusts, bamboo worms, moth chrysalis, crickets, scorpions, diving beetles and giant water beetles
  3. 3. History of Entomophagy • Eating insects has been going on in human culture for quite some time. Cave paintings have shown us that ancient civilizations ate insects. Caves in Altamira, Spain show people collecting wild bee nests (Wikipedia). • In the bible, Moses is recored saying that eating locust, crickets, and grasshoppers was acceptable under jewish laws (Roberts). It also mentions that John the Baptist survived for months in the desert living off locust and honey (Bryant). • The Greeks and Romans both ate insects. Records state that they ate locust and beetle larva. Ancient Greeks ate grasshoppers and cicadas. Aristotle wrote they tasted best between molts, and that females with eggs were very good. (II.G.15. Insects. Cambridge World History of Food). Some grubs were fattened with grain before eaten (Pope). • Native Americans ate insects as well. In the western United States, Native Americans collected the larva of the Pandora moth, grasshoppers, and Mormon crickets for food. Grasshoppers and crickets were roasted and ground together with pine nuts, grass seeds, and berries to make cakes which were sun dried and stored. Considered a delicacy by Native Americans and early European settles, these cakes were called “desert fruitcakes” (II.G.15. Insects. Cambridge World History of Food).
  4. 4. Nutritional Value of Entomophagy • A great number of the insects able to be eaten, contain large amounts of lysine. Lysine is an amino acid that is often missing in the diets of people in third world nations who eat a lot of grains and vegetables (An Acquired Taste). Many insects also have fairly high concentrations of tryptophan, another essential amino acid. Humans need to get both of these amino acids in their diets because their bodies can not make them (Raloff). • Insects are a good source of protein, vitamins, minerals and fats. Most insects are good sources of iron and zinc, and contain vitamins like thiamine and riboflavin. Crickets are a good source of calcium (Bryant). • Most lipids in bugs are long chain unsaturated fats, where typical livestock contains unhealthy saturated fats (Raloff).
  5. 5. • Termites, beetle grubs, and caterpillars are high in fat and calories. Most insects that people eat have a greater caloric value than beef, corn, wheat, and soybeans (An Acquired Taste). • Caterpillars, lean ground beef, and the fish cod have comparable levels of protein. The caterpillars are a better source of iron than the beef or fish. Caterpillars are also high in thiamine and niacin, which are vitamins B1 and B3 (Bryant).
  6. 6. Insect Protein (g) Fat (g) Carbohydrates (g) Calcium (mg) Iron (mg) giant water beetle 19.8 8.3 2.1 43.5 13.6 red ant 13.9 3.5 2.9 47.8 5.7 silk worm pupae 9.6 5.6 2.3 41.7 1.8 dung beetle 17.2 4.3 0.2 30.9 7.7 cricket 12.9 5.5 5.1 75.8 9.5 large grasshopper 20.6 6.1 3.9 35.2 5.0 small grasshopper 14.3 3.3 2.2 27.5 3.0 june beetle 13.4 1.4 29 22.6 6.0 caterpillar 28.2 n/a n/a n/a 35.5 termite 14.2 n/a n/a n/a 35.5 weevil 6.7 n/a n/a n/a 13.1 beef (lean ground) 27.4 n/a n/a n/a 3.5 fish (broiled cod) 28.5 n/a n/a n/a 1.0 Nutritional Value of Insects per 100 Grams
  7. 7. Why is Entomophagy Looked Down Upon in the United States • In America, people claim insects carry disease and are unsafe to eat. Insects can carry disease, but many people forget that animals are just as capable of carrying diseases (Raloff). • Insect eating may have a bad reputation in western culture because people think all insects are poisonous. Only a handful of insects are actually poisonous and entomophagists say to stay away from hairy, spiny, or brightly colored insects (An Acquired Taste). • Since eating insects was a large part of early hunting and gathering societies, it is possible people in the United States look at eating insects as primitive (MacEvilly). This taboo against eating insects held by the western culture could also come from the belief held by the european settlers that eating insects was a bad thing (Bryant).
