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  • Writer's pictureJonathan Stoddard

12 Bugs That Can Save Your Life In Survival!

woman consuming a bug

The practice of consuming bugs, known as entomophagy, is widespread in many cultures. When it comes to nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, insects are the most common source of protein in the world. If two billion people can eat bugs, you shouldn't have any trouble incorporating edible bugs into your emergency survival diet.

Eating bugs is prevalent in many places of the world. Insects are the world's most abundant protein source, and many of them have high levels of popular nutrients like omega-three fatty acids, which we buy in posh grocery stores. It shouldn't be all that difficult for you to include edible bugs in your emergency survival diet if 2 billion people can invite insects to the dinner table.

What Edible Insects are you able to catch and eat?

Crickets and Grasshoppers

Woman eating a grasshopper

Grasshoppers and crickets are incredibly high in protein, and they may be found almost anyplace. Grasshoppers and crickets are edible in most cases. You can try it without plucking your legs out of your teeth. by using cricket powder or cricket flour, a store-bought food product. Cricket powder has a wealth of protein, has baking qualities similar to ordinary flour, and tastes somewhat nutty. If you decide to go wild, keep in mind that they can transmit nematodes, so boil them before eating them.

How and where to Catch Crickets and Grasshoppers?

When and where to capture grasshoppers: Grasshoppers are easiest to catch in the early mornings when they move slower. Look for crickets behind rocks, logs, and other large objects in damp, dark places initially. Check for tall grasses, shrubs, and trees as well. See if any edibles fall upon a shirt, sleeping bag, or other fabric items by shaking branches above it.

Things you will Require to Catch Crickets and Grasshoppers:

Hands, a wool blanket or flannel shirt, some overripe fruit, or a water bottle.


By Hand:

1. Crickets can be caught by grasping them with your hands. Hopefully, this clarifies things (follow them down and catch your dinner). They're speedy if you have to capture them by hand, so go overboard and grab the entire area of ground surrounding the cricket. Alternatively, go hunting early in the morning when the cold-blooded creatures are still sleepy. Something with a lid is the ideal container to put them in.

By flannel shirt/wool blanket:

1. If you have a wool blanket or a flannel shirt, put it in the center of a field or somewhere where grasshoppers appear to be abundant.

2. Attempt to catch the small hopping bugs on the flannel/wool. Their feet will become entangled in the strands, allowing you enough time to pick them out (or out of the air).

In a bottle:

1. Cut the top off a plastic water bottle (an open Nalgene will suffice), bury it in the ground, and fill it with overripe fruit to trap them. If you don't have any fruit to insert in, a glow stick or light will suffice (they will be drawn to it). If you place a few little pieces of cardboard or leaves in the area, the crickets will hide under them rather than try to flee.

2. Leave it overnight, and you'll find breakfast bouncing around within the following day.

How Can We Eat Crickets and Grasshoppers?

1. To prepare crickets and grasshoppers, peel off their heads and discard the entrails as well. Although the entrails of crickets are edible, they must be removed to prevent possible parasitic transmission. Therefore make sure to boil the bugs before consuming them.

2. Take the wings and legs off.

3. Dry roast them in a skillet, or skewer them and roast them over an open flame if you don't have one. You have the option of charring them if you wish.

DO NOT EAT Poisonous Grasshoppers.

There are a few exceptions to the rule that grasshoppers are safe to eat. Avoid vividly colorful specimens that can make you sick, such as the eastern lubber (in Florida and other southern states).

Non Stinging Ants are on the Menu

How can You Catch Ants?

When and where: You can go anywhere and at any time. Ants are all over the place.

Things You Will Require to Catch Ants:

If you wish to make things simpler for yourself, hands, a stick, and a pair of gloves.

Method For Catching Ants:

Ant collecting to eat for survival

1. Scanning the ground will almost certainly reveal a scurrying battalion of ants. Because they march in straight lines, you'll be led straight to their headquarters.

2. Hitting an anthill or other habitat (such as a plank of decaying wood) with a stick a few times and then putting the end of the stick in the opening is an excellent technique to gather them.

3. Dunk the stick in a container of water—ideally the container you want to roast the ants in—as the ants rush to bite it. Repeat the procedure until you have accumulated a few hundred.

How to Consume Ants?

1. Capture as many as you can and immediately throw them into the water to drown them while you catch more. Boil the ants for around six minutes once you've acquired a reasonable amount. The acid in their bodies will be neutralized as a result of this. If you must eat them raw, make sure they are dead first to avoid being bitten.

