Monday, November 12, 2012


Fall is here with frosty nights and cool days.  A few grasshoppers survive and warm in the sun to their soon demise.  We look forward to Spring, a new year and new life.

The past few months have been setting up and building business ventures to raise funds, sufficient enough to take on projects toward Entomophagy and other sustainability projects, without having to scrounge through junk piles to get parts and materials.

Although I do somewhat pride myself in being able to create functioning systems and items out of leftovers, I believe some things to be done correctly, needs better materials and especially where Entomophagy is concerned and our dream of creating practical Clean Bug Systems in climate controlled enclosures.  This requires funds and so we move on to acquire them.

Gourmet Bugs has not disappeared, far from it.  We are just beginning.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Strange Looking Grasshopper

Never saw a grasshopper like this in my life. Maybe somebody knows the species...

Haven't posted to this blog in awhile.  My mealworms are growing, that's about all I have been doing bug wise.  Things happen. 

Other than this strange grasshopper in the picture, there are plentiful numbers of hoppers about locally.  My local bug eating buddy Al says you aren't supposed to get them until season, after they mate.  Supposedly they are bitter and nasty tasting until then.  Well, yes I can relate to being bitter and nasty without mating but I have to say I have eaten a few young ones and they tasted great Al haha!

Friday, June 8, 2012

Belize Has Bugs!

Too many to count actually and I'm certain there must be people's there who eat some of them but I did not have time in a short week to learn all the ways of Belize.  For certain, the people I met there are friendly and open to new ideas as we were able to share some reflective solar cooker ideas and left a working unit with a couple of the local Kekchi Maya who served as our guides and companions where we stayed at  Roaring Creek.  I can fully imagine they will love this and spread the word among the population who for the most part, cook in open stone fire pits either inside their dwellings or just outside the door that must be constantly tended.

I'm fascinated by the sea, always have been, always will be.  If you like to read awesome adventures, I found this blog by a fella who is currently making his way down the Carribean Coast in a small homemade outrigger boat.

Cudo's Chris!  Man you are either way crazy or very brave...or both.  I'm totally captivated by your adventures and will be sad to see it end.

Now back to Belize.  It is very humid there.  So much so that termites build crawl tubes up the sides of trees and make huge nests among the branches.  Talk about an abundant source of protein and easy to get!  I would venture to say there are enough termites alone in Belize to feed the entire population if they so chose to take advantage of it.

Having said that, I saw quite alot of poverty while there, yet never saw one person who seemed to be starving.  The people look quite healthy and seem to be well fed.  Not too difficult I imagine seeing that nearly every tree seems to have some sort of fruit or nut and the waters there are full of fish.

I can't wait to return.  Belize just seems to do something to me I can't explain.  It was like I had been there before and belong.  See ya later Belize. :) 

Friday, April 20, 2012


Sodium Selenate

The FDA and European Union currently classify sodium selenate as a toxic chemical, primarily if ingested or inhaled. Testing on rats showed a dose of 1.6 mg/kg to be deadly. Chronic exposure to sodium selenate can cause severe lung, kidney, and liver damage.

In studies investigating the antigen properties and dosage of sodium selenate, patients demonstrated a good tolerance to doses upward to 45 mg per day with a maximum tolerated dose of 60 mg per day. Side effects include nail disorder, alopecia, muscle spasms, and nausea. Increased side effects, notably nausea and fatigue, were experienced at higher doses but were attributed to the buildup of selenite.

Cobalt Carbonate

The compound is harmful if swallowed, and irritating to eyes and skin.

Copper Sulfate

Copper sulfate is an irritant. The usual routes by which humans can receive toxic exposure to copper sulfate are through eye or skin contact, as well as by inhaling powders and dusts. Skin contact may result in itching or eczema.  Eye contact with copper sulfate can cause conjunctivitis, inflammation of the eyelid lining, ulceration, and clouding of the cornea.

