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.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Thank You!

As of this very moment since February 15, 2012, Gourmet Bugs Blog has received 2,000 page views, not counting my own!  Stats list more countries than I care to mention or rather type haha!  I just wanted to say thank you to all who have stopped by and hope something here has helped you in some way. 

Soon, this blog will be moving and I'm not quite sure yet what it will be like but since partnering up with World Entomophagy things have only been getting better.  So I can only forsee better things in store for this blog as well.

Also soon and still in the works, yours truly is going to be taking a trip to Georgia or wherever it ends up being, to meet up with the World Entomophagy Team for some consulting and hands-on helping in setting up the vision of Harman Singh Johar, owner of World Entomophagy, who has been so kind, helpful and seen fit to add me to that vision, for which I will be forever thankful.

Nobody and I mean nobody in my entire life who was a complete and total stranger one day has ever so quickly and completely shown myself such a level of faith and trust as has Harman, and we have even yet to actually meet in person.  If this is what I can expect in the future then perhaps my confidence in mankind has been somewhat elevated.  Why I have had somewhat of a negative outlook is another story or stories I should say, but stories better left untold and focus on what is positive, good and beneficial for my family and all of mankind as I now see it.

These past weeks have been so interesting in so many ways.  My blogging is just a portion of it all.  Perhaps someday I will write a book.  To do that I think there needs to be a good ending so I will wait for that to share it all.  I just hate a story with a bad ending or one that leaves one hanging haha!

Oh have I done that?  Yes I have a few times in some of these blog articles.  Some I will see to completion to perhaps update and some I have completed but opt to not share the ending, not for the failure but for the possible success.  I personally will not succeed at the expense of others losing something they worked so hard for in such a narrow field and that's all I'm going to say about that for now.  I gave enough for it to be figured out by some if they so desire.  I'm heading in a different direction.

This is what I really like alot about Entomophagy.  It is so new and so much room for designing new and exciting things. Thousands of edible insects and we have only researched and proposed clean rearing designs for less than a few.  Room for discovery and a big enough market so that really, there is room for many new businesses and products.  Let us not get greedy right out of the gate eh!  Billions of potential customers, not very many suppliers.  Seems like a good situation to be in.  We really can make a difference in the world with education and working to supply a steady stream of clean, delicious, sustainable nutrition.  World Entomophagy and Gourmet Bugs, who would of ever thought?  Not this country boy.   :)

Fly Larvae / Spikes/ Fish Bait Update

Wanted to let you readers in on an update, who have shown interest in the article... 

Blue Bottle Fly Larvae / Spikes/ BSFL - Fish Bait - Human Food?

I conducted an experiment and the results positive, being that it is possible to raise fly larvae for fish bait on something that doesn't smell so bad.  I almost even cooked and tried them for food but the mess of beetles and grasshoppers won that day haha!  They actually didn't smell bad at all and probably would have tasted like they did smell, just like coffee.  Also, eating them would have been contrary to previous posts of mine which say I do not want to eat insects raised on dog or cat food but this method would probably work with any souring grains in place of the dog food, which is mostly grains anyway but there are other things in there I don't like the idea of.  Besides that I do not nor have I ever liked coffee.

All I did was mix old coffee grinds about 50/50 with dog food, moistened it, kept it moist and let it set out uncovered.  The flies did their thing and within a week I had thousands of fly larvae going at it.  The mixture never did stink as I would define it but smelled like coffee the whole time.  So did the larvae smell of coffee and tossing them in the lake was no different than any larvae reared on fish guts.  The fish went nuts and gobbled down every one in short order.

Harvesting was fairly simple and came quickly as fly larvae do not take long at all to develop.  A sample cup of the material containing larvae was dumped onto a piece of window screen and sprayed with a water hose.  All the food residue went through the screen and all the larvae were there, clean and ready to go into a cup of dry sawdust.  Though I picked them off the screen by hand, a daunting task, it would be easy with hindsight to tilt the screen and pour them into a trough of sorts, perhaps a lengthwise cut piece of PVC pipe with sawdust to then pour into a container or fold the screen, making an easy to pour shape but my screen was on a rigid frame.

Have at it spikers!  Grow all the good smelling fly larvae you want and good fishing.  You hardcore Entomophagists might find these a tasty addition to your snacking but I'm sticking with what I know is good for now haha!


