For regular folk, surviving on an insect based diet in a SHTF situation is nothing more than a TV fantasy.
You know those shows, wilderness survival and all that, where the hero, let’s call him Beetle Juice, grabs a juicy grub, eats it and then asks for seconds.
However, bug eating is not at the top of any survivalist’s list of fun things to do, or at least not now, when you can buy a double cheeseburger with fries and ring onions at any fast food in like 5 minutes tops. However, in a survival situation, when food and water are scarce, one may find his taste in food changing radically.
The thing about eating bugs/insects is that it really makes perfect sense from a survival point of view. And in case you did not know, there are reputable publications advocating for people switching their diet to eating insects in a future brave new world.
Take this BBC piece for example, and if you think Bear Grylls is crazy, you have another thing coming.
Now, I am aware of the fact that most preppers imagine wilderness survival as a great outdoors adventure, that will end up with a ton of fishing and hunting stories to tell their friends and neighbors. However, in some situations, you may have to reconsider your attitude.
Unlike catching grubs and crickets, hunting deer is pretty difficult, especially if you don’t have the tools, the skills, or the energy. And that in the optimistic scenario, if there are any deer in the area. Okay, maybe I am exaggerating a bit, but I’m trying to make a point.
And the point is insects are everywhere, and they make for an awesome survival food in desperate SHTF scenarios. Also, you should be aware of the fact that bug eating is nothing new, nor gross.
For example, Romans were known for eating beetle larvae, while Greeks were practicing cicadas harvesting for food.
Even after the agricultural revolution, when food was plentiful for most of the people, insects still made their way into humans’ diets.
Currently, there are still millions of people who eat bugs on a regular basis, especially in Africa and Asia. Why, you asked?
The answer is pretty straight forward: those darn’ bugs must be delicious, and they’re definitely incredibly nutritious. When it comes to the nutritional value of insects, they stand their ground pretty well against meat. For example, caterpillars will provide you with more protein compared to the same quantity of beef.
The same goes for termites, that provide more calories per 100 grams than beef. Moth larvae are 63 percent protein, and again, most bugs are delicious when cooked, else people won’t eat them, am I right? It’s also important to emphasize how cost effective (in terms of energy) bug eating really is.
Besides having excellent nutritional value in terms of fat, protein and calories per 100 grams, bugs are fairly easy to find and to catch, and then to make a meal out of them. When you’re on the prowl hunting bugs, don’t forget to keep a container to store them within reach, alright?
Now, if you can get past the yuck factor with regard to eating bugs, the good news is that there are over 1400 species of edible insects in the US alone. There’s only a small caveat to that: while pretty much all insects can be eaten, you’ll have to follow a few rules, just to play it safe: avoid eating bugs that sting (you’ll probably learn about those the hard way), avoid bugs that smell badly, hairy insects and those with bright colors.
Also, you should not eat flies, as they’re known for spreading disease. However, there are exceptions to these rules, i.e. bees are considered edible and even tasty. Moreover, a number of cultures consider the hairy tarantulas to be delicacies.
The secret to eating those scary hairy spiders and other poisonous insects is that cooking the bug usually destroys the harmful poison inside, but then again, try to play it as safe as possible.
As a general rule of thumb, you should stick with eating “classic bugs”, like caterpillars, ants, beetles, bees, grubs, crickets, dragonflies, earthworms (worms generally speaking), termites, grasshoppers, leeches, junebugs, locusts, cicadas, and even cockroaches, whom, according to those brave folk that eat them, taste like chicken.
Now, provided you’re still with me, it would be recommendable to cook your bugs prior to ingesting their highly nutritious content. Else, you can always eat them raw, like a real man, or a vegan woman. The best part about eating bugs for survival purposes is that they’re all over the place.
If you want to find a tasty snack in the wilderness, just lift up an old log and you’ll most probably find some beetles under it, or some juicy grubs. Also, if you dig in the dirt, it’s almost sure you’ll find some insects to eat.
However, if you want to fill your belly, you’ll have to do better than that: check out this video and learn how to collect insects using pitfall traps, i.e. how to harvest insects for survival in an efficient matter. When it comes to harvesting your bug-meal, you should be aware of the fact that insects are just like fish in this regard: you can bait them with a mixture of yeast and sugar.
It’s also important to know that insects are easy to find under stones, fallen trees, near/under plants, or in the close vicinity of ponds and streams. Now, when it comes to eating bugs, the best way is to fry them, it’s the simplest method, the safest and also makes them taste the best. Or so I’ve heard.
You can fry your bugs in oil, butter, lard or whatever and you can season them with spices (salt, pepper) or aromatic herbs. Also, you can add insects to your stew, thus making for a true bug feast and boosting your meal’s nutritional value along with its appearance, and I am not kidding either: by adding crushed bugs to your stew, you’ll pretty much disguise their horrible appearance, thus making them more palatable.
Remember to remove the bugs’ wings and legs prior to cooking them.
Now, catching and eating bugs for survival in a hunter gatherer fashion is one thing, but let’s take this concept even further. Let’s say you’re preparing to live in a dystopic world, where the government turns rogue and steals all your guns, kills your cattle, nationalizes all private businesses and pulls the plug on the internet.
How can you provide for your family then? Think along the lines of Holodomor, China’s cultural revolution that killed millions via famines, North Korea and so forth and so on, i.e. every instance when a government killed its tax-farm-base by confiscating their means of survival.
The answer is: grow your own bugs, become a bug farmer, seriously. Insects can be grown easily (cricket farms ring a bell?), as they require small spaces and relatively few resources.
Most insects adapt quite well to farm-like environments , and they don’t require vast horizontal areas to live in and to thrive, like cattle does for example. To grow bugs, you’ll only need a batch of “prime breeders”, a plastic bin placed in a warm and well ventilated area, and some food, i.e. oats.
That’s all there is to it, if you want to grow your own bug chattel. To give you an example, one female cricket has a 4 months life span, during which it lays approximately 100 eggs.
Half of the eggs will hatch, you’ve guessed, female crickets, hence within the next few months, you’ll end up with 5000 crickets, give or take. Growing bugs is a very lucrative business.
I hope the article helped. If you’ve noticed any bugs inside (pun intended) or you have questions or comments, let us know what you think in the dedicated section below.