grasshopper on soybean

In my last post I discussed several recipes for cicadas, those noisy little creatures that crawl out of the ground every 17 years or so. Apparently I’m not the only one interested in eating bugs, the United Nations thinks we should all partake in food of the crawly kind.

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In an effort to fight hunger, global warming and pollution, the U.N. is promoting insects as low-fat, high-protein food for livestock, pets and people.

The organization recently released a report, “Edible insects- Future prospects for food and feed security,” which outlines the benefits of consuming insects as well as the economics of turning bugs into cash crops.

Bugs as meals, oh the possibilities

According to the report, there are more than 1,900 edible insect species consumed around the world.  In case you were wondering, the most commonly consumed insects are beetles and caterpillars. Ants, grasshoppers, locusts and crickets also make the list of edible creepy crawlers. Bees also appear on the list, but many hives are suffering from Colony Collapse Disorder, we’d probably be better off just leaving the bees alone, for now.

Insect farming?

Yes, many of the insects consumed around the world are harvested in the wild, but humans have been farming insects for many years– bees and silkworms come to mind. We also farm things like crickets for fish bait or pet feed. So, where does human consumption come into play?

According to the report, Thailand farms crickets for food. Farmers often raise the crickets in backyard sheds.

Research is still being conducted on rearing insects on a large scale. One study, conducted in the Netherlands, suggests that production of mealworms is still 4.8 times more expensive than producing normal chicken feed.

Would you rear insects for food?

Let’s assume the cost of rearing insects lowers to a comparable price to raising other types of protein. Would you take the step towards insect farming? What do you think of cultures who regularly consume insects? Do you think the U.N. is just being ridiculous? Let me know!

 

Will is Farm and Dairy's newest writer. He's recently moved to Lisbon, Ohio where he lives in a church turned community theater. He enjoys writing (of course), theater and hiking.
Will Flannigan
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