Monday, April 9, 2012

Eating Insects May Not Be A Choice

I'm from a small Southern town where people generally live all their lives and for the most part "could be" self-sustaining if they had to.  Sometimes it's hard to imagine going to the grocery store and not being able to buy a package of meat or as some I can think of would likely say something like "I'd hunt and fish if it came down to it."  Fine and good but likely in reality if it came down to it, there would be alot of other people hunting and fishing for necessity and soon, what game and fish there are would be gone or so scarce it would take more resources and energy to find any than would be gained from a small and short term successful outing.

Small town folk sometimes have a hard time seeing and realizing just how big the world is and how many people there are.  Honestly it is for me while sitting here writing this.  I've been reading alot lately on projections of populations versus food supplies and it's not a very pretty picture.  The climate is not helping much either by helping us with crops and we have so polluted the lakes and oceans as well as overfished...well it just doesn't look good at all.  If it's not a flood it's a drought or late freeze.  The world is changing and we have to adjust or starve.

I see England is saying for their population to get ready to be eating insects full scale by 2020.  Folks, that's only eight years away and if the video I saw today of one irate English lady is any indication of the populace overall acceptance, they have a long way to go in winning people over to the thought of eating bugs!

Just in the last few months of my entering into the practice of Entomophagy I have witnessed many newcomers just like myself.  They are all saying basically the same things and have pretty much the same convictions.  We see insects as they are, sustainable nutrition that turns out to actually taste delicious when prepared properly and not too bad when just cooked plain! 

I like to keep things real.  Gathering as much information as possible about something when an interest takes up residence in my head is not always a pleasant learning experience.  Learning, I mean really learning of the actual state of the world protein supply is not something I counted on.  One kind of hears through various media about this or that food shortage but again, in a small town where there is ample land for gardening, open spaces, ponds and lakes with fish and woods with deer, turkey and other wildlife, not to mention driving by pastures full of cattle, one might not really get a grasp on the gravity of the situation.

We are running out of food.  "We" being the entire human race. We have to do something.

When one looks at insects as food and then figures in some of the factors which are only adding to our current state of being, we only will see that mass production of insects is the answer.  It takes much less space and resources versus conventional livestock to gain equal amounts of nutrition with much less environmental impact.

Here's the scenario I see it coming down to.  Meat from mammals is going to become a luxury and a thing one will need to be situated in the wealthy class to enjoy on a regular basis.  It already is for many.  Everyone else, well, we are going to either have to get used to alternative protein sources, do without, become a cattle rustler or win a lottery!  I'm glad I already have gotten over the fear and found out I like insects as much as if not more than the finest meat I ever have eaten. I'm glad I know where my family needs can and will come from.

I would not lie to anyone for the sake of selling a single bug.  Hey, I've given away enough info here for practically anyone in the world reading could find or rear their own supply of Gourmet Bugs.  If it actually comes down to it I'm probably going to be rearing them to support and supply my family with food before even considering selling any and I have a very large family with my better half' side figured in haha!

Insects are delicious, no kidding.  You might want to try to get over it and get ready now and be used to the idea. It might not be a choice for much longer. You may be like me and find yourself choosing insects over whatever else if given a choice. Right now I could just as easily have a bucket of beetles and grasshoppers as any other kind of meat. :)

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Improved Cricket Trap

My first cricket trap caught a few crickets but nothing to get excited about. The adhesive backed sandpaper ramps did not fare very well outside in rainy weather and came undone.   Still a bit cold out at night but I see alot of crickets while mowing.  It should be possible to trap them!  Well, it's not only possible now with an improved cricket trap but reality...

A dozen caught the first night out with this new trap design. It's not just a cricket trap but also catches other nocturnal insects without the need for electric lighting that go into a separate container from the crickets.

The same bait was used in the first trap but didn't produce this many crickets the entire several weeks it was being used so it must be something about the trap they prefer to the other. 

These are mostly female crickets. Soon to begin trials of a frass-free Clean Bug System cricket enclosure that will in theory go straight from rearing and propagating more crickets to freezing without ever having to open the enclosure except for vacuuming out any mortality or until ready to prepare the whole lot.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Frass Thoughts

Lots of insects = lots of Frass (Wikipedia). "Frass is the fine powdery material phytophagous (plant-eating) insects pass as waste after digesting plant parts.[1] It causes plants to excrete chitinase due to high chitin levels, it is a natural bloom stimulant, and has high nutrient levels. Frass is known to have abundant amoeba, beneficial bacteria, and fungi content. Frass is a microbial inoculant, also known as a soil inoculant, that promotes plant health using beneficial microbes. It is a large nutrient contributor to the rainforest, and it can often be seen in leaf mines.