  8. 8. • It is interesting that people in the United States eat lobsters, crabs, and shrimp, close relatives of spiders and insects, but want nothing to do with eating insects. Spiders, insects and lobsters are all classified as arthropods. This means jointed feet. European settlers originally classified the lobster as an insect and now it is a delicacy. These creatures of the sea are scavengers, eating mostly dead fish and debris. Insects eat mostly plants. Lobsters and crabs are much dirtier than most insects (Bryant). cricket lobster, which looks a lot like an insect
  9. 9. Disadvantages of Entomophagy • One concern with eating insects is the current use of pesticides. Since insects eat plants, pesticides and herbicides can build up inside the insects through bioaccumulation. This happens when the insects eat sprayed plants. This means wild insects would not be edible in areas where any type of chemical spraying is going on (Wikipedia). • Another concern with eating insects is the possibility of people having allergic reactions. People with nut or shellfish allergies should avoid eating insects because they have been known to trigger reactions (MacEvilly).
  10. 10. Just because we do not knowingly eat bugs in the United States, that does not mean we are not eating bugs... In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration does not have laws prohibiting insects or insect parts in food for human consumption. Instead there are laws stating the maximum acceptable amount of insects and insect parts allowed in foods (An Acquired Taste). In fact, the United States Food and Drug Administration does not have laws prohibiting insects or insect parts in food for human consumption. Instead there are laws stating the maximum acceptable amount of insects and insect parts allowed in foods (An Acquired Taste).
  11. 11. Product Type of Insect Contamination Maximum Permissible Level of Insect Contamination Canned sweet corn Insect larvae (corn ear worms or corn borers) 2 or more 3 mm or longer larvae, cast skins, larval or cast skin fragments, the aggregate length of insects or insect parts exceeds 12 mm in 24 pounds Canned citrus juices Insects and insect eggs 5 or more Drosophila and other fly eggs per 250 ml or 1 or more maggots per 250 ml Wheat flour Insect filth Average of 150 or more insect fragments per 100 grams Frozen broccoli Insects and mites Average of 60 or more aphids and/or thrips and/or mites per 100 grams Hops Insects Average of more than 2,500 aphids per 10 grams Ground thyme Insect filth Average of 925 or more insect fragments per 10 grams Ground nutmeg Insect filth Average of 100 or more insect fragments per 10 grams United States Food and Drug Administrations policy on the maximum permissible levels of insect contamination in food products for human consumption (Wikipedia) chart (Wikipedia)
  12. 12. Bugs We Already Eat • Insects have been used in foods we eat for quite some time with very few people even knowing about it (Youso). • The dried and crushed bodies of the female cochineal insect are used to add color to foods (Youso). • This red, pink, and purple color is used to color ice cream, yogurts, fruit juices, candies and more (Youso). cochineal insects on prickly pear
  13. 13. • The shellac insect, which is in the same family as the cochineal insect secretes a substance called lac. This lac protects the eggs until they hatch and then it is harvested. Used in food products it is called confectioner's glaze, resinous glaze, pure food glaze and natural glaze. This product is used in many candies to make them shiny and keep them from sticking together (Youso). • It’s also used to make fruit, such as apples, shiny again once it has been cleaned (Youso). These candies contain insect ingredients. Nerds contain carmine, the dye made from the cochineal insect. Good & Plenty contain carmine and shellac. The last example contains shellac.the nymph stage of the shellac insect
  14. 14. • Honey is made from bees collecting nectar and storing it in their bodies, in a special area called a honey stomach. Its kept here until the bee goes back to the hive. Back at the hive the nectar is regurgitated into the mouth of hive bees. The hive bees then partially digest the nectar with enzymes and by vomiting it back and forth between other hive bees. These enzymes break down complex sugars giving honey the ability to last a long time. Lastly the nectar is vomited into a honey comb when it becomes to thick to spoil. Here it finishes drying out with the help of the bees beating wings (Gang). • Honey is an insect product that many people use, but few know more about it other than that it comes from honey bees. Honey
  15. 15. Entomophagy is Good for the Environment • Raising insects for food is beneficial to the environment because they need less land and less resources than traditional livestock such as chicken, pigs, and cows. Insects don’t need grain grown to feed them, like cows and pigs do. They also require much less resources. Very little water is needed to produce 1/3 of a pound (150g) of grasshoppers compared to the 869 gallons needed to produce the same amount of beef (Glausiusz). • Insects are cold blooded so they don’t need to use energy to maintain a constant body temperature like warm blooded animals (Wikipedia). This allows more of the food they eat to be used for building edible body parts (Walsh). • Insects can also eat a wide variety of plants that typical farm animals will not. Insects can eat cacti, bamboo shoots, mesquite and woody scrub brush. These plants are useless in raising traditional meat animals (Raloff). • Insects can be raised sustainably. Entomologists along with agricultural extension agents at Khon Kaen University in Thailand developed low cost cricket farming techniques and offered training to local residents. Currently 15,000 families around Thailand raise crickets (Raloff).
