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The Tradition Continues

Tradition

Insects have been consumed globally for millennia. This is because they are considered delicious and nutritious in many cultures. Insects are eaten by people at all ranges of the socioeconomic spectrum and are considered delicacies in many countries.

Tradition Icon MainAccording to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization (UN FAO) insects are consumed by over 2 billion people in over 80% of the countries around the globe. More than 2,000 species have been reported to be edible and it is likely that many more of the 1 million plus species will be categorized as edible in the future. (source: UN FAO, Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security, 2013)

From grasshoppers and ants in Mexico to fried locusts in Thailand, caterpillars in Africa and waterbugs in China, insects are a normal part of the food culture in many countries. We are now starting to see an increase of insect consumption in the western world. From cricket flour in consumer packaged goods to whole insects showing up on restaurant menus, people are rapidly embracing the idea of this ancient practice having a place at the modern table.

Tradition Infographic

Who's eating insects?

Map of world and countries that eat bugs. Click on each region to find out what insects they consume.

North America

Mexico is the biggest consumer of insects, eating over 100 different varieties including the grasshopper, any eggs, agave worms, wasps and bees. In the U.S. and Canada people starting to eat crickets and mealworms. In Guatemala people eat the leafcutter ant.

*Not a comprehensive list
South America

In Venezuela people are eating earthworms, cactus weevil and the giant waterbug. In other parts of South America you’ll find people consuming beetles, palm weevil larvae, lemon ants, hormigas culonas (big-ass ants!), agave worms, bees, waxworms and locusts.

*Not a comprehensive list
Europe

People are consuming catepillars in France and Belgium, bee larvae in Germany, and crickets, flies and moths are being eaten all over. In Italy people prize the cazu marzu cheese, which is cheese made with live insect larvae.

*Not a comprehensive list
Africa

Palm weevil larvae are a delicacy in Ghana, in South Africa you’ll find people eating locusts, caterpillar and mopane worm, and in Congo it’s bee larvae, weaver ants and giant waterbugs. There are many insects eaten throughout the continent including bagworm pupae, water scorpions, mayfly, termites, crickets, mealworms and moths.

*Not a comprehensive list
Asia

In Thailand people eat crickets, wasps, bee larvae, grasshoppers, silkworm, ant eggs, bamboo worms and waterbugs. In Japan silkworms and cicada are consumed, and in China people eat locusts, centipedes, dragonflies and scorpions. Also consumed across Asia are wasps, cicada, termites and stink bugs.

*Not a comprehensive list
Australia

In Australia people consumer witchetty grub, bees, honeypot ants and Christmas beetles. In Papua New Guinea sago grub, walking stick and dragonflies are consumed, while grasshoppers are eaten in New Zealand.

*Not a comprehensive list
North America

Mexico is the biggest consumer of insects, eating over 100 different varieties including the grasshopper, any eggs, agave worms, wasps and bees. In the U.S. and Canada people starting to eat crickets and mealworms. In Guatemala people eat the leafcutter ant.

South America

In Venezuela people are eating earthworms, cactus weevil and the giant waterbug. In other parts of South America you’ll find people consuming beetles, palm weevil larvae, lemon ants, hormigas culonas (big-ass ants!), agave worms, bees, waxworms and locusts.

Europe

People are consuming catepillars in France and Belgium, bee larvae in Germany, and crickets, flies and moths are being eaten all over. In Italy people prize the cazu marzu cheese, which is cheese made with live insect larvae.

Asia

In Thailand people eat crickets, wasps, bee larvae, grasshoppers, silkworm, ant eggs, bamboo worms and waterbugs. In Japan silkworms and cicada are consumed, and in China people eat locusts, centipedes, dragonflies and scorpions. Also consumed across Asia are wasps, cicada, termites and stink bugs.

Africa

Palm weevil larvae are a delicacy in Ghana, in South Africa you’ll find people eating locusts, caterpillar and mopane worm, and in Congo it’s bee larvae, weaver ants and giant waterbugs. There are many insects eaten throughout the continent including bagworm pupae, water scorpions, mayfly, termites, crickets, mealworms and moths.

Australia

In Australia people consumer witchetty grub, bees, honeypot ants and Christmas beetles. In Papua New Guinea sago grub, walking stick and dragonflies are consumed, while grasshoppers are eaten in New Zealand.