Bug poop.  We're going to be having lots of it to deal with.  Purpose of this article is to point out the beneficial properties of it as applicable to soil ammendments, not just something to gather and toss away.

I just left a steaming hot compost pile after having added a five gallon pail of fish parts donated by a relative.  It's only just a little over a week old but countless beneficial aerobic bacteria are already doing their thing.  Although it contains much of what most people wouldn't dare touch, much less think about composting, I know that thermophilic heat caused by these bacteria is going to render this pile as pasteurized and completely harmless in a very short time.

"How did I do it?", one might ask if they are interested in making compost and have searched the web for the perfect formula to get a compost pile up and working.  There is alot of info out there, some free and some supposedly magical things that one pays for, only to discover that one fell for yet more hype designed to prompt one into entering their credit card info for the latest and greatest secret formula.

The secret to making great compost is simply a correct ratio of carbons to nitrogens, or browns and greens, commonly seen as C:N (2:1 for thermophilic composting) and lots of beneficial microbes to start the process, ample moisture and keeping the material aerated or aerobic. The more microbes we start with, the faster we start making compost.  So what can we use for a quick start?...

First paragraph... "Frass is a microbial inoculant".  In fact, any aerobic manure that has not dried out, from any creature, may be considered as a microbial inoculant as far as I know and that being commonly known farm animals and/or earthworms.  "Already made" compost that has not been allowed to dry out is also a great microbial inoculant.  That is what I use and have used for years in maintaining ongoing compost piles at my work place.  I simply run the finished compost through a sifter to get what I want and recycle the larger particles as the carbon source added to fresh material and as a cover after adding the fresh carbon/nitrogen mixture to help keep pest flies to a minimum.

There is some debate on traditional composting concerning practices of aerating or turning the pile and how often it should be done.  My thoughts and practice on that, it depends on the contents of the pile and the duration of the activity of the microbes or heating cycle.  If a pile has alot of bulky material that provides air to the pile, it needs less turning frequency than a compact pile made of small particles.  Mostly experience and practice will tell one when it's time.  If foul odors develop such as septic, sewer and/or strong ammonia, it is certainly time since that would be an indication of anaerobic activity.

Insect frass, while considered by some to be waste and is a common problem to deal with in insect rearing operations as an allergen to workers and possible disease vector and definitely an odorous substance is a valuable commodity and should be considered as part of the whole when setting up and maintaining an insect rearing operation.

My initial thoughts at the beginning of this blog have proven to be correct via research though not so much yet through experience simply because we have not generated large quantities of frass yet.  However, the first test run of the Clean Bug System with a screen bottom mealworm enclosure over composting worms did indeed run the course through one-thousand mealworms pupating, with no offensive odors and no mold issues of the mealworm bedding in close proximity to moist worm bedding below.  The worms happily made all frass and bedding residue falling through the screen disappear as it was generated.  They in turn will only add to the beneficial microbial content of the insect frass as they generate rich worm castings that can be sold or used as one desires.

The only possible negative issue I see in the initial Clean Bug System trial is the propagation of mites in/on the moist worm bin material possibly affecting the contents of the mealworm population directly above it.  We expected possible contamination of mites being brought in with the initial worm purchase and we dealt with it via diatomaceous earth as a natural mite remedy which appears to have been successful, but I personally would rather to not need to even have to deal with controlling mites in insect bedding and opt for a better design which is simply a complete physical separation of the insect population above from the composting worm bedding below.

No problem.  When one looks at a commercial composting earthworm operation with rows upon rows of earthworms, just imagine suspended rows of screen or larger mesh bottom enclosures, depending on the insect frass size above or a simple vacuum system to collect insect frass from dedicated insect rearing rooms and be deposited in nearby dedicated composting worm facilities.  My original concept of an outdoor grasshopper enclosure suspended over a grass bed containing earthworms would be a good example of the former I think.  It could be the same indoors having cages suspended from the ceiling with worm beds on the floor and artificial lighting or greenhouse construction to meet the lumination needs of the grasshoppers.

Whatever we finally end up doing, be assured it will deal with insect frass in a positive way for all factors involved in the rearing of whatever insect.  When life gives you poop, make compost!  The alternative is what man has devised over the years which has turned out to be, at least in my mind, two of the worst inventions ever in the history of modern times, the practice of heaping waste into holes dug into the earth that contaminates our ground water supplies and the use of clean water to transport waste water to treatment facilities.  The choice to me is a no-brainer.  :)


Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Gathering Native Nightcrawlers

This is a flood generated pile of debris on a local creek bank.  It's in a shady spot and perfect this time of year for gathering native nightcrawlers just under the debris...

