Eating insects : more than 2 Billion people are already doing it, but what
Eating insects, it’s not a secret anymore, we’re all doing it. But let’s focus more on the insects for today. What are they feeding on?
As a beginning, the dietary regimen of insects is really diversified. With more than 1 Million species, that the least you could expect. In your garden, insects can feed on leaves, flowers, roots, fruits or other insects. For having more clues about what an insect feed on, we can take a look at their mouthparts.
Insects with mandibles can have “chewing and biting” mouthparts. It was the first type of mouthparts that insects developed. Different insect orders have this kind of mouthparts. For example, grasshoppers feed on grass, beetles can feed on roots, stems and other insects.
Some other insects with mandibles have developed a more elaborated version. Their mouthparts are “chewing and lapping type”. Those are the bees and wasps where the mouths open and allow them to lick nectar but also to chew some feed material.
One more advanced mouthpart type is the “Piercing and Sucking” type. Those kind of insects are not the ones we appreciate the most… With this elaborated mouthparts insects can eat various liquid food such as plant sap or our blood. The species are mainly from the Hemipteran order and Dipteran. Hemipteran are all the true bugs and dipteran are the mosquitoes and midges.
The last mouthpart type is also an advanced one. It is called the “Sponging type”. Shortly explained, do you see what flies are doing with their mouth when they land on food? That’s it! They absorb liquid food with their “vacuum”.
Eating insects : Yes, but no one the ones from your garden !
Eating insects from your backyard is not the best idea! For insects, it’s like mushrooms, if you don’t what it is, we don’t touch! You can not know if they are edible or not.
As a general rule, The Bug Chef one of the pioneers of insect cuisine stated that :
“Red, orange, or yellow – forgo this small fellow. Black, green or brown – go ahead and toss him down”
We take more precautions and say that you shouldn’t eat insects from nature. Among the 1 Million species of insects, 2000 species have been recorded as edible.
Secondly, as you didn’t raise them directly, you have no idea of what they could have been exposed to. They can have eaten pesticides directly or indirectly, heavy metals or other chemicals. And this is not the kind of compounds you want to have on your plate!
Better to eat identified well raised and well-fed insects !