Results for category "Entomophagy"

Bugs on Your Plate… Bugs in Your Teeth… Bug Appétit!

Mealworms and crickets and waterbugs, oh my!

giant water bug

(click photo for slideshow)

Saturday marked opening day for the Franklin Park Conservatory’s “Hungry Planet: Local Food, Global View” weekend exhibition. The exhibit was designed to encourage people to “explore local and global food culture through art and horticulture displays, children’s interactives and a full menu of programs for all ages.” And Jiminy Crickets, were the attendees in for an eyeful AND a mouthful! One of the highlights of the program offerings was “Man Eating Bugs” with Mark Berman of Bugman Educational Entoprises. Mark (aka Bugman) is a Columbus entomologist (and chef extraordinaire) who introduced attendees to the world of entomophagy (bug eating) through his entertaining stories about bugs and onsite cooking demonstrations.

Entomophagy (pronounced “en-tuh-mof-uh-gy”) is defined as the consumption of insects as food by humans. Non-human species that eat insects are called insectivores. Believe or not, eating bugs is nothing new. People have been eating arthropods (insects, scorpions, spiders, centipedes and others) throughout time all over the world. It is believed that early man at insects before they learned how to make and use tools to hunt and farm. In many cultures today, insects are a main staple of the local diet. In fact, it has been documented that over 1000 insects have been eaten in 80 percent of the world’s nations. Bug eating is popular in Africa, Asia, Latin America and Oceania. The most common arthropods eaten include ants, beetle grubs (like mealworms), caterpillars (like waxworms and silkworms), cicadas, crickets, grasshoppers, scorpions and tarantulas. Unfortunately (or maybe fortunately for those with weak stomachs and no sense of adventure), in the Western World and similar societies, eating bugs is considered to be uncommon, taboo or downright disgusting.

Why people consider bugs to be ‘yucky’ is beyond me. Who doesn’t love eating seafood like crawfish, lobster, crab and shrimp? Well, guess what? Those are all arthropods. As a matter of fact, if you have shellfish allergies it’s suggested that you avoid eating bugs as you may have similar reactions. But when it comes to eating, shellfish aren’t lumped in with the other arthropods when it comes to entomophagy. But let’s take a serious look at eating bugs – and I don’t mean Fear Factor style (that shows gives bug eating a bad name and bugs can be good, actually yummy!). First, insects are nutritious! They are very high in protein, low in fat, economical to harvest and do not come with all the problems associated with farming and processing beef, pork and poultry. Minilivestock, the intentional cultivation of arthropods for human food, is starting to catch on and has been the subject of a number of organizations, research institutes, entomologists… and even chefs. Second, everybody eats insects every day whether they like or not. I’m sure you’ve seen the TV programs that talked about the number of insects and parts allowable by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

If you’d like to learn more about entomophagy, check out the interesting videos listed on the Entomophagy of the Future webpage on World News Network. You can also read about eating insects in two popular books, which include recipes, Man-eating Bugs and Eat-a-Bug Cookbook. Both also feature insect recipes and stories about people who eat bugs around the world. And, wouldn’t you know… when it comes to eating bugs, there’s also an Eat Insects app for that!

Bug appétit!

 

 

 

(This article was originally posted on the now defunct Examiner.com.)

“Entomology Inspires” at the USA Science and Engineering Festival

USA Science and Engineering FestivalInsects make up the largest and most diverse group of organisms on the planet. They are a critical part of the global ecosystem as well as nearly every aspect of biotechnology from agriculture to biomedical science. Also, insects are one of the best tools for inspiring an interest in science and nature in children and the general public.

Aaron T. Dossey, PhD, biochemist, post-doctoral entomological researcher and founder of All Things Bugs, is bringing together entomological organizations and institutions from across the country to show off everything that entomology and insects have to offer at the USA Science and Engineering Festival in D.C. from April 27-29, 2012. This is the first entomology section at what is considered to be the nation’s largest celebration of all things science and engineering!

Read about our ento section on SCIENCE BLOGS!

Over the past year, Green Matter, along with The Entomological Foundation, Daniella Martin of Girl Meets Bug and others, has partnered up with All Things Bugs in its search for entomology contributors, sponsors and volunteers… and we still need any help we can get. Donations of any kind – time, monetary, entomological and educational materials, brochures, etc. – are welcome and encouraged! 

>> CLICK HERE TO DONATE <<

Some of the sub-topics that will be covered by the themes of our booths include the following.

  1. Bees and Pollinators
  2. Insect Zoos and Live Insect Displays
  3. Cutting-Edge Insect Technology (cyborg beetles, genomics, biomedical science and agriculture)
  4. Insects as Human Food
  5. Biodiversity, Systematics and Taxonomy
  6. Entomological Education and Outreach

Share this information with other bug lovers and then plan that road trip to see all the cool bug stuff! To offer assistance or for more information, feel free to contact Michelle Harris at michelle@greenmatter.org.

 

All Things Bugs

Mark Berman “Cooking with Bugs” At Franklin Park Conservatory

"Mark Berman holds up cooked giant water bug"

On Saturday, August 20th, I had the opportunity to check out another one of Mark Berman’s “Cooking with Bugs” programs. Mark was a feature presenter at the Franklin Park Conservatory during their opening weekend of the Healthy Planet: Local Food, Global View exhibit.

This time, Mark, an entomologist and educator at Bugman Educational Entoprises, had a few bug foods that I’ve never seen or even heard, let alone tried. Ant brood, royal jelly and giant waterbugs to name a few. And those giant water bugs were a whopping 3.5 inches long!

I wasn’t too keen on the water bugs but my favorites were the strawberry soup and chocolate-covered crickets. Turn your nose up all you want to but I’m joining the entomophagy bandwagon as an advocate for using bugs as alternative food sources. They are low fat, high protein foods and many taste pretty good.

Heck, if you eat shrimp, lobster and crawfish, it’s all the same! Along with insects, spiders, scorpions, centipedes, etc., crustaceans fit into the same group of Arthropods. In fact, those with shellfish allergies are cautioned against eating bugs as they may cause similar allergic reactions.

For the complete story, including slideshow, view the write-up on my “Green Living in Columbus Examiner” column.