Historically speaking, the idea of eating insects dates back thousands of years. Although the practice is least common in Europe, Canada, and the United States, the eating of insects is commonplace throughout much of the rest of the world, particularly in Africa and parts of Asia and South America.
Congo is home to a rich diversity of edible insects, chief of which are locusts, grasshoppers, crickets ants, and beetles. Scientists have long posed insects as a staple food for both domesticated animals and in the diets of humans. The stance for some populations throughout the world is that insects are either a novel and unproved food option, or it is just downright "creepy" and "weird" t eat them.
Entomophagy, the practice of eating bugs and adding them to your diet, is a well-known and established principle. Many edible insects are harvested from the wild, and little effort is put into mass production and farming techniques for this resource. Bugs have a very high protein content and the world's nutrition could be improved with sustainable farming practices for entomophagy. People in the Democratic Republic of Congo have never viewed eating bugs and insects as radical, but rather, as a normal part of life. Given their nutritional value, insects are often sought out for their ease of collection relative to feeding potential.
Nigeria is considered one of the poorest countries in all of Africa, and even the world. As such, it is also one of the most populous countries in Africa, where there is a huge discrepancy in wealth between the poor and rich classes. This has had a huge impact on the cuisine and practices of the Nigerian people, who combine necessity with tradition. It is not uncommon for crickets, grasshoppers, termites, and mopane worms to be eaten raw out of necessity, but they are often turned into a delectable dish.
For example, locusts are a staple throughout the world, especially in Nigeria. They are high in protein, and are often served fried in various types of oil, and dried to be eaten as a snack. Locusts are notorious for the destruction of crops, which is a huge problem for the mainly agrarian economy of Nigeria. By eating and preparing locusts, they are not only adding more protein to their diets but helping to promote an industry that defends the production capabilities of locust-sensitive crops in an already arid environment.
South Africa has a long and rich history as one of the most culturally diverse places in Africa. The temperature does not get as extreme as in other countries on the continent, and it receives a lot of tourism from the global economy. On top of African influence, it has had Dutch and English influence throughout the centuries, especially in the colonial era. South Africa enjoys a diverse range in its cuisine, which includes, but is not limited to, bugs and insects.
Mopane worms, which are delicacies in Nigeria, are native to South Africa. They are black worms that are considered very high sources of protein and can be fried, roasted, and dried before consumption.
List of Insects
|Australia||Agrotis infusa (Bogong moth) | Bush coconut (insect gall) | Honeypot ant (ant) | Hyles livornicoides (Yeperenye caterpillar) | Witchetty grub (grub)|
|Belgium||Acheta domesticus (cricket) | Achroia grisella (moth caterpillar) | Alphitobius diaperinus (mealworm) | Alphitobius laevigatua (mealworm) | Bombyx mori (silkmoth pupa) | Galleria mellonella (moth caterpillar) | Gryllodes sigillatus (cricket) | Gryllus assimilis (cricket) | Locusta migratoria (locust) | Schistocerca americana (locust) | Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) | Zophobas atratus (beetle larva)|
|Brazil||Atta spp. (ants)|
|Burkina Faso||Cirina butyrospermi (shea caterpillar)|
|China||Bombyx mori (silkworm pupa) | Omphisa fuscidentalis (bamboo borer) | Polistes sagittarius (wasp) | Provespa barthelemyi (wasp) | Tenebrio molitor (mealworm) | Vespa analis nigrans (wasp) | Vespa basalis (wasp) | Vespa bicolor (wasp) | Vespa magnifica (wasp) | Vespa mandarinia (wasp) | Vespa sorror (wasp) | Vespa tropica ducalis (wasp) | Vespa variabilis (wasp) | Vespa velutinia auraria (wasp)|
|Ghana||Field crickets (crickets) | Ground crickets (crickets) | House crickets (crickets) Termites (termites) ||
|India||Darthula hardwickii (treehopper) | Udonga montana (bug)|
