In Greek éntomon is insect and to eat is phagein which is how the word entomophagy was derived. The consumption of insects by humans is known by this word, but animals that eat insects are known as insectivores. Certain carnivorous plants also trap and imbibe insects.

How many of us have observed insects carefully? Their bodies consist of head, thorax, abdomen, legs, eyes and antennae. No doubt, perfection personified. Tiny and delicate, the slightest touch can harm their limbs or wings, bringing their lives to an end.

Yet, most insects are considered pests, and that’s why insecticides and pesticides came into being.

Biologists say ant, bee and termite societies have evolved in a way that only some can reproduce. The majority that can not are the ones who work for the collective goals of their colonies. Labour is distributed and carried out by different groups among them. And, this has been going on for millions of years. They do not like intrusion and bite in defence.

Bumblebees are considered intelligent insects by scientists who say they are smart learners and have nearly 1,000,000 brain cells, compared with about 250,000 brain cells in the fruit fly.


Few know that there is a Fireflies Festival organised by the Maharashtra Tourism Development Corporation. Tourists flock to Bhandardhara to see the magnificent fireflies and glow worms which are visible in the night sky only during the short pre-monsoon period. However, in 2022 there was an appeal to ban such festivals from a botanist of Kolhapur because of the adverse effect on the fireflies whose breeding season was between mid-May and mid-June. The use of flash/torch lights, cameras and loud music disturbed their mating rituals.

Interestingly, figs and fig wasps have also been inseparable for millions of years because the wasps are the plant’s sole pollinators. Figs are actually flowers that grow inwards. The figs from the male trees produce pollen, and the figs from the female trees are the edible ones.

When a female wasp enters a male fig it easily lays eggs. The males that hatch, after impregnating the females, usually die inside or escape with difficulty because they are wingless; but the female wasps that hatch get out easily carrying pollen and continue the cycle of laying eggs.

When a female wasp enters a female fig she gets trapped, is unable to escape, but before she dies from exhaustion, she lays eggs. Therefore, this fig lands up containing at least one dead female wasp. The fig absorbs the dead insect and it becomes a part of the ripened fruit. Without it, the fig will not ripen or be edible. This is why some vegetarians and vegans do not eat figs.

The figs that are commercially grown and sold in India are:

Common or edible figs produced parthenocarpically – that is without the aid of fig wasps or pollination. The varieties of figs that fall under this category are called Poona, Conardia, Mission Kadota and Brown Turkey.

Capri figs and wild figs are not edible but these male trees are grown for the sole purpose of pollination with fig wasps, without which Smyrna figs can not be produced. The main variety of figs thus produced is called Calimyrna.

Lastly, the first crop of San Pedro figs, known as Breba, is parthenocarpic, but the main or second crop is pollinated by wasps like the Smyrna figs.

Plant Secrets

There are more than 750 known carnivorous plant species that consume insects for nitrogen and other nutrients.

Fungi can also be carnivorous like certain species of mushrooms. The oyster mushroom is primarily a wood decay fungus (white rot) and it traps nematodes (roundworms) and spiders using droplets of toxin that paralyse and kill. The creatures are then digested and nutrients and nitrogen absorbed by the mushrooms. (The commonly available button mushrooms are not carnivorous fungi.)


Butterflies are beautiful insects that fly. They have huge, colourful wings attached to their bodies consisting of a head, thorax and abdomen, as well as antennae and compound eyes.

Like bees, butterflies are important to the ecosystem because they are pollinators. Why then do people commercially exploit them?

That the global turnover of the butterfly house industry is USD 100 million proves that butterflies are grossly exploited by breeding, exhibiting and trading.

A butterfly house is actually a place that keeps captive butterflies, moths and other insects. It is a place where they are bred.

Butterfly houses are growing in number in tropical countries like India. They could be conservatories or farms. Both are bad. Conservatories, lepidopterariums, sanctuaries, parks, gardens, zoos, all pose risks to biodiversity; what’s more, butterfly farming is unethical.

Shockingly, butterflies can be ordered online abroad. The spectacular Monarch is largely used by companies for butterfly releases, as well as the Painted Lady. They are delivered frozen in ice packs and need to be stored thus before they are released for an event such as a wedding or funeral. Preserved (read dead) butterflies are used as decorations too. Farming, hibernating, shipping and finally releasing them is cruel. Butterfly releases are no different to bird releases. The captured creatures fly up into the sky and eventually die due to some reason or another. Some people opt for a compassionate way by using faux butterflies for events wherein the guests have to open the folded tissues containing these faux butterflies so that they “flutter” out!