Upon acute oral exposure, copper sulfate is only moderately toxic. According to studies, the lowest dose of copper sulfate that had a toxic impact on humans is 11 mg/kg. Because of its irritating effect on the gastrointestinal tract, vomiting is automatically triggered in case of the ingestion of copper sulfate. However, if copper sulfate is retained in the stomach, the symptoms can be severe. After 1–12 grams of copper sulfate are swallowed, such poisoning signs may occur as a metallic taste in the mouth, burning pain in the chest, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting, headache, discontinued urination, which leads to yellowing of the skin. In case of copper sulfate poisoning, injury to the brain, stomach, liver, or kidneys may also occur.


The International Agency for Research on Cancer, part of the World Health Organization, consider BHA to be possibly carcinogenic to humans, and the State of California has listed it as a carcinogen. Some studies show the same cancer causing possibilities for BHT.

Ok, I don't even want my dog eating this stuff, much less eat any insects that have been reared on it.  Too little is known about bio-accumulation of substances relating to insects meant for human consumption for me to feel confident in even a purging or flushing-out time.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Worm Reproduction Thoughts; E fetida vs E hortensis

Some thoughts on various earthworm reproduction.  This is not so much based on pure scientific trials and findings, rather from experiences and common sense deductions.

All earthworm species, to my current knowledge and including mostly for the purpose of discussion, the most popular bait and/or composting species, E fetida and E hortensis,  contain both male and female reproductive organs.  They do not fertilize themselves though, more like cross pollination of some plants.  At least two individual worms need to come together and exchange sperm which is stored in each respective worm for the use in reproduction.  If you raise worms you will undoubtedly see at one point or another, two worms all entertwined together so that they look much like a pretzel.  They are mating and sometimes three or more will all pile up into a big worm orgy!

Not to get into a big debate on which worm species reproduces the most and fastest, but to offer up an observance of particular worm habit and how it may be more of a factor in population density than just saying E fetida reproduces the fastest compared to E hortensis, which may be a deciding factor when considering what species of worm to acquire when desiring to raise worms for whatever purpose.

For the sake of fact, it is a fact that E fetida produces more offspring per cocoon and at a faster frequency than E hortensis, thus lending to the notion that they must be the worm of choice for the perspective worm farmer or home vermicomposter. But, I believe we need to consider natural habits and what is the desired end goal of the respective individual.

E fetida, AKA red wiggler, manure worm.  The natural habit of this particular worm in itself adds to the frequency and speed of its reproductive cycle.  They will naturally gather together in and under a food source such as a manure pile out in a pasture, said more to be "surface feeders".  They didn't gather together for the purpose of mating, rather their being together for the purpose of feeding makes it convenient that they should also easily find a mate with which to copulate as they cross paths in the food source.

On the other side of the coin we have E hortensis, AKA European Nightcrawler, a worm who's natural habit is to tunnel and burrow or come topside to crawl at night, finding food as it goes about and is in a much less favorable situation to happen across a mate.

When we desire to raise worms for whatever purpose, E fetida may seem like the natural choice versus E hortensis since we are providing an artificial environment that takes advantage of the natural habit but I believe when we also provide an artificial environment for other worm species which provides them with their requirements of food, moisture and air, by stocking in densities sufficient to provide a more commonplace "meeting" of two individuals, we may end up with more worm mass overall and greater composting efficiency since the size is greater of adult worms that are processing more foodstuffs by weight per individuals.

However, we can only have so many worms of either species in a given square ft of bedding right?  Well, E fetida will naturally inhabit mostly the top few inches of bedding versus E hortensis which will not only inhabit the top layers of bedding where their food supply is being concentrated but will also just as easily tunnel and burrow throughout the bedding and so I believe we can expect more worm mass overall per sq ft of bedding with E hortensis.  Both species will somewhat regulate their own population densities depending on available area and food supply and so I believe E hortensis is a superior worm all around for vermicomposting and bait raising applications, given that it also will excel in a wider range of temperature extremes than E fetida and is a much larger and robust bait worm.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Crunchewy Savory Crickets In Minutes!