Termites are consumable and on the Menu!

Termite closeup image

termites provide an excellent source of protein, and because they spend most of their lives buried in the wood, they are less likely than other insects to transmit parasites. Adult termites with wings can fly. Because the subsequent stages (larvae, workers, soldiers, nymphs, queens, and so on) are unable to fly, they are easier to catch. Termite queens are a delicacy in some cultures. Who knew eating insects could make you feel like royalty?

How Can You Catch Termites?

When and where: Termites are attracted to wood. It is their primary source of nutrition. So go ahead and crack open some soft timber and gather your dinner.

Things you Will Require to Catch Termites:


Grabbing Termites with your hands or shaking them out quickly is the preferred method. They'll burrow deeper into the woods as soon as they detect light unless it is swarm season when some caste will be visible.

How Can You Eat Termites?

1. Dry roast them in a pan. These animals should be cooked crispy.

Grubs can be Consumed and are on the Menu For Survival!

Closeup image of grubs

Is this the one you've been dreading finding out about? When someone says "grub," they're usually referring to a beetle's larval stage. The witchetty grub is eaten in Australia, palm weevil grubs are eaten in some Asian nations, gigantic water bugs are eaten in North America, and mopane worms are eaten in Africa. Some are little and crisp, like mealworms, while others, like rhinoceros beetle larva, are fat and juicy.

When and Where: Rotting logs are the most significant spot to find them. You can also check under rocks and leaf debris by removing the bark from living trees.

Things You Will Require to Hunt Grubs:

a rock or a stick

Method for Grub Hunting:

1. Look for a rotten log.

2. Remove the bark from the log or smash it. Alternatively, you may remove the bark, harvest the grub, and then shatter the log to check if there's anything else within. They're not particularly quick, so grab them with your fingers.

How Can You Eat Grubs?

Using a long stick, skewer them lengthwise and cook over an open flame until the skin is crispy.

Wood Lice is an Edible Crustacean!

Wood Lice images

Woodlice, sometimes known as "sowbugs," "potato bugs," "roly-polies," or "pill bugs," are not insects at all. They're North America's only terrestrial shrimp, and their flavor is similar to shrimp. They're sometimes referred to as "land shrimp."

How Can You Catch Wood Lice?

When and where to find them: They are relatively simple to find. You'll find some if you turn rocks and logs over or sift through dead leaves.

Things You Will Need to Collect Wood Lice;

hands and a container for collecting them in.

Method For Collecting Wood Lice:

1. Make a frantic effort to move things along quickly.

2. Gather bugs.

How Can You Eat Wood Lice?

1. Place the non-insects in a pot of boiling water for a few minutes. They may contain nematodes (parasitic roundworms) that you don't want roaming around in your intestines, so make sure they're thoroughly cooked.

2. Drain the water and consume it when they're done.

Earthworms Are Also Edible!

earthworm closeup images

Are worms considered bugs? No. That's not even close. They are, nonetheless, edible. You've probably spent more time playing with these than eating them. Because you now depend on survival, though, things are going to change. It's possible to go out and hunt for these wriggly morsels if the situation demands it. Perhaps seeing them as free-range, incredibly fresh spaghetti will make them easier to swallow. It's essential to remove all of the fecal matter before you consume the worms. Good luck with your meal!

How Can You Catch Earth Worms?

When and Where: These wigglers should be simple to identify if it has recently rained. They'll be all over the place. If it hasn't rained recently, look for them in wet soil, decomposing flora (such as leaves and wood), or beneath rocks.

Things Required to Capture Earth Worms:

Hands and a place to put them.

Method For Capturing Earth Worms:

1. Look for something they'll be under or in.

2. Explore the area.

3. Capture them.

4. Eat them al dente (but make sure they're cooked first).

How Can You Eat Earthworms?

1. While worms can be eaten raw in an emergency, if, at all possible, you should boil them. Like the majority of the items on this list, they have the potential to carry parasites, which should drive you to prepare them first. Not to mention the fact that eating a live worm is highly uncomfortable.

Stinkbug Consumption for Survival!

stinkbug image

Stinkbugs are edible, believe it or not. In general, you should avoid eating bugs with a strong odor. Stinkbugs, on the other hand, is an exception. They're perfectly comfortable with sending that hatch down (after you cook them, of course). Their consumption is also celebrated in Mexico, where a festival is held every year in the city of Taxco to commemorate their consumption.

How Can You Catch Stinkbugs?