Butterfly collections are no longer passé. But, the cruel trade in butterflies continues. There are businesses that kill and turn butterflies and bugs into items. Colourful and beautiful butterflies are converted into jewellery and knick knacks, some encased or embedded in plastic or resin, some framed behind glass. For example, “one-of-a-kind” pair of earrings and necklaces are made with actual whole butterfly wings sandwiched between two thin pieces of glass with metal shaped around.

Butterfly ornaments, paper weights, pen stands and key chains may look pretty, but not upon knowing that they represents capture, torture and death. Another method is 24kt gold or silver dipped jewellery and display items made by electroforming, a process that uses a matrix/mandrel which could be a real butterfly, insect, flower, leaf or seashell. It is an extremely cruel process because the delicate live creatures’ beauty is frozen with a thin metal ‘skin’ on its entire surface. Insects such as dragonflies, beetles and scorpions aren’t spared either – they too are killed and converted into jewellery and other items.

Talking of jewellery, there is a centuries’ old cruel custom of in Mexico, Central and South America that involves wearing bejewelled makech or maquech beetles as living pendants or roach brooches. The bugs that have rhinestones stuck on them are fixed to a gold chain or leash so that they can walk around on the wearer. If taken care of well these beetles are said to live 3 to 4 years – and suffer for that long.

Dying for Dyes

In India, cochineal, the red colour derived from a Mexican cactus insect parasite, is banned in foods, but is permitted as an ingredient in medicines, cosmetics and hair oils! Only the females are utilised: killed by immersing in hot water, then dried and crushed to produce a fine, red powder.

In some countries, cochineal is listed on edible products as a “natural food colouring” (E120) Synonyms are red bug, cantharidine, carminic acid (natural red 4) carmine (aluminium chelate of carminic acid) and crimson lake.

Up to 70,000 cochineal insects are killed to produce half a kilogram of crimson dye used to colour fabrics such as the traditional woollen Jamawar shawls. Kermes, kermesic acid or chermes (meaning crimson in Farsi) and Polish cochineal consist of similar crushed and dried insects, also used to dye fabrics.

As many as 300,000 lac insects are killed to produce just one kilogram of shellac. That’s why the insects and 100,000 are both called lac! The shellac resin consists of lac larvae, insect parts and wings. Shellac is a permitted ingredient (E904) in foods. In fact, it is used in an unimaginable number of products ranging from glazing on confectionery to sealing wax to furniture polish.

Chinese insect/tree wax or simply named Chinese wax derived from scale insects, is used chiefly in the manufacture of polishes, candles and ointments.

Some of the galls produced by insects are called Allepo, Mecca, Chinese or Turkey galls. They are produced on various species of oaks and other trees by certain Eurasian cynipid wasps. Those harvested in Iran, Turkey and Syria contain more than 50% tannic acid and are considered the best. These galls, used in parts of Asia to make dyes and medicines, are also processed for use in tanning, ink and pharmaceutical industries. Their chief active principles are the astringent, tannic and gallic acids.            

Red sans Insects

Cochineal red is an azo dye (E124) which has nothing to do with actual cochineal and is vegan (coal tar), but it is named so since it produces a similar red colour. Red aniline dyes like No 2 and No 40 (coal tar, again) used in place of cochineal in foods and drinks are believed to be carcinogenic.

Urushiol-based lacquers utilised in China and Japan, are derived from trees. Fresh urushiol resin is very allergenic (drinking its tea can turn fatal); however, thitsi the Burmese lacquer-yielding tree from which thitsiol and laccol are made, does not cause allergic reactions.

Despite vegetable, mineral and petroleum based waxes being readily available, wax from insects is utilised in many applications. A corn protein called zein can be used as a good substitute where high gloss is desired. Nitrocellulose and acrylic lacquers are also alternatives for shellac.

Pomegranate, annatto seeds, madder roots, beetroot, paprika fruits, cutch heartwood (katha consumed in paan), and red onion skins, produce red colours which can easily replace insect dyes.

Commerce overrules Compassion

No different to shellac production, India is also foremost in silk output and bee keeping is fast expanding, both insect-derived.