  16. 16. Insects as Mini-Livestock • Insects are also able to be raised in small environments which means more land could be put to better use instead of just raising animals on it. Besides this, insects have a higher food conversion efficiency compared to most other sources of meat. This is measured as efficiency of conversion of ingested food, or ECI (Wikipedia). • Silk worms ECI ranges from 19 to 31, compared to beef cattle which have an ECI of 10 (Wikipedia). • Mini-livestock refers to the raising of small animals as food, and this includes insects. The idea behind this is what insects eat. They do not need to eat grains, so that allows more grain for human consumption (Wikipedia). A report released by the United Nations in 2006 reported that livestock production was responsible for 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. This was more than what was produced by transportation world wide (Glausiusz). silk worms: the all white trays are hungry, and the green trays have just been fed. silk worms in the pupa stage where they are harvested to eat and the cocoon is used to make silk
  17. 17. • Insects generally have an energy input to protein output ration of 4:1, compared to normal livestock with a ration of 54:1 (Wikipedia). • Insects also reproduce much quicker than animals. A female cricket can lay between 1,200 and 1,500 in a three to four week period. The eggs hatch in about two weeks, and the cricket will be full grown in about six more (Wikipedia). a cricket farm • Crickets, ants, grasshoppers and giant water bugs are a few insects farmed in Thailand (Raloff). Scorpions are also raised on farms for human consumption and medicinal uses.
  18. 18. Types of Insects Eaten • There are approximately 1,417 species of insects that can be eaten. Some insects are eaten in their adult form. Many are eaten while in the larva stage, such as palm grubs, and in the pupa stage, like wasp pupa (Bryant). • There are an estimated 234 species of butterflies and moths eaten, as well as 344 species of edible beetles, and 314 species of wasps, ants, and bees that people can eat. There are 239 species of grasshoppers, crickets and cockroaches eaten, as well as other insects (Wikipedia). silk worm pupa fried giant water bug
  19. 19. • Other insects eaten include termites, cicadas, dragonflies, and stick insects. Butterflies and moths are mostly eaten in the larva stage (II.G.15. Insects." Cambridge World History of Food). • In some countries scorpions and spiders, such as tarantulas, are eaten. Spiders and scorpions are not insects, but they are related to insects because they all belong to a bigger group called arthropods (Bryant). fried spiders fried scorpions
  20. 20. Entomophagy Around the World
  21. 21. Insects Eaten in Central and South America • In colombia the giant queen ants of the genus Atta are considered a delicacy. Palm grubs and caterpillars are also eaten ( II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). chapulines or fried grasshoppers maguey worms, ant larva, and fried grasshoppers • In Mexico an estimated 1,700 species of insects are eaten. A popular dish is the maguey worm, which is actually the larva a butterfly (Raloff). Seasoned grasshoppers are eaten called Chapulines (Glausiusz). Other species of insects eaten include crickets, cicadas, ants, flies, bees, and wasps (II.G.15. Insects. Cambridge World History of Food).
