Ultimate survival skill – bugs and how to eat them

Stef Zisovska

Eating bugs for survival is not the most popular thing in Western culture, but it draws a lot of attention. People are more focused on learning about edible plants and skipping the great protein source bugs. Eating insects is nothing new or shocking, especially for the ancient cultures and for many Asian countries. Getting the necessary calories from a dozen crickets or a bunch of juicy fat insect larvae is a common thing in countries like Thailand.

Not everybody in our modern world would agree to add a couple of worms to a burger meal. But, when it comes to a survival situation you’ll be very glad to have them on your menu. After all, bugs are not as bad as you think. Here are the top safest insects you can eat when in need.


Earthworm – Author: Michael Linnenbach – CC BY-SA 3.0
Earthworm – Author: Michael Linnenbach – CC BY-SA 3.0

In the world, there are thousands of different types of earthworms, and they are all considered as safe for human consumption. What’s important to know is that you first need to clean all the dirt that fills their small bodies before you start dining. The easiest way to clean them if you don’t have extra water is to put them in a container full of grass and wait for few hours.

Just like any other animal food, worms too should be cooked. If you fry them, it’s even better because they taste like jerky. But while earthworms are a great source of calcium, iron and other important minerals, the bad thing about it that you’ll get one calorie per average-sized worm. You would need to dig for hours around to gather the necessary quantity of worms to prepare a decent survival dinner. Sounds yummy, right?


Nasute termite soldiers on rotten wood – Author: Filipe Fortes – CC BY-SA 2.0
Nasute termite soldiers on rotten wood – Author: Filipe Fortes – CC BY-SA 2.0

Ripping off a rotten log may seem like a lot of hard work, but if you’re hungry and trapped in the woods, it could be well worth doing it. Termites have the highest percentage of calories of all the critters on this list. They are easy to recognize because of their pale color and resemblance to ants.

One gram of termites provides up to six calories which make them a high-nutrient food. It takes an effort to pick them up though, as they start hiding as soon as you open the log. But, if you manage to do it, you’ll be rewarded with a shrimp-taste meal. The best way to eat them is to roast them. They are more sterile than their open-air insect cousins because they live isolated in the tree logs.


There’s a surprising number of products available in Western countries that are made from cricket meal
There’s a surprising number of products available in Western countries that are made from cricket meal

Crickets and grasshoppers are generally safe bugs to eat, but you need to avoid the ones with red, orange and blue colors. Choose the green ones to be sure that they are good to eat. Before preparing your dinner, remove their heads and the tiny legs. Cook the bodies well because these type of bugs with crunchy shells are more disposed to host parasites.

Do a cricket hunt early in the morning when the temperatures are lower, and they’re still not too active. Crickets have four to five calories per gram. Their flavor is sometimes bland and sometimes fatty. They are a perfect food source if you’re starving in the woods.

Eating insects is probably not the favorite thing for many of you, but when there is nothing else on the menu, you would be glad to have a critter dinner. Before heading to your next adventure, make sure to learn as many survival skills as possible. You never know what can happen in the wilderness, knowing that nature is unpredictable. If you’re not an insect fan, think twice before you decide to wander around dying out of hunger. Sometimes life puts us in difficult situations for a reason, and instead of giving up, we need to do everything possible to get back to safety alive. Good luck!

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stef-zisovska is one of the authors writing for Outdoor Revival