Bees have always been exploited by man for honey and other bee products. Upon knowing that for a teaspoonful of honey, a bee has to make about 10,000 trips to a flower, some people have given up honey.


The first National Bee Day was celebrated on February 5, 2012. Experts felt that bees being natural pollinators should be used for enhancing agricultural productivity and cited a study which revealed that 15 of 16 crops tracked yielded more due to the presence of bee boxes. There is a growing demand to give the honey bee (to be chosen against the cockroach and mosquito both of which are ironically considered pests and so exterminated) the status of the national insect. If this happens can we not demand that we stop exploiting bees for honey? India’s national animal is the tiger and national bird the peacock and we do not farm them for their products.

hen there is silk: to produce 100 grams of pure silk, approximately 1,500 chrysalises are killed. In conventional silk the worm within the cocoon is boiled alive and is part of the silk produced, whereas in so-called “ahimsa silk” although the cocoons used contain no worms, the moths that emerged from them are always destroyed.

Those who kill, eat or sell insects prepare them unfeelingly: live insects are washed in a colander covered with a screen to prevent escape, rinsed and drained. Then stuffed into a bag and kept in the freezer for 15-20 minutes – long enough to slow them down, but not kill them. They are immediately roasted or boiled alive. If they are not frozen first their heartrending cries of fear and pain probably make the perpetrator feel guilty.

In Jinan, China, 55 tons of the city’s kitchen waste is fed to a billion cockroaches daily. After they die they are fed to livestock. They could even be used for making stomach treatment medicine or for beauty treatments.

Farmers of Maharashtra have begun catching, killing and selling white grub beetles which pose a threat to their sugarcane plants. The beetles lay eggs on fields around June which hatch in a fortnight. The larvae live for 7 months and chew at the roots of plants before becoming pupae. The beetles emerge with the first monsoon showers the following June and lay eggs. Chemical pest control has been rejected by farmers and many have opted for biological control by intervening in the lifecycle of the beetles by killing them between June and August just before they lay eggs. For every kilogram of dead beetles the Vasantdada Sugar Institute pays Rs 300.

Since two-third of aquaculture expenses for a unit is payment for imported feed, a research and development start-up called Aqgromalin in Chennai is collaborating with a European insect feed company. Near Madurai there is a farmer who on an experimental basis has begun breeding black soldier fly larvae as a low-cost alternative feed to cereal-based poultry feed. The flies are bred in a contraption utilising organic waste. Before the worms turn into flies they are taken out (leaving some to continue the breeding cycle) and supplied as feed to fish and poultry farms. However, the unit results in tremendous air pollution because it gives out a strong foul smell.


The Tangkhul Nagas from Ukhrul district of Manipur trap ferocious Asian hornets and rear their grubs, considered a delicacy among the community. In fact it is a family business and periodically involves locating a new wild nest. The giant hornet lives underground, but the other hornet builds its nest in the cavity of a hollow tree trunk, so hunters lure queen hornets with fresh insects or meat or trap it while feeding on the sap of an oak tree and tie a light-weight fibre, made form a local creeper, around its slender petiole. When it takes off, the hunters follow it through the woods and manage to locate its nest. A close watch is then kept over it till the queen lays eggs. The hornet workers are then captured in a bottle and shifted to a domestic courtyard where the hive can expand to about 1,000 hornets. Just before winter when the hive contains maximum larvae and pupae it is “harvested” by smoking. 1 kg of grubs fetches Rs 1,600/-.

Although it is usually feared to be toxic, hornet sting is a well-known traditional therapy in the region for preventing common cold, fever, etc.

Silk Worms and different Grubs

Tribes from the Eastern Himalayan and North Eastern India relish snails, water bugs, grasshoppers and field crickets in particular. They collect them from the wild.

