A Bug-tastic Adventure: Insects That I have Actually Eaten

17 May 2023|General Discussion


While the idea of eating insects is not familiar to many, it has been a thing for centuries. Traditional foods to date still have insects on their menu. The practice of eating insects for food is called Entomophagy, which is a sustainable and environment-friendly way of sourcing foods, especially proteins.

Insect consumption may be considered wild by Western countries’ populations, but a significant population of the rest of the world consumes them. I mean, if you can eat seafood then it shouldn’t be a big deal.

Eating bugs of the land vs of the sea
Eating bugs of the land vs of the sea

Kw : edible insects, termites, locusts, entomophagy.

1. Termites

Winged Flying Termites (Kumbekumbe, Chintuga, Chiswa, Nguya )
Winged Flying Termites

Growing up in Western or Nyanza parts of Kenya, it is no doubt that termites are a normal cuisine over there. They come out in the event of light rains, especially at dusk, and fly right about. 

You know dinner was gonna hit differently, as termites would be back on the menu when you spotted termite wings around, saw them flying or just heard a subtle wing flapping against the window. That’s when you knew it was harvest time. Harvesting where you didn’t sow literally.

Collection time involved using an insect net to capture flying ones, or picking the dropped ones. However, that is unhygienic since you can’t tell the surfaces they had landed on before you caught them. Plus you wouldn’t collect much by just hopping they flew in your direction. 

The handle on both problems would be heading towards the source, the termite hill. Here you would get more as a gazillion of them come out every second in a continuous swarm, also contamination risks would be low. In case the flow is low, you can get more to come out by music from striking two dry sticks together in a certain rhythm. Watch Video

Cooking :

They are then collected de-winged and pan-toasted with salt until perfectly crispy. That’s it. Unless you wanna get fancy with a lemon juice drizzle. You can optionally cook them with wings on, as they will burn off eventually, and add that smoky flavor if you so desire.

What do Termites Taste Like?

First off the texture, It rivals the crunchiest potato chip or crisp you ever had, then followed by a smooth and creamy nutty taste with a mild flavor. The crunch is from the head and thorax portions while the creaminess is from the abdomen with fats. Flavors will vary across depending on what the termites have been feeding on, the environment, and body shape and size.

Nutritional Information

General approximate overview Macrotermis bellicosus per 100g:

  •  Calories: 500g-600 Kcal
  •  Proteins: 25-40g
  •  Fats: <50g
  •  Carbs: <5g
  •  Minerals: Calcium and Phosphorus majorly,
  •  Vitamins: A and C

About Termites:`

Termites are small insects also known as ‘white ants’ with soft and pale bodies. (Not the normal picnic crasher ants). Normally they feed on cellulose so that is why they can be damaging to timber structures.

Some species develop wings during the reproductive stages to fly off to a new colony. Once everything goes to plan and they have a new place, they shed off the wings. Wings are generally almost twice the termite’s body length and are transparent in color. Note that, not all species undergo the said phase. Also across all species of termites, the workers develop no wings entirely.

Worker termites are not edible and they have a translucent body with a yellow head. They are responsible for almost all errands within the colony from construction, they are the engineers of destruction to getting food and protecting others, especially the queen. 

Important: Be careful from where you collect your termites, In case they have been sprayed with pesticides by pest control 

You can buy dehydrated termites if you can get your hands on those.

2. Locusts

A Locust on a Leaf ( Odede, Nzige, Panzi, Ribururu )
A Locust on a Leaf

While my fellow kids in the city were indoors watching Sponge Bob, and the cool kids playing GTA Vice City, me and the boys were out in the field hunting for locusts in the countryside. The motive wasn’t for food, just trapping them and amputating their hind legs for no reason. I wonder why i didn’t make it to med school. I mean, I was practicing before 🙁 They are spiky boys and could leave us with shallow bleeding sometimes.

Then we’d make the locusts pets by storing them in a ventilated jar, feeding them with grass and greenery, then later to release them to the wild. Childhood is crazy tbh.


The first time eating a locust, I had some in the jar and grandma was like, lemme make cook those for you. She threw the poor guys (that I had even named) into the open charcoal fire, while I stood there watching them glow red after the wings burned off like fireworks. Once done they were crunchy and brown on the outside and soft white on the inside.

However, locusts can be prepared in other ways including boiling and frying

How do Locusts Taste?

The accurate taste comparison is to shrimp, and the closest is white meat like chicken or fish.

Nutritional Information

100g of desert locusts, Schitocerca gregaria pack the following approximates:

  •  Proteins: 30-40g 
  •  Calories: at least 450Kcal,
  •  Carbs:  20-30g,
  •  Dietary Fiber: < 5g
  •  Fats: 20-30g
  •  Minerals: Calcium is the most abundant, others include; Iron, Zinc, and Magnesium.
  •  Vitamins: B1,B2, B6, B12,  E and A

About Locusts:

In Africa, Asia, and the Middle East locusts have been consumed for years. Locusts date back to the era of Pharaoh in the Plague of Locusts from the Bible. They are notorious for devastating anything green causing droughts and food shortages as they invade in swarms, take revenge by converting them to dinner too!


According to FAO, there are about 2,000 species of safe and edible insects. We should embrace insect consumption as a protein source. They take up less space and food compared to livestock to provide the same amount of nutrition thus environmentally sustainable and efficient too. Livestock farming account for up to 1/4 of greenhouse emissions.

Minecraft Cattle Meme

Insects offer several advantages as a protein source. They are easier to farm due to their short lifespan, making them a cost-effective option. Additionally, insects have high food conversion efficiency, meaning they efficiently convert feed into usable energy and biomass. 

Considering the global challenge of food security, the demand for protein is expected to increase significantly with a growing population. Insects can play a crucial role in addressing this issue by providing a sustainable and readily available protein. Furthermore, insects have the advantage of containing lower cholesterol or zero levels compared to beef, which can be beneficial for individuals seeking to manage their dietary cholesterol intake.

While edible insects should not completely replace traditional meats, they can serve as a valuable supplement to meet the increasing demand for protein and nutritional requirements. Insects offer unique nutritional profiles, including dietary fiber, which is often lacking in slaughtered meat. Incorporating insects into the diet can help diversify nutrient intake and provide additional dietary fiber that may be missing from conventional meat sources.

Other edible insects include Specific; Bees, Ants, Crickets, Caterpillars, and Dragonflies among others

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