Could You, Would You, Should You Eat Bugs In A Survival Situation?

Girl Eating Spider!
Girl Eating Spider!

So there I was, standing in the bathroom staring at a near dead moth wondering what it would taste like.

The thought quickly passed as I scooped it up and tossed it outside but for a moment, a mere moment, mind you… I pondered it.

Now, I know eating a tiny moth would be nothing like the photo of this girl supposedly eating a giant spider–that can’t be real, can it–but to me anything that creeps, crawls, or flies like an insect is in my general classification of “bugs” and are certainly not something I would consider eating EXCEPT for that pesky “what if I had to eat it” survival situation conundrum.

I’m sure you’ve thought about at one point in time, especially if you’ve been into this survival thing for any length of time.

As I’m sure you’re well aware eating insects is a big part of many people’s diets and, in fact, are delicacies in some parts of the world. Personally, I’d always assumed people outside the USA ate bugs because they had to which is apparently not always the case.

Should You Eat Bugs?

It seems that eating insects makes sense. Pound for pound most insects (depending on the bug, of course) are more full of protein than any other food source and sometimes vital fats too.

Crickets are often touted as the “go to” bug to eat but there are no doubt others, including ants, termites, worms, and beetles to name a few. Others purport that you can eat bees, wasps, caterpillars, and cockroaches. Various insect larva is often the “best” option if you can find them. There are easily thousands of edible insect species in the world.

Thought not insects, you can even eat an assortment of spiders and scorpions if your nerves are up for it. I still recall watching Bear Grylls eat a giant camel spider (goo sack and all) and was both horrified and impressed at the same time. I’m almost positive I couldn’t bring myself to do that not unless the spider were VERY crispy and didn’t look much like a spider when I was done. 😉

I should point out that most of the time you’ll want to thoroughly cook an insects you intend to eat to kill off parasites and, perhaps more importantly, to make them tasty. You could either add them to a pot of soup or saute them in oil, for example.

Anyway, here’s a list of 30 bugs you can eat when SHTF and a list of insects you can eat if interested.

The aforementioned article also points out some general rules of thumb about which insects not to eat, for example, brightly colored bugs, smelly or hair bugs, stinging or biting bugs, etc.

Beyond that, you should also NOT eat bugs that carry disease, such as mosquitoes, fleas, ticks, flies, and so on. Here’s an article on how can I tell if a bug is edible? if you’re super interested in knowing more.

The question I really have is: does it make sense to put forth the effort to eat bugs during SHTF?

Assuming you don’t have an ant or termite farm at your house the real problem is collecting enough of them at once to make it worth your while. Sure, you could be opportunistic and eat the occasional near-dead moth that you happen upon but to make insects a viable part of your diet post-SHTF, well, that would take some effort… effort I’m not sure is worth spending for most of us.

Would You, Could You Eat Bugs?

I’m sure plenty of us say we’d eat bugs but I’m not so sure. Unless they’re already a part of our diet (or at least our culture) then I’m willing to bet that most of us wouldn’t even consider eating bugs unless there is literally nothing else to eat… and by nothing I mean NOTHING that we might see as food first, from dandelions to wild mushrooms.

An equally important question is whether or not your family, in particular the kids, will eat insects in a SHTF situation? It’s a proven fact that some people simply will not eat “food” that they don’t see as food no matter whether they’re literally starving or not.

Remember that if little Timmy turns his nose now to eating his peas it’s highly likely that he’ll turn his nose for sure to eating fried ants even if he’s starving. So don’t assume that anyone–yourself included–will eat a new food if you *had* to.

Of course, you could disguise them in meals and even mush up insects so they don’t look like insects nearly as much which is probably a good idea no matter who’s eating them.

Ultimately, I’d like to say I could do it “if I had to” but to be honest, by the time I really considered attempting to harvest bugs to eat I’d probably be too weak to even do it properly… whatever that means.

Author: Damian Brindle

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One thought on “Could You, Would You, Should You Eat Bugs In A Survival Situation?”

  1. You are not alone in your pondering. I find myself wondering what this or that bug tastes like more and more frequently. Like you, I think there may be a problem getting enough insects or arachnids to really help your hunger or your health. When I was younger, I had two cousins who ate ants and moths, and one of them ate fireflies also. I figure if they could eat them then, so could I if that’s all there was. I think it may be easier for me to eat arachnids, since they remind me of the crab, lobster, shrimp, crawdads, etc I eat whenever I get the chance. I don’t think I could eat any guts, though. Ugh!

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