Fried or boiled silk worms are consumed as a winter snack in Meghalaya. The eri/era worms which produce Assam silk and are known in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills as Niang Ryndia from which the Ryndia shawls worn by men there are made, are the particular variety of worms that are eaten. They are sold by worm-vendors in Lewduh (Bara Bazaar), one of the biggest markets of the North East. The cooked silk worm pupas or eri polu in Assamese are served with fermented bamboo shoots called khorisa. Whereas fried polu leta (silkworm chrysalis) is considered Assam’s star dish. In Assam jikaburi (a grasshopper-like insect) found in fish ponds are also considered a delicacy, and amloi parua consisting of green ants as well as their eggs, foraged from the citrusy nemu tenga or Assam lemon trees, are eaten during Bihu festivals. In fact, 29 species of insects are regularly dried and consumed by the Bodos: caterpillars, termites, grasshoppers, crickets and beetles.

or boiled silkworm chrysalis/pupae are commonly sold on the streets of Korea. Witchetty grubs are larvae which feed on the wood and roots of the Witchetty bush of Australia. They are eaten by Aboriginals and are also used as fishing bait. Palm grubs are edible weevil larvae. Mealworm is a worm, and Mopainie worms are caterpillars.

Tribals in Odisha Similipal region eat kai chutney made from red weaver ants, considered an old traditional delicacy. Ant nests are removed from trees early morning and thrown into buckets of water making them come out of their nests and die in a few hours. They are then washed, dried, and crushed with ginger, garlic, chillies and salt. The ants and their eggs are both utilised by some who turn it into a paste and fry it lightly in oil. The ants are also consumed to some treat particular ailments. There is even a Mayurbhanj Kai Society that promotes the kai chutney outside the Similipal region.

In 2023 Odisha got the Geographical Indication (GI) tag for Kai chutney made from red weaver ants found commonly in the forests of Mayurbhanj. Ants and their eggs are gathered from their nests and cleaned before using. The chutney is made by grinding them along with a mixture of salt, ginger, garlic and chilli.

Ants and their eggs are not only eaten in Odisha but also in Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, Bihar, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, but in several other parts of India. Leaf bundles of ants’ eggs are sold at tribal fairs in Bihar. The Dhruva tribe (Adivasis from Bastar district) in Chattisgarh consume red weaver ants: they ambush, handpick and grind them to death along with their eggs together with spices to make chutney called chaprah. Similarly, in Jharkhand especially at Chaibasa a spicy condiment made of red ants called demta is consumed. The Adi people of Arunachal Pradesh also eat ant eggs, bee larvae and a stink bug called koroi puk. In Brazil, icas or queen ants are hunted and consumed as a rare delicacy. Mexicans call the larvae of ants that they eat escamoles.

In addition, Mexico’s edible insects found in markets and restaurants are chicatanas (winged ants), jumiles (stink bugs), alacranes (scorpions), chapulines (grasshoppers) and gusano (worm) in a mezcal bottle.

All these creatures, and crickets, locusts, cicadas, beetles, bugs, bees, wasps, termites, dragonflies, flies, beetles, cockroaches and other insects, butterflies and moths included, are eaten some where around the world. Globally, the most commonly consumed insects are beetles (31%), caterpillars (18%), bees, wasps and ants (14%), grasshoppers, locusts and crickets (13%), cicadas, leafhoppers, plant-hoppers, scale insects and true bugs (10%), termites (3%), dragonflies (3%), flies (2%) and miscellaneous others (5%).

Scientists from 5 countries (USA, Canada, Japan, France and India) have researched for 10 years on roach protein crystals. The primary goal of the research was to solve the structure of insect milk proteins and in 2016 they announced having discovered crystallised milk proteins in roaches that can be “a fantastic protein supplement”.

Indians who have tasted such street-food in Thailand say the insects taste just like fried bhindi or ladies fingers. Thailand is famous for “the original cricket bar”.

Thailand has 20,000 cricket farms and 5,000 palm weevil larvae farms. China has cockroach farms. Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, The Democratic Republic of the Congo and Kenya also have insect farms, mainly consisting of crickets.

In 2017 Finland joined Britain, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria and Denmark in allowing insects to be raised for food. A Finnish bakery immediately launched a bread made from ground dried crickets, wheat flour and seeds.

Three years earlier, in 2014 Laithwaite’s Wine of UK created the world’s first insect and wine-matching guide, while Belgium (the first in the EU) officially approved insects in food following which a mealworm spread is sold in supermarkets. And, in America grasshopper tacos and silkworm soup are marketed as “super-foods”. Whereas the traditional Sardinian casu marzu is a cheese that contains live maggots said to leap into the eyes of the person eating it – moreover if consumed, these maggots are poisonous.

An enzyme in the digestive juices excreted by mites causes the German Milbenkäse cheese to ripen. It is consumed along with the mites clinging to the rind.

