Here’s What’s Bugging Me…

…about the bugs-as-food movement—I just read that the EU has just approved crickets and mealworms as ingredients in human food products—

Traditionally, (and in GENERAL: ; yes I’ve herd of of “painter bacon”) we humans dont eat other creatures that prey on us, like wolves, and big cats,
And we don’t farm such species as a food source. Would it be a good idea to do so, breeding them to be bigger, meatier, disease -resistant, ever more numerous?
Does anybody doubt that they’d get out, begin to multiply in the wild, passing some of their engineered invulnerability on to their hybrid offspring? And then: continue, and enlarge upon, their propensity to eat US? S’only natural!

Okay there’s a reason why the EU started with crickets’n’ mealworms. Crickets are cute li’l minstrels, all they do is sing and bring good luck! Right?
Look up “what do crickets eat.” And you’ll discover: everything. They are omnivores that can destroy your entire wardrobe and denude your pantry. They have extremely powerful mandibles that can chew through plastic. And they will eat flesh, if they come upon carrion.
And mealworms? Well, they’re halfway to being food just by virtue of their name, I reckon…if they’re anything like pantry moths, they can chew through plastic and cardboard, too. But they don’t SOUND disgusting, at first mention.
But what about the “black soldier fly larvae” which I’ve read are being assiduous farmed, baby bugs baked and boiled alive to make food for us and/or at least for our traditional food animals?
What makes us think we can contain these increasingly hardy types of critter on some “farm”? I mean, doesn’t anybody who has ever tried to chase down any insect know that it’s beyond human capability? It can walk on the CEILING , fuggod’s sake! It can’t be killed, it will fulfill its mandate to breed, breed, breed, THOUSANDS, at least,of its kind in its brief lifetime, while we can reproduce at the rate of only ONE every nine MONTHS!
They WILL escape, with their already legendary proportionate strength, their profligate fertility.

Bugs are our enemies, our eternal adversaries! They eat our meat and our vital green Vitamin C food, both before and after harvest! They eat our clothes! They eat our houses! We naked apes NEED that stuff.
When has it EVER been a good idea for man, precipitately and on a large scale , to begin engineering/ introducing the proliferation of some other species?

No, NO! pleeeeze let’s not go down this road!

But I know: it’s too late already.


Well, insects have been a traditional source of protein in Europe, you’ll find them in cheese from Sardinia (with flies) to Germany and France (with mites):

There’s also a springtime maybug soup, that used to be popular in Germany and France:


Whatever can be done will be done. When it comes to genetic engineering - depending on what, in the arrogance of ‘experts’, is done - there may or may not be anyone around to record the extinction event.


I know about Sardinia and the Casa di Vermi cheese! If you wanna eat it, you hafta keep the little morsel in a baggie till your lips close on it, or at least shield your eyes with your other hand, else the delectable l’il maggots will leap into your eyes to eat’em! I really wanna visit Sardinia, just a rock jutting up outta the ocean floor, the o ly place on earth, I’ve heard, that could never experience an earthquake.


Exactly! And I was being serious (albeit in a frolicsome, irresistibly delightful way…:nerd_face:) : what do the rest of you dear polymaths think about “farming” bugs: wouldn’t it be dangerous and possibly ultimately fatal to humanity?
(But of course, that’s the Green goal.)


The entire history of agriculture and animal husbandry for their products, which dates from the Neolithic, around 11,700 years ago, was intimately associated with the domestication of animals—selectively breeding them for behaviour, fecundity, efficiency in converting food resources into the products (meat, milk, skins, fur, etc.) desired, and to optimise the products’ utility to the breeder/rancher (number and size of eggs laid by chickens, fraction of usable meat in cattle and other meat animals), etc.

None of the wild ancestors of today’s principal domesticated animals would be suitable or viable economically in competition with their ranched counterparts. Domestication of animals has been one of the factors which permitted the great increase in human population from the hunter-gatherer era to the age of agriculture.

If insects become a substantial source of food for humans and their livestock, there is every reason to expect the same process of domestication to occur and, since the generation time of insects is so short, it won’t take anywhere near as long as for most farm animals. Presumably, this selective breeding (and/or eventual direct genetic manipulation) will not only optimise their production but limit their ability to propagate in the wild, just as few farm animals could survive if turned loose in the wilderness.

Almost all of the disasters resulting from invasive species involved wild species introduced into environments where geographic barriers previously excluded them. Cases where domestic animals caused problems, such as rabbits in Australia, were generally due to lack of natural predators and abundant food supply. Farmed insects are likely to highly specialised to eat the feed provided to them and unable to forage in the wild.

This doesn’t mean I’m inclined to eat bugs, but I’m not much worried about domesticated frankenbugs destroying the biosphere.


An intermediate path is to turn food waste (and general biomass) into insect protein for, say, chickens:

The other obvious path that’s already been developed is turning wood (and woody food waste such as coffee grounds) into fungus:


I said “precipitously”. Yes I know all the food we eat, plant and animal, is genetically modified, but it was done over millennia.
(Whoops at least I meant “precipitously”; auto corrected to “precipitately” —is that even a word?….whoops again, it is, and they both mean the same thing: undue haste.)


Correct me if I’m wrong, but don’t Asians eat bugs as a delicacy.

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Not just Asians and Europeans:


My 7th grade Spanish teacher would regularly bring in canned bugs for the class to try, must have been about 1963. Honeybees were tasty.


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