  22. 22. Insects Eaten in Asia • The giant water beetle is a favorite in Thailand and Laos. The water beetle is said to taste like gorgonzola cheese (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). It is eaten roasted, whole, and ground into a paste for making sauces (Bryant). • Some insects eaten in asia include grasshoppers, crickets, silk worm pupa, dragonflies, termites, and beetles (II.G.15. Insects World History of Food). Crickets are often cooked in with rice, and sometimes dry roasted for snacks. Larvae are eaten in soups, stews, and stir fried meals (Bryant). crickets on a stick giant water beetles
  23. 23. • In northern Thailand, bee brood is prepared to eat by wrapping the entire honeycomb in banana leaves and steaming it. At least five species of bees and wasp larva are eaten (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). In fact the demand for bees and wasps is greater than any other insect. This is due to the high demand in countries like China and Japan. Here wasps are often eaten raw or with boiled rice and they are sold in department stores in glass jars (MacEvilly). dinner containing wasp larva and young wasps
  24. 24. Insects Eaten in Africa • Caterpillars are a popular snack in Africa. The mopane worm, which is actually a caterpillar, is eaten fried, dried, stewed in tomatoes, and even raw. Some rural Africans even prefer these caterpillars to meat (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). • A large number of people in Africa eat insects. In the late 1980s a survey showed that 69% of Africans ate caterpillars or lived in a house where someone ate them (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). More recently a UN study showed that 85% of participants in the Central African Republic ate Caterpillars. 70% of participants in the Congo and 91% in Botswana eat caterpillars (Kloosterman). cooked mopane worms dinner of mopane worms
  25. 25. • Locusts are also eaten. Female locusts are preferred to males. They are high in protein and fat, and a soup is made from the eggs (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). termites to be cooked, then eaten • Termites are eaten during the beginning of the rainy season. The reproductive forms fly in swarms and are easily collected. Its interesting to note that termites were so valued as food at one time, that their mounds were fought over. Local people learned when these swarms would fly from the mound and began covering the mounds to collect the termites. Termites are high in fat, protein, and lysine. People eat them roasted, raw, and fried (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). • Palm grubs are consumed in Africa and sometimes they are raised for the purpose of eating them. Palm grubs are eaten fried, stewed, grilled and occasionally boiled inside of coconuts (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food).
  26. 26. Insects Eaten in the Pacific Islands • In Papua New Guinea, palm grubs are eaten wrapped in banana leaves and roasted (Roberts). Three species of palm grubs are eaten regularly (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). • In New Guinea they eat eat grasshoppers, crickets, two species of stick insects, and two species of mantids. They also eat the female of a species of locust (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). • Termites are also eaten. The sexual winged forms are preferred which are higher in fat content. Macrotermes is the predominant species eaten, and they are caught when they fly into fires, burning their wings (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). termitepalm grubs
  27. 27. Insects Eaten in Australia • Australian Aborigines eat honey pot ants. These ants are called black honey ants. The worker ants body swells to the size of a grape and is filled with nectar. Digging up these ants is a traditional practice still taught to children (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). • Witchety grubs, which are the larva of moths, are a popular food in Australia. They eat these grubs raw and cooked. When cooked they are said to taste like roasted almonds (Bryant). • Entrepreneurs in Australia have started introducing insects to the commercial food market. Honey ants, witchetty grubs which are the larvae of the cossid moth, bardi grubs which are the larvae of the cerambycid beetle, and trigona bees are all considered delicacies in Australia. Many of the resturants in Australia have insects listed on their menus (II.G.15. Insects Cambridge World History of Food). witchetty grubs honey pot ants
  28. 28. The Future of Entomophagy • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is looking at insects as a food source for the future. A report by Paul Vantomme called insects “the forgotten food crop.” In areas of the world with large populations of poor and disadvantaged people, entomophagy is being encouraged (Roberts). • Eating insects is very sustainable and healthy for the environment since raising them does not require large amounts of land or other resources (Roberts). • Dutch scientists are using biotechnology to produce large quantities of insect cells in containers. These cells are being looked at as a possible source of protein that could be added to breads or molded into “pseudo- burgers” (Raloff). Bug Hors d’oeuvres
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