Insects are likely to be the survivor’s most reliable source of animal food. Although usually very small they occur almost everywhere and are often so plentiful that enough for a meal can easily be gathered.

Pound for pound they give more food value than vegetables. They’re rich in protein, fat and carbohydrates, especially the larvae (grubs). See Insect Nutrition Facts.

The most useful are termites, ants, beetles, grasshoppers, locusts, crickets, honeybees, caterpillars and various aquatic insects.

Harvesting
Many insects are inactive during the day, however most will emerge when it rains. They can usually be found in nooks and crannies of trees and behind the bark, or in the seedpods of plants and in almost any moist shady spot. Ants and termites are easily identified by the mounds they create.

Beetle grubs are among the more nutritious and useful insect for food. They range from tiny pale larvae to 7” grub sausages. They can be found behind the bark of trees and in decaying stumps.

Warnings
It is important to only collect living specimens. Avoid any that look sick (how could you tell, right?) or dead. Edible insects should not smell (too) bad or produce skin irritation when handled.

You should also avoid insects that feed on dead animals or dung – they are likely to carry infection.

As with most life forms on earth, the brightly coloured ones likely carry some kind of poison and should be avoided.

Insects that live on the underside of plant leaves are often poisonous.

Preparation
Most insects can be eaten raw and are usually more nutritious that way. However, boiling is probably the safest method of cooking, as it will kill most bacteria and parasites. Insects may also be roasted using an open flame, rocks heated by a fire, a frying pan or in an oven.

Remove the legs and wings from larger insects. Like hair, they provide little to no nutritional value and can actually block the digestive tract. Remove the armour-like casing from beetles and squeeze the innards out of hairy caterpillars.

Smaller insects, like ants and termites can be mashed into a paste and used to augment other foods or soups. This is especially useful for people who are adverse to eating insects.


Sources:
The SAS Survival Handbook, Harper Collins, 1996
My Russian brother in-law who freaks us out with the shit he eats.

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