|Indonesia||Brachytrupes portentosus (cricket) | Chalcosoma atlas (beetle) | Hyblaea puera (teak caterpillar; known as enthung jati in Javanese) (caterpillar) | Pantala flavescens (dragonfly) | Patanga succincta (grasshopper) | Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (red palm weevil) (beetle) | Valanga nigricornis (grasshopper) | Xylocopa latipes (bee)|
|Japan||Bee Larvae | Crickets | Grasshoppers | Locusts ||
|Laos||Acheta domesticus (house cricket) | Apis spp. (bees) | Bombyx mori (silkworm) | Brachytrupes portentosus (cricket) | Caelifera sp. (grasshopper) | Gryllotalpa africana (mole cricket) | Helicopris bucephalus (dung beetle) | Hierodula sp. (praying mantis) | Hydrophilus affinis (water beetle) | Lethocerus indicus (giant water bug) | Oecophylla smaragdina (weaver ant) | Omphisa fuscidentalis (moth) | Orientopsaltria sp. (cicada) | Teleogryllus testaceus (cricket) | Tessaratoma quadrata (stink bug) | Vespa spp. (wasps) | Xylotrupes gideon (rhinoceros beetle)|
|Madagascar||Acheta domesticus (cricket) | Amphimallon solstitiale (beetle) | Bombyx mori (moth) | Borocera cajani (silk moth) | Borocera madagascariensis (silk moth) | Bricoptis variolosa (beetle) | Gryllus bimaculatus (cricket) | Hexodon unicolor (beetle) | Locusta migratoria (locust) | Phyllophaga sp. (beetle) | Rhynchophorus sp. (beetle) | Rina nigra (weevil) | Scarites sp. (beetle) | Serica sp. (beetle) | Tenebrio molitor (beetle)|
|Malaysia||Apis cerana (eastern honey bee) | Apis dorsata (giant honey bee) | Camponotus gigas (giant forest ant) | Dundubia spp. (light green cicadas) | Erionata thrax (banana leaf-roller pupa) | Haaniella grayi grayi (stick insect eggs) | Leptocorisa oratoria (rice ear bug) | Nezara viridula (green stinkbug) | Orientopsaltria spp. (brown and green cicadas) | Oecophylla smaragdina (weaver ant) | Rhynchophorus ferrugineus (palm weevil) | Ropalidia spp. (paper wasps)|
|Mali||Acorypha glaucopsis (grasshopper) | Hieroglyphus daganensis (grasshopper) | Kraussaria angulifera (grasshopper) | Kraussella amabile (grasshopper) ||
|Mexico||Aegiale hesperiaris (maguey worm) | Atta mexicana (ant) | Comadia redtenbacheri (mezcal worm) | Dactylopius coccus (scale insect - females used as red food dye) Eucheira socialis (madrone butterfly) | Liometopum apiculatum larvae (escamol) | Several Choleoptera larvae (chahuis) | Sphenarium spp. (chapulines) ||
|Netherlands||Locusta migratoria (grasshopper)|
|New Caledonia||Agrianome fairmairei (beetle)|
|Peru||Acrocinus longimanus (beetle) | Agelaia pallipes (wasp) | Arsenura armida (Bolasho, Bolayna awiwa) (moth) | Atta cephalotes (ant) | Atta sexdens (ant) | Brassolis astyra (butterfly) | Brassolis sophorae (butterfly) | Cephalotes atratus (ant) | Chloridea virescens (moth) | Chrysophora chrysochlora (butterfly) | Crematogaster sordidula (ant) | Crematogaster stollii (ant) | Cyphomyia auriflamma (fly) | Dynastes hercules (beetle) | Euchroma gigantea (Intimaman) (beetle) | Eupalamides cyparissias (butterfly) | Helicoverpa zea (moth) | Lusura chera (moth) | Macrodontia cervicornis (beetle) | Megaceras crassum (beetle) | Metardaris cosinga (butterfly) | Metamasius hemipterus (weevil) | Mischocyttaru spp. (bee) | Mocis latipes (Vareador) (moth) | Platycoelia lutescens (beetle) | Polybia furnaria (wasp) | Polybia platycephala (wasp) | Rhynchophorus palmarum (weevil) | Rhinostomus barbirostris (beetle) | Strategus jugurtha (beetle)|
|Philippines||Apis dorsata (giant honey bee) | Apis cerana (eastern Honey bee) | Camponotus spp. (carpenter ants) | Gryllotalpa sp. (mole cricket) | Leucopolis irrorata (beetle larvae) | Locusta migratoria manilensis (grasshopper) | Palembus dermestoides (beetle) | Trigona biroi (stingless bee)|
|South Africa||Encosternum delegorguei (inflated stinkbug) | Gonimbrasia belina (mopane worm)|
|South Korea||Bombyx mori (silkworm pupa)|
|Thailand||Acheta domestica (house cricket) | Bombyx mori (silkworm pupa) | Brachytrupes portentosus (short-tailed cricket) | Gryllus bimaculatus (Mediterranean field cricket) | Lethocerus indicus (giant water bug) Oecophylla smaragdina (weaver ant) | Omphisa fuscidentalis (bamboo borer) ||
|United States||Black soldier fly larvae | Crickets | Mealworms ||
Eating bugs isn't as popular in Europe, Canada, and the US as it is in other parts of the world, such as the Democratic Republic of Congo, Nigeria, and South Africa.