When and Where: They'll most likely be lurking under rocks, logs, or other covers during the winter. Otherwise, you'll witness them strutting arrogantly across the vast field in front of you. You'll identify them because they have the shape of a conventional medieval shield, with a straight top and a point at the bottom.

Things You Will Require to Capture Stinkbugs:

Hands and a container

Method of Capturing Stinkbugs:

1. Stalk your prey.

2. Make a snatching motion.

3. Collect the Stinkbugs in a container, one with a lid preferably.

How To Prepare Stinkbugs For Consumption

Some people eat them uncooked, but if at all possible, avoid being one of them. To get rid of stinkbugs, soak them in warm water for 5 to 10 minutes and proceed to roast them in a dry pan for a long time. They are described as having an "iodine" flavor.

Scorpion Consumption in an Emergency.

Man Eating A Scorpion

In China, scorpions are a popular street dish, and they can also be found in California, Arizona, New Mexico, and other Southwestern states. They have a crab-like flavor. If you're going to eat a scorpion, make sure you remove the stinger first. The venom is usually produced and stored in the tail's upper two or three segments. Also, make sure they're cooked! Although cooking reduces the venom's toxic effects, it is still possible to have an adverse reaction. You won't be stung by a scorpion when it's dead, unlike a bee or wasp. If you've never eaten a scorpion before, it's preferable to avoid them—but you might not have a choice if you're in a survival situation.

If you've never eaten a scorpion before, it's preferable to avoid them—but you might not have a choice if you're in a survival situation.

How To Catch Scorpions?

When and Where to Catch Scorpions:

Dens are where these hazardous, living thumbtacks live. If you want a scorpion for dinner, you'll have to find a shelter.

Things you Need to Capture Scorpions;

a jar with a lid, your hands (or something else to dig with), and a murder weapon (such as a stick or a knife—don't use your hands for this).

Things you will need; A jar with a lid, your hands (or something else to dig with), and a murder weapon (such as a stick or a knife—don't use your hands for this).

Method for Capturing Scorpions:

1. Locate their dens before attempting to trap them. They'll be buried by overhanging rocks or logs, low to the ground.

2. Create a hole in the soil that is large enough to fit an open-mouthed jar, a water bottle that has had the top cut off, or a cup just in front of the burrow.

3. The scorpion will fall into the jar and not climb out when it emerges at night.

4. While it's still in the jar, kill it with a stick or a knife.

5. Remove the stinger.

How to Consume Scorpions?

1. Roast until nicely browned over a fire or coals.

How to Consume Earwigs

closeup of an earwig

Have you ever raised a pot in the garden and watched a swarm of insects scatter into the Grass? Your lunch may have gotten away. Earwigs are safe to eat and edible. They don't have any stingers on them. They aren't poisonous. They resemble a cross between an ant and a scorpion (the pincher bits) and are roughly the size of a flattened penny from a fair. When they become irritated, they may try to attack their pinchers, but these pinches rarely break the skin or cause much pain.

How to Capture Earwigs?

When and Where to Catch Them: Like most of the others on the list, these bugs are pretty easy to locate. They live beneath the surface of things. They're quick, but they're also relatively harmless. Start by looking under logs and other items that appear to have been undisturbed for some time. They prefer dark, damp environments.

Things you will need to Capture Earwigs:

Container, hands

Method for Capturing Earwigs:

1. Get your container ready and find something to jiggle with, like a rock or log.

2. Move the rock or log and prepare to snag your lunch from beneath it.

3. Place the insects in a container.

How to Prepare Earwigs for Consumption.

1. Start your fire (or purr, according to your preference).

2. Cook your dinner in a skillet. You want your wigs to be as crispy as possible.

3. Once they're fully cooked, you can sit down and enjoy your meal.

Consuming Aphids for Survival.

aphids feeding on a plant

Do you recall the kids' book "The Grouchy Ladybug"? The main character of the story is looking for aphids to eat. Aphids are tiny, sweet-toothed insects that feed on sap. They're usually green or black, although they can be of any color. They're small—more than 50 could fit on a cent. You can now play as the Grumpy Ladybug, but you won't have to share as the ladybug did.

How to Collect Aphids?

When and Where to Catch Aphids:

Aphids are insects that reside on plants. Aphids come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they favor different plants. If there are plants around, there's a good chance you'll locate something tasty what they eat influences how they taste, which can range from somewhat bitter to sweet.