In about an hour I gathered approximately a thousand worms just by raking back the debris and picking them up by the handfull at times.  Here they are added to my home worm bin in the ground with sifted compost and a bit of sand ready for them to process further into castings...

If I didn't know better, some of these worms look more like Eisenia hortensis than the natives but the coloring is off.  They have the flattened tail like E hortensis but a blue-reddish coloring like the young natives but no yellowish striping in the tail.  I always heard that worm species would habitat together but not propagate a hybrid. Who knows?  Close to if not a million E hortensis were dispersed years ago in this particular area by a flood and I have found some that are definitely E hortensis without a doubt and natives likewise.  Maybe this is a new worm?

Any case, they are now residents of the dug-in yard worm bin.  Going back for more until I get tired of gathering! :)

Nature's Balance In Insect Rearing?

Having read some of the so far excellent book, Principles and Procedures for Rearing High Quality Insects , I wonder about something that didn't quite set well with me awhile back when experimenting with raising mushrooms indoors, (Mycology, the science of fungi).

They said it could not be done, that is the online hobby mycologists.  There are certain "rules" that are accepted among groups of people who do certain things and sterile procedure in hobby mycology as well as professional mycology is a must.  If one deviates from the norm, they are usually scoffed at and outcast or called a liar or very lucky if they succeed in doing anything without following protocol.

If one has been following my blog, one surely must have figured out by now that I sometimes do not follow the politically correct path in doing things.  Where's the fun in that?  The sense of adventure and discovery?  I hope to never be accused of fitting in a mass production mold but I will admit at times and depending on one's goals, the proven method is usually the best and fastest way to reach success with any venture.

What did they say could not be done?  Well, it was simply an experiment with bringing nature indoors instead of trying to battle the enemy by creating the perfect conditions in which it thrives.  Contamination in the form of various molds is the enemy of the mycologist.  What I could not get them to realize and believe is that they create the very thing which they fight in providing the perfect environment for such.  How is it that mushrooms grow in nature without any help from we who think we have figured out the perfect scenarios?  There is balance where the good naturally wins if conditions are to the good's detriment or we would all cease to exist on this planet.

It's all about anaerobic(bad) versus aerobic (good) bacteria or otherwise known as beneficial microbes that thrive in the presence of ample food, moisture and oxygen, as far as mycology is concerned anyway and I'm wondering if it applies to Entomology as well in rearing insects in captivity and in large sterile conditions.

I just a few minutes ago witnessed something that fits perfectly with this as I walked along in search of a place to gather native worms to stock my newly dug worm bed at home.  The area at my workplace where there are old sludge drying pits that are big squared off brick border sand pits that adult grasshoppers find the perfect place to deposit their eggs.  There are at least many thousands of newly hatched grasshoppers all over the place in the pits and outside the brick borders as the baby hoppers are scaling the short walls to find their home for the next several weeks in the ample grasses.  Here's one in my worm bucket next to a penny...

Tiny and cute little fella eh?  Hard to imagine in a few weeks I'm probably going to be catching and eating this little dude or selling him/her as fish bait haha!  These many baby hoppers hatched without any help from me or anyone else on this earth but they had help.

The point I'm getting at is in nature there is a balance that begins at the basic of levels with microbes that are continually in a war.  When the conditions are so that the beneficial microbes can flourish and outnumber the bad microbes then all is good with the world we have created to do whatever it is we want to do such as growing mushrooms from spores in a flower pot of aerobic worm castings inside a house full of mold spores without any sterile procedure at all.

How is rearing insects any different than growing mushrooms?  I don't ask that in a smart-assed sort of way, I really don't know but plan to learn if there is a difference.   We create these enclosures to rear insects indoors in sterile conditions or as close to sterile as we can get with hepa filtration and the whole nine yards just like mycology.  Watch out!  When we alter the environment for keeping out the badness we also are removing that in which the good can thrive and if badness comes in, what is there to do battle with it?  Chemicals?  Radiation? Hmmm.  In my experience, badness will find a way in and often by then it's too late to win and one must then start over.