This is quickly becoming a favorite quick bug prep of mine.  A cloudy day when there is no solar oven activity is perfect for some microwave action & crunchy yet chewy, savory crickets!  A couple of bonus beetles just makes them that much more better!

Gourmet Bugs Blog comment contributor Dave Gracer suggested a good way to de-appendage crickets and it works very well!  Freeze the crickets, I used a glass jar that was used to hold them refrigerated while collecting for a few days from my outdoor trap.

After they are frozen, shake the bag or jar they're in violently, I pounded the bottom edge of the jar against my free hand several times.  Every leg or otherwise appendage breaks off nicely.  Still, I pulled the hard wing sections from the beetles, much easier when frozen as they break right off.  A quick rinse in the collander and they're ready for nuking!

A dash of soy, tiny bit of butter and sprinkle of Cavenders Greek Seasoning, then microwave in three separate 30 second intervals, stirring in-between.  That's for my oven, times may vary.  I find for whatever reason, bugs heat up quickly in a microwave oven and it's easy to burn them if not careful.  This method makes them crunchy on the outside yet chewy like tender meat when eaten. Very yummy!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Making The Best Of It; Insect Rearing Naturally

Email reply to a friend...

I agree.  Many insects would benefit to be reared easily where it is much work to raise livestock.  Such would be example of say Texas, where it is drought conditions much of the time.  Money is wasted trying to grow crops and/or mammal livestock where grasshoppers flourish due to the climatic conditions, so they should rear grasshoppers instead. 

You said it yourself.  We can learn from the nature!  Look at all the open desert area where little or nothing is done by humans but insects would flourish with little resources added.  Being as I know little about insect rearing yet, like you say, horse sense prevails haha!  It just makes sense to match species specific insect rearing ventures to climatic conditions in which nature already provides, so little cost as possible is added into the facility design, be it vertical or horizontal.  We must work with nature to the best of our efforts.

Insects seem to do well on their own where natural conditions are to their benefit.  It is those conditions I believe we should study, where a particular insect multiplies and grows well and take advantage of it to produce more of that same insect, without much addition as possible.

When nature provides an abundance of insects such as would be considered a plague to man upon croplands for example as the locust.  Instead of chemical sprays or granular poisons or other eradication methods we should have teams of harvesters which go out and collect them for processing into usable proteins.

The large insect rearing facility for whatever species would be applicable, in my opinion, if it works with nature.  There may be a few places where this can be of benefit without invading on or using agricultural space for crops but I have no way to know if it could be done on a scale for worldwide benefit. 

It may be that individuals will have to come to the realization that some of their own living space is needed to provide for themselves.  We humans have more usable space I think on the whole then we like to admit.  It does not take much space in a dwelling for a small insect rearing design of vertical stacked trays such as I have done with mealworms and probably others have as well.  We have yards, balconies, rooftops, places to hang cages from, etc. 

I can ramble on with ideas without specifics forever.  I'm not a scientist but more like a poor common sense problem solver, using what materials I can find locally at the least amount of cost possible to fill a desired goal.   If I see a particular situation and learn of the factors involved needed to make it possible, then I would get a distinct vision of what to do. Sometimes it takes awhile for the pieces to come together.

I do not know much of what is in the world.  Have lived in a small town all of my life.  I do not know what is available everywhere but it all comes down I think to a basic principal I am forced to live by daily from necessity.  Make the best of what you have been given, wherever you are.  I see rearing insects as no different.  Some insects will do well where I am and with what I have to work with, with little addition required, some will not.  It is up to me to discover what will work is it not?  Then I may be able to say to others in my particular area of the world that they can do this or that. 

You are on a good path I think.  Keep thinking and keep looking at nature for answers.

Good day my friend.