Things Required to Capture Aphids :

Hands, a water-holding container

Methods for Collecting Aphids:

1. Rinse them off into some water to ensure that they do not escape.

How To Prepare Aphids for consumption

1. Simply Cook and enjoy eating them.

Maggot Consumption for Survival

Maggots feeding on rotten meat

Grubs and maggots aren't the same, although they're reasonably nasty and probably unsuitable for snacking. Grubs are often big, juicy, and white. Maggots are short, yellow-brown in color, and have no legs. Beetle larvae are referred to as "grub," while fly larvae are "maggots." They are, nevertheless, both edible. So that's something they have going for them.

So that's something they have going for them.

How Can You Capture Maggots?

When and Where to Catch Maggots:

Maggots come in a variety of shapes and sizes. Maggots can be found in rotten flesh and ruined meat. While rotting meat isn't safe to eat, maggots are (but only after they've been cooked!). They also prefer to reside in rotting fruits and vegetables. Some of them even live in the water. Maggots are a fantastic source of protein and other nutrients.

Things Required to Capture Maggots:

Hands and a container

Method for Capturing Maggots:

1. Locate a place where you can get them. You can make your own by leaving damaged rotting fruit out if you have time and some.

2. Collect them.

How to Prepare Maggots for Consumption During Survival?

1. Kill any lingering bacteria by boiling or sautéing them.

2. Take pleasure in your Lion King-themed meal.

Eating Dragonflies for Survival

dragonfly closeup on water

During the spring and summer, dragonflies are the most common. They have two stages in their life cycle: nymph and adult. Both stages are edible, albeit one is far simpler to catch than the other. They're usually green, around the size of the first two segments of your pointer finger, and water-borne when they're in their nymph stage. It's a lot easier to catch them when they can't flee! A fully developed dragonfly is what you're used to seeing in its adult form. These are tasty, but due to their speed and agility, they can be challenging to catch.

These are tasty, but due to their speed and agility, they can be challenging to catch.

How Can You Catch Dragonflies?

When and Where to Catch Dragonflies:

Dragonflies don't have stingers and can't bite hard enough for a human to feel. Both the larval and adult stages of the insect are edible. The larval form, on the other hand, is probably easier to catch. Dragonfly larvae are found in water and are more prevalent in the spring and summer.

Things you Will Require to Capture Dragon Flies:

Hands and a net (optional)

Method for Dragonfly Collection:

• Larvae: These live in water and may cling to aquatic plants. You should be able to remove them out of the water rather effortlessly.

• Adult: At this stage, dragonflies can fly—and they can fly rapidly. Unless you've learned some kind of quick-snatch ninja move, catching them without a net will be challenging. Alternatively, perhaps this is a time to hone your dragon-fly-snatching skills. You should try to sneak up on them while they rest on something and see if you can't snag some supper for yourself.

How to Prepare Dragonflies for Consumption

1. These simply need to be cooked for a few seconds to kill any bacteria.

2. Removing the wings and legs is entirely your choice, although it may make them easier to swallow.

Where Can I Discover Edible Bugs, and Which Ones are Safe to Eat?

safety sign image

Grasshoppers and Crickets; are found in Grass, mainly during the summer months and spring. Grasshoppers are more readily found during the day, while crickets are primarily found in the evening. Be sure to pull the head and legs off and then cook them.

Non-Venomous Ants; Are located almost everywhere. Depending upon certain weather conditions, populations may be in more abundance. They are primarily active during the day. It is always recommended to cook any insects before consumption to reduce the chance of pathogens or bacteria.

Termites; are usually found in decomposing wood in the spring. They are most active in Daylight. It is recommended to cook them as well before consumption.

Grubs; Grubs love rotting logs as well as loamy soil. Your best option for hunting them is late summer and early fall. These tasty little morsels can be eaten raw; however, it is recommended to cook them.

Wood Lice; this little crustacean is mainly misidentified as an insect, loves rotting vegetation, and is most likely to be spotted during the days of Autumn, Spring, and winter, depending upon your state. This crustacean needs to be cooked before consumption.

Earthworms; It is no secret this creature loves dirt, or surfaces of soil after precipitation. They are most readily found during the day and should also be cooked before consumption.

Stinkbugs; stinkbugs favor crops and gardens. Stinkbugs are usually nocturnal from March through September. They also need to be cooked before consumption.

Scorpions; Scorpions love to take shelter under logs, as well as woodpiles and clutter. Depending upon your state, they can be year-round and active at night. Remember to cook this insect, and it is imperative to REMOVE THE STINGER before doing so.

