Edible Bugs

Imagine being lost in the Boundary Waters. Your boat has an extremely large hole in it and you are unable to patch it, you just ate the last of your dehydrated food. It could be days maybe weeks before another group passes by to help. What are you going to do to survive? Could you handle eating a bug? Here is a list of edible bugs you can eat that are located right here in northern Minnesota that can help you survive.

Remember when preparing your bug dinner never eat any bug raw. Sushi -insects can cause you to become extremely ill, due to the fact that insects can carry parasites and bacteria.


Ants are easy to find and are located just about everywhere in the woods. Although I personally have never eaten an ant or any bug; other than the occasional gnat that flies into my month unwillingly, they are said to have a sour flavor. This is because when an ant feels threatened it secretes an acid that gives it a sour flavor. The best was to catch ants, find an ant hill and poke a stick into the hill and wait for it to be engrossed with ants. Then shake the ants off into a container of water.  Once you have collected well over a 100 ants you can boil them for six minutes and they are ready to be eaten. If you are looking for more of a crunch to your meal you can fry them instead of boiling them.


If you are lost in the woods there is bound to a downed tree with a tremendous number of termites living inside. Once you peel back the bark and find the termites grab or shake them out quickly. They are like vampires in the way that they hate the light. Once a termite sees light it is their natural instinct to want to burrow deeper into the wood to avoid light at all costs. To prepare them roast them in a dry pan.

Grasshoppers and Crickets

Grasshoppers and crickets are an excellent source of protein and are easily located in tall grassy areas, trees and shrubs. Catching grasshoppers and crickets in the morning when they are moving at a slower speed can make the chase far easier.  Another easy way to catch grasshoppers or crickets is by burying a jar or bottle in the ground. Place a small piece of rotten fruit or some other bait in the bottom of the container. Wait until morning and you should have yourself a cricket/ grasshopper buffet in the morning.  The best way to prepare these buggers (did you catch the pun?) is by removing the head and legs and then either roasting or pan frying.

Earth Worms

Worms are easy and plentiful to find after a large rain fall. But, how do you find them if it is not raining? One reason why earth worms are so easy to find after a large storm is because the vibration of the rain hitting the earth triggers the worms to want to come closer to the surface of the ground.  By stomping or pounding on the ground before digging for earth warms you can increasing your chances of finding more worms. Once you find worms purge them of the dirt inside their body. This will improve the flavor making them a tastier treat.  You can do this by soaking them in water for 3-24 hours or you can hand squeeze the dirt out with your fingers. Best way to eat worms is by drying them,  this mellows the flavor or you can fry them.


Grub a dub dub,  grubs in my tums. Grubs are disgusting to look at however, are considered to be one of the tastier bugs because of their diet. The best place to find grubs are in rotting downed trees or under decomposing leaf piles. Best way to prepare them are to skewer them length wise and cook over a fire until the skin is crispy.


If you are brave enough to venture down this path, maggots have been eaten by many cultures. Maggots are extremely fatty and high in amino acids making them a better choice for you to eat nutritionally than lean meat.   You can find maggots on rotting carcass. Best way to prepare them are by frying them. Some people will squish them and use them as a spread almost like jelly on toast.

Bees and Wasps

Yes you can eat these, if you can catch one without being stung. Cut off the stingers and cook well.

Snails and Slugs

I would only eat them as last resort due to a few reasons. One is they are just not that easy to find and the other reason is the chances of getting sick after eating these guys are high. This is because snails and slugs often eat plants and mushrooms that are toxic to humans.  If you find a slug or snail you can trap them and feed them plants you know that are not toxic to you for a few days and this will help to remove any previous toxins the slug/snail may have eaten.  Another way to en- sure the snail/slug is safe to eat is to steam them for five or ten minutes and remove from the shell then slit up the belly and remove the cooked entrails.

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