In 2012, 32-year old American died, but won a python valued at $850, at a Florida reptile house contest requiring people to eat the most bugs in 4 minutes. After consuming several dozen cockroaches and worms he vomited and although picked up by an ambulance, was pronounced dead. The organisers of the contest said the insects presented were taken from an inventory of insects that are safely and domestically raised in a controlled environment as food for reptiles. It is claimed that cockroaches themselves don’t transmit disease although they are scavengers and pick up bacteria like salmonella from spoiled food – such disease-causing organisms can grow and multiply in their guts and spread upon defecation.

Insects are going Extinct

Insects form the vast majority of species on earth, weighing more than all other living organisms put together. They create the world’s food by pollinating crops and clear the planet of decayed material.

American entomologist, Professor Brian D Farrell, who teaches evolutionary biology at Harvard University, says “There is sizable research on ‘Insect Armageddon’ or the disappearance of insects from Earth. Data shows a fraction of insects are around now (2022) compared to the numbers forty years ago. This is deeply worrying – if insects were to disappear we wouldn’t know what to do or how to bring them back... Insects which have evolved over millions of years are now the first indicator of how much our environment is suffering from human impacts.”

A study entitled “Worldwide decline of the entomofauna: A review of its drivers” published in Biological Conservation states the world’s insects are facing extinction eight times faster than mammals, birds and reptiles and over 40% are likely to be extinct in the next few decades and in a century there would be no insects left. In fact a third of all insect species are already threatened with extinction. The main cause was habitat change: deforestation, urbanisation, and conversion to farmland; and pollution. Habitat loss by conversion to intensive agriculture was the main driver of the declines. Agro-chemical pollutants, invasive species and climate change were additional causes. The answer is restoring the wilderness areas and a drastic reduction in the use of pesticides and chemical fertilisers. Not only for the sake of insects but all nature, e.g. vertebrates consume insects and if they are unavailable their populations drop.

In February 2019 it was reported that 41% of total global insect species had seen a decline over the past decade. In fact a third of insect species had become endangered. The study warned that a declining insect population spelled danger for humans because global food production would take a big hit since insects made up the foundation of the food chain and performed key tasks like plant pollination. The percentage decline in selected global insect populations was:

Caddisflies (Moth-like insects)  68%
Butterflies   53%
Beetles    49%
Bees   46%
Mayflies   37%
Dragonflies  37%
Stoneflies 35%
Flies 25%

Closer home, studies have also found that the loss of habitat due to human intervention has resulted in decreasing populations of predators such as bats and frogs that eat insects. Thus the food chain gets disturbed and in urban areas harmful chemical pest control is used to eliminate mosquitoes.

Creepy Cures

Most know about calcium derived from shells being present in most supplements and as antacids, but many other non-conventional medicines can also contain ingredients from big and small lives.

Homeopathy utilises substances from bees, wasps, spiders, cockroaches, flies, lice, wood-louse, common fleas, bed-bugs, potato-bug, ladybird, ants, jellyfish, venom, locusts, cochineal, and more.

Beerbahooti (similar to cochineal bugs) are found here during the monsoon. Unani cures for paralysis include cooking them in oil, and, for typhoid suffocating them to death. The system of medicine uses many animal ingredients including some obtained from wild life.

Ayurvedic cures are no better with lac, honey, beeswax, peacock feathers, owl feathers, pearls, corals, shells, conches, etc., in addition to many other large animals’ substances, as ingredients in their medicines.

Meanwhile, small lives are being utilised for Allopathic medical research. For example, moths have been used for vaccine production, frogs for anti-bacterial properties, scorpions’ venom to target destruction of cancerous cells, and mussels for an enamel-like coating on teeth.

Food for Thought
The Edible Insect Program, launched to fight world hunger, global warming and pollution based on the 200-page May 2013 report by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation (UN-FAO) came as a big shock to many in India.

Why? Are insects not creatures like others? Is it that size matters? Many who eat goats wouldn’t like to eat red ants despite claims of them being highly nutritious.

The Edible insects – Future prospects for food and feed security report states “Insects as food and feed emerge as an especially relevant issue in the twenty-first century due to the rising cost of animal protein, food and feed insecurity, environmental pressures, population growth and increasing demand for protein among the middle classes. Thus alternative solutions to conventional livestock and feed sources urgently need to be found. The consumption of insects, or entomophagy, therefore contributes positively to the environment and to health and livelihoods”.