Earwigs; love moisture locations that are also damp. They can be found at night, or during the day year-round. Remember to cook this bug before consumption.

Aphids; Aphids will always be found on plants. They are most active during the warmer months. The y are also found during the day, and can also be located at night. Aphids also deposit waste on plants as honeydew, which also helps to attract ants. It is possible; you may encounter two meals at once. Be sure to cook them also.

Maggots, everyone is aware of this nasty creature that loves rotting flesh, fruits, and vegetables. They can also be found during the day or evening. It is recommended to cook these nasty creatures to reduce bacteria, viruses, etc.

Dragonflies; These beautiful insects are located near water sources during the day of spring and summer. Be sure to remove legs and wings, before cooking them.

Bugs That Are Edible But Shouldn't Be Eaten

caution sign

These bugs are edible, but they are either more difficult to find or more dangerous to catch and consume. You should probably be cautious before eating these, or at the very least be aware of what you're getting yourself into.

• Snails and slugs

• Caterpillars

• Tarantulas

• Bees and wasps

Snails and Slugs; While their flesh is harmless, there's a good chance they've eaten something harmful, such as poisonous plants or mushrooms, therefore eating them isn't recommended. The ones you eat at a restaurant have been fed safe-to-eat vegetables, and the personnel who prepare them are aware of what those snails ate. The same cannot be stated for a snail's diet in the wild. You risk catching rat lungworms if you eat wild snails or slugs, which can lead to eosinophilic meningitis, which causes severe brain and nervous system damage. Because these pathogens lie in the digestive tracts of slugs and snails, boiling them does not guarantee that they are disease-free. If snails are your only option for food, you can feed them non-poisonous plants for a week before eating them. Then make sure they're properly cooked.

Tarantulas; In Cambodia, the fried spider is considered a delicacy. Remove as much hair as possible while avoiding the fangs. Curled legs indicate how done they are and how well the insides are cooked if you cook them. The Thai zebra spider is one of the most common food spiders, yet it is venomous and aggressive.

Wasps and bees; The stingers and legs should be removed. Prepare your food properly. But be warned: catching these fliers might be harmful. If the risk of stings is worth it (or you don't have an option), try closing the hive and then smoking it with an improvised flame to destroy everything within. These are only on the "honorable mention" list since they're difficult to catch and will attack you without hesitation. Bee larvae, on the other hand, can be eaten and are less inclined to fight back.

Caterpillars; The enormous silkworm moth and the puss caterpillar, for example, are poisonous. The bright and hairy ones are usually harmful, although this isn't a hard and fast rule. As a result, either conduct extensive research into the area in which you intend to become trapped or proceed with extreme caution. If you're stranded and trying to stay alive, this isn't the best bet.

What Bugs Should You Avoid Eating, and Why?

Slugs and Snails; slugs and snails will readily consume poisonous plants. Cooking them will not permanently remove the poison. This can be passed to the host, causing them to become sick or poisoned. Also, slugs and snails can carry rat lung worms.

Tarantulas; This aggressive arachnid can inflict a venomous bite that causes harm to those who may approach them. It is best to avoid them since many other edible insects are in abundance that will not pose such a threat.

Bees and Wasps; It is no secret what they are capable of doing to people. Venom and stingers with an aggressive nature, making them not so ideal for hunting. It is best to avoid them since many other edible insects are in abundance that will not pose such a threat.

Caterpillars; Some of these critters are toxic and poisonous, while others are not. Since it takes an expert to identify each to know and understand which may be safe, it is recommended to pass on them rather than making a huge mistake and trying the wrong one.

Signs that an Insect May Harm or Result in Death.

Danger sign with skull and crossbones

While the majority of insects are safe to eat, you should take the following precautions:

Don't Eat Brightly Colored Insects: Brightly colored insects serve as a signal to predators that they're harmful. This is true even of the insects on this list.

Avoid Hairy Things: Stingers may be hidden in the fuzz of hairy bugs.

Avoid Smelly Things: Stay away from any bugs with a strong odor (except, paradoxically, stinkbugs).

When you have a doubt: if you're ever unsure about an insect's edibility, chop off a little cooked piece of it, swallow it, and wait a few hours. If no symptoms appear, eat a larger slice and wait some more. It's probably okay if nothing happens.

No bug sushi: We cannot emphasize this point enough: no insect sushi. When at all feasible, cook your insects before eating them. Cooking kills parasites and harmful germs and improves flavor, and allows nutrients to be more easily digested.



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