I don't want to close nature out, rather, I want to learn to work with it.  It has gotten it right for countless generations and so who am I to argue with success on that level?  The strong has survived and evolved but they did it not alone.  A whole host of tiny things we often take for granted made it possible.  At least that's what I think.  To apply it to my desires may be opening a whole new big can of worms. :) 


Solar Gourmet Bug Thoughts

Would like to first welcome a new blog member, William Ray Yeager. Hi William!  William as you can see by the link is COO at, from what I can tell is a startup business in the Entomophagy field.  I'm honored you feel my blog worthy of following. :)

More and more, people in what may be considered as non-entomophagy countries such as North America and Europe are slowly accepting the practice.  Why not, I mean it just makes perfect sense when you figure in all the variables such as sustainability, nutrition, earth friendly, etc.  There's many more benefits to list about raising and eating insects but I want to talk about other stuff too.

I'm a designer of useful things.  That's what my mind does all the time, vision things of a particular nature in relation to something I've taken an interest in and like my new blog member William, I tend to try and solve problems as they are presented as an obstacle.  Today and the past several days it's solar related.

When we consider sustainability and how insects can and already do play a big part in helping to feed hungry people all over the world, solar devices just seem to make sense as being a key addition and partner in building an Entomophagy related business. 

In those very parts of the world where eating insects is more of a necessity than a growing trend like here in America, there are also considerations I think we need to take into account when saying we want to help curb world hunger.  Many or most of the people who eat insects out of necessity could probably make use of some inexpensive technology that allows them to harness the power of the sun in preparing their meals, versus having to walk-about to gather wood to make a fire or purchase charcoal made in earthen vessels because all the fire fuel is used up, which leads to cutting more trees, if there are trees to cut.

I became very interested in reflective solar cookers last year.  They simply amaze me!  How one can take some aluminum foil or mylar potato chip bags and turn them into something that can cook a meal is way cool...or hot, however one wants to look at it.  It's clean, sustainable, smart and practically free energy.  Solar Cookers at Cantina West is my choice for all things solar cooking.  Lot's of pictures and pages of homemade DIY projects.  There may even be a picture or two of my solar projects there from last year if you look hard enough! :)

Reflective solar ovens can be effectively built, as expensive or inexpensive and one desires and have great results once the basic concepts are realized.  Having spent the last few days fiddling around with one of my reflective cookers as a bug collector/dehydrator I have stumble upon yet another revelation in solar oven design that has seemingly escaped every reflective design I have seen, so I'm being busy in building this new solar oven I think will be a great addition to my future business.

Part of my future business will be building these fold-up, compact, inexpensive reflective solar ovens and supplying them to people who have a real need for them in places where they are a necessity such as where my daughter and her family are currently serving/working as missionaries in Belize, Central America and other underdeveloped countries, as well as right here in America. I would like to make it so that people can purchase one or more cookers to be made and sent to wherever it is they desire to help folks out who have a need and we can do that through current missions in progress.

What if one could fill a pot with some food items needing cooked in the morning and just set it out in the sun, without having the need to turn or otherwise align the reflector as the sun travels across the sky from morning to evening and then bring a hot, steaming meal in for the family without ever having to gather wood or build a fire?  Think that might come in handy to some?  I sure do and it's this purpose that drives me, to help somebody help themselves.  That my friends is the purpose we all should live for, helping our fellows, be in here or anywhere in the world.

What if that same device could be made so with various accessories to not only cook whatever one desires but also to use the power of the sun to auto-collect insects during the night and cook them the following day, to be separated and eaten or fed to fish or other livestock, without ever having to put in a battery or wire a switch? :)


Monday, April 2, 2012

Delicious Beetles!

The beetles pictured above were cooked/dehydrated for several hours in a 200+F solar cooker with no flavorings of any kind added.  They tasted exactly like unpopped popcorn kernels!  Although the legs and hard wing parts were also brittle, I find they taste better with those parts removed and it's easy when they are this crunchy-dry...

Although it's sort of hard to remove the hard wing parts without also removing the head with them.  Don't worry, they didn't go to waste haha!

So now I have had these beetles cooked three ways. Boiled with seasoning, dehydrated without seasoning and today I found the clear winner.  Marinated in soy with Cavenders Greek Seasoning in the fridge for a few hours and then microwaved with a small bit of butter in thirty second increments, stirring in between cook times until crunchy. I love the seared part of a good steak along the edges where the fat is.  That to me is the ultimate in steak flavor and a great steak needs no sauce!  Well, I have to honestly say these beetles cooked as described have that very same exact flavor and I also had some crickets to go with them but prefer the beetles!

People who have never eaten insects absolutely do not know what they are missing! Finger lickin good I say!  I'm thinking wow, why did I wait so long to get brave enough?  I'm also thinking now that it might not be so good an idea if alot of people discover how good these really are haha! :)