According to this UN-FAO report, world wide two billion people from Asia, Africa and Latin America, are already eating insects such as grasshoppers, crickets, beetles, caterpillars, bees, wasps, locusts, termites, flies, ants and their eggs. (The list doesn’t seem to be complete because humans are known to eat other creepy crawlies and snakes, lizards and rats, too.)

The UN sees potential in farming these tiny lives and others like arachnids, spiders, and scorpions for food. To begin with, a South African fly factory that rears flies to transform blood, guts, manure and discarded food into animal feed has been awarded a $100,000 UN backed innovation prize.

After the UN-FAO recommended entomophagy in 2013, chocolate covered insects were tried out by people who traditionally did not eat insects. Some chocolates, like those containing grasshoppers, may take on the shape of the insect covered, but most like those that contain ants look just like other chocolates.

However, the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India website has declared “according to FSSAI standards, any chocolate should be free from insects and other contaminants. Any rumour stating that FSSAI has permitted insects in chocolate manufacturing process, are false”.

The EU has earmarked almost 3 million euros for investigating the potential of insects as a healthy protein food supply. The EU then authorised the use of insects as animal feed, and the United States approved the use of black soldier flies in dog food. Canada then set up the largest cricket farm for human consumption where 8 to 10 million insects are harvested each week – in addition they are fed to fish, poultry and pets. Netherlands opened one of the world’s largest insect farms in 2019, and France is also among the leading producers of insects. Last but not least, by 2024 the world’s largest insect farm will be constructed in Illinois, USA, which plans on producing insects amounting to about 60,000 metric tons of animal feed and 20,000 metric tons of oils for poultry and swine rations per year. Therefore most of the insect production is and will be used as animal feed. However, a major concern is the mass rearing of insects... around a third of insect producers use commercial feed which includes soy. Meanwhile genetically modified versions of the insects that are currently being bred are being created: mealworms, crickets and grasshoppers for human food and black soldier flies, houseflies and others for animal feed.

A 2015 report by the UK Government’s Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has stated that insects should become a part of people’s staple diet around the world as an environment-friendly alternative to meat. But luckily it’s difficult to persuade consumers to overcome “the yuck factor”. Incidentally, the report also suggested lab grown meat (not necessarily veg), and recommended increased consumption of seaweed.

Incidentally, an enzyme in the digestive juices excreted by mites causes the German Milbenkäse cheese to ripen. It is consumed along with the mites clinging to the rind.

No Meat, no Heat

We are looking at a new type of factory farming: that of insects which can, it is claimed, convert 2 kilograms of feed to 1 kilogram of edible meat, as against 8 kilograms of cattle-feed required for the production of 1 kilogram of beef.

No meat production would translate into a drastic reduction in livestock pollution because animals would stop being bred for slaughter. It is therefore puzzling that instead of discouraging the raising of animals for their flesh and encouraging people to live off the produce of the land, the UN thinks it fit to ridiculously farm over 1,900 edible insect species for food so that entomophagy can be introduced throughout the world even though it is taboo in most cultures and countries.

In 2020 in Belguim some cakes were tried out using insect butter made from black soldier fly larvae. It was also served with waffles, claiming grease from insects was more sustainable than dairy produce. But luckily it was unacceptable due to is unusual taste.

Such a warped attitude is to say the least is scary. Each and every insect species plays an essential ecological role in our world’s fragile environment. Upsetting this balance can cause irreparable harm. How many even think of the thousands of insects that lose lives (and birds their habitat) due to trees being felled?

New research on insect sensitivity and behaviour fast is surfacing. Studies suggest that insects are sentient beings. Killing upwards 50 trillion insects a year is more than the number of mammals killed by humans for food in the entire history of civilization.

If we truly want to help the world and ourselves we should stop eating animals and birds, and not start eating insects even if ground up to make them palatable. Foodies need to stop priding themselves for their extreme cannibalism – they are often seen eating every thing from pig snouts to worms and scorpions on TV, but these days it fails to shock. In fact, many viewers experience a strong revulsion.

A Japanese proverb is worth remembering: “Even a one-inch insect has a five-tenths-of-an-inch of soul.”

Page last updated on 13/01/24