Wilderness Survival: Survival By Bugs

Maybe your fishing trip isn’t going so well. Perhaps the only “catch of the day” is the bait you have wrangled up by flipping over rocks, ripping open logs, and scouring the bushes. You could eat the bait bugs, if you had to, providing they weren’t poisonous. Many insects are actually quite nutritious and pleasant tasting, if you can find the courage to try unconventional foods. Here are a few creatures that you can munch on when the fish aren’t biting.

Try Termites

Ripping open a rotten log may seem like a lot of work, but the payoff might be worth the trouble. Termites are the highest calorie bug on this list. These pale colored, ant-looking insects provide about 6 calories per gram. You’ll have to work to get it, though. These little guys go scurrying for cover anytime you damage the wood they reside in. Roast them in a dry pan, and some species take on a shrimp flavor.

Savor A Slug

Let me say from the beginning, that this is not a choice I would relish – eating slugs or starving. I’ve eaten them before, and I hope I never have to repeat that experience. But they will pass for food in a pinch. Terrestrial slugs and snails (found on land, not the sea) are generally safe for human consumption, always after a thorough cooking. And their nutritional value certainly justifies the effort of collecting and cooking them. These critters have about 90 calories per 100 grams of “meat”, which is high in protein (12 to 16 percent) and rich in minerals. It’s a little hard to consider them food though, when you consider their favorite meal – scat.

Crunch Some Crickets

Crickets, katydids and grasshoppers are a very diverse group of bugs that are generally safe to eat, if you avoid the colorful members of these families. Red, orange, yellow and blue are usually warnings. The heads and small legs should be removed, and the bugs should always be cooked thoroughly. Bugs with crunchy shells (exoskeletons) are often the most parasite laden. Hunt for them in the early morning, when they are less active from the colder temperatures. This group yields approximately 4 to 5 calories per gram. Their taste ranges from flavorless to fatty tasting.

These tips, and many more survival tips, are in MacWelch’s books: Prepare For AnythingThe Hunting and Gathering Survival ManualHow To Survive Anything, and available now, Tim’s latest release, The Ultimate Winter Survival Handbook.

Follow him on Twitter @timmacwelch

And check out more of MacWelch’s outdoor skills and survival articles in Outdoor Life Magazine

When it comes to Emergency Survival & Preparedness, Sportsman’s Guide has you covered. Shop our great selection of emergency and survival gear >

Leave a Reply

Commenting Policy - We encourage open expression of your thoughts and ideas. But there are a few rules:

No abusive comments, threats, or personal attacks. Use clean language. No discussion of illegal activity. Racist, sexist, homophobic, and generally hateful comments are not tolerated. Keep comments on topic. Please don't spam.

While we reserve the right to remove or modify comments at our sole discretion, the Sportsman's Guide does not bear any responsibility for user comments. The views expressed within the comment section do not necessarily reflect or represent the views of The Sportsman's Guide.