Edible Insects

Insects are arthropods that have a chitinous exoskeleton, a three-part body (head, thorax, and abdomen), three pairs of jointed legs, compound eyes, and one pair of antennae. They are among the most diverse groups of animals on the planet, including more than a million described species and representing more than half of all known living organisms.

Many insects, such as fleas, cockroaches, and wasps, are considered pests by humans because they can transmit diseases, inflict pain, or cause damaging infestations. However many insects also play very important roles in our ecosystem as being beneficial for our economy. Beneficial uses for insects include honey from bees, silk from silkworms, and many harmless insects help to control and reduce populations of harmful insects that can destroy crops.

Connecticut has a wide variety of insects including various beetles, ants, spiders, dragonflies, butterflies, and just about every other family of insect. In the winter, many insects can be a nuisance as they seek shelter from the cold inside homes. In the summer, insects including cicadas and crickets can be easily heard droning loudly, and perhaps Connecticut's most interesting insect, the firefly, (aka lightning bug) lights up the night for children to chase and collect in jars.


 
Camponotus pennsylvanicus
Common Name: Black carpenter ant
Considered edible, but not recommended unless it's a survival situation. Tastes like vinegar due to the presence of acids. Warnings!

Dissosteira carolina
Common Name: Carolina grasshopper
While not commonly consumed in the United States, grasshoppers are edible and consumed in other parts of the world. They must be cooked to prevent pathogens and the legs should be removed before eating. There is information available online on how to properly prepare grasshoppers for eating.

Melanoplus bivittatus
Common Name: Two-striped grasshopper
While not commonly consumed in the United States, grasshoppers are edible and consumed in other parts of the world. They must be cooked to prevent pathogens and the legs should be removed before eating. There is information available online on how to properly prepare grasshoppers for eating.

Melanoplus femurrubrum
Common Name: Red-legged grasshopper
While not commonly consumed in the United States, grasshoppers are edible and consumed in other parts of the world. They must be cooked to prevent pathogens and the legs should be removed before eating. There is information available online on how to properly prepare grasshoppers for eating.

Melanoplus punctulatus
Common Name: Pine tree spur-throat grasshopper
While not commonly consumed in the United States, grasshoppers are edible and consumed in other parts of the world. They must be cooked to prevent pathogens and the legs should be removed before eating. There is information available online on how to properly prepare grasshoppers for eating.

Melanoplus sanguinipes
Common Name: Migratory Grasshopper
While not commonly consumed in the United States, grasshoppers are edible and consumed in other parts of the world. They must be cooked to prevent pathogens and the legs should be removed before eating. There is information available online on how to properly prepare grasshoppers for eating.

Neotibicen canicularis
Common Name: Dog-day cicada
Cicadas are edible and have been compared to shrimp. There is some reported concern about high levels of mercury, possibility of choking on the hard body parts, and potential allergic reaction.

Schistocerca alutacea
Common Name: Leather-colored bird grasshopper
While not commonly consumed in the United States, grasshoppers are edible and consumed in other parts of the world. They must be cooked to prevent pathogens and the legs should be removed before eating. There is information available online on how to properly prepare grasshoppers for eating.