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Eating Bugs! – Raising Bugs For Food, Fun, And Profit

Updated on February 11, 2013
Eating Bugs!
Eating Bugs! | Source

Eating bugs is nothing new. In fact, eating insects in many countries is widely accepted. Why then are Americans so opposed to consuming this protein source? I would guess that it is because we envision cockroaches crawling through sewers when we think about bugs. The reality is that eating a bug isn’t all that different than eating other sources of commercially raised protein.

“The old lady that swallowed a fly” may have been simply eating lunch. I mean it’s happened to all of us. Your walking along and that little fly gets stuck in the back of your throat and you swallow the fly. Did you die? Nope! You may have choked and gagged, but the fly was edible. Eating a bug really wasn’t all that bad.

Where to Find Bugs to Eat

Many of the bugs people eat are collected directly from the wild, but they can be purchased or even raised at home. In fact, if you are looking for a steady supply of bugs to eat setting up your own breeding facility may be your best bet.

Let’s say you develop a taste for roasted mealworms. And why not they can be stored easily and flavored just like potato chips or popcorn. All you need to raise these delectable morsels is a bin full of wheat bran or laying mash, potatoes or carrots for moisture, and some starter mealworms. In a couple of month you will have thousands of tasty mealworms.

Other insects such as crickets, grasshoppers, cockroaches, and caterpillars are raised in captivity with great success. Many of these are raised for the bait, bird, and reptile markets, but it is becoming more common place to see these shipped overseas as food.

Raising Bugs For Profit

The pet and bait trades consume trillions of insects each year………….pun intended. Subsequently thousands of backyard insect breeders have popped up in the U.S. . But can raising insects be profitable, let’s take a look at the money.

Now it cost about $1.50 to produce 1,000 crickets which sell for $15. With packaging, electricity, and time let’s say that 1, crickets actually cost $3.00 to produce. That’s a $12 profit. In an average two car garage you could conceivably produce 100,000 crickets a month. That's $1200 a month to feed, clean, sell, and ship Crickets.

Take this a step further. Roasted and chocolate covered crickets cost upwards of $0.40/each. That’s $400/1000 according to my math. Now I'm not saying that you could sell $400,000.00 in chocolate covered crickets a year, but I bet you could sell a few if you marketed them as health food or a novelty.

Breeding Crickets

Even though eating bugs may not be for you raising them for part or full time income just may be. Just think about the potential to produce food for thousands of hungry reptiles, birds, and fish while earning some extra cash for yourself.

I apologize if the hub bugged anyone, but the insect market is huge and as a protein source bugs are hard to beat.

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    • KawikaChann profile image

      KawikaChann 4 years ago from Northwest, Hawaii, Anykine place

      Nicely done collegedad, so this is what I crave for when I don't know what kind of a snack I'm wanting? Although I am in agreement that there is a market for bugs, I had not thought that we (humans) needed an alternative source of protein - I see now that there is a need, and a developing market for 'bugs'. The market can only progress as ease of operation to raise bugs are opportune to making profits. Voted up/useful/follow. Peace. Kawi.

    • collegedad profile image
      Author

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      Thanks Kawi! Raising insects can be very profitable. At one point in my life I produced over 500K cockroaches a month for the reptile trade. It grossed the wife out a bit, but at $30-$70/1000 I wasn't too upset.

    • Paul Kuehn profile image

      Paul Richard Kuehn 4 years ago from Udorn City, Thailand

      collegedad,

      This is a very interesting and useful hub for anyone who wants to earn money raising insects. When I lived in Taiwan, many people liked to eat cicadas and grasshoppers. In Thailand, the people who live in the northeastern part of the country (Isaan)will eat just about any kind of insect (worms, crickets, grasshoppers, etc.) that have been roasted and seasoned. During many evenings, I have seen mobile vendors pushing their carts around from street corner to street corner doing a brisk business. Voted up and sharing with followers.

    • collegedad profile image
      Author

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      Thanks Paul Kuehn! What people will eat amazes me. I often wonder who the first person was that attempted to eat a particular insect or mollusc. Thanks for the share!

    • tamron profile image

      tamron 4 years ago

      How did you keep your cockroaches from escaping when ever you opened the container? Great article!

    • collegedad profile image
      Author

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      Hi Tamron, you have to coat the top edge of their container with liquid teflon. I dumped a tub of 2000 roaches one afternoon. It was not a pretty scene.

    • tamron profile image

      tamron 4 years ago

      Oh my God! I hope this didn't happen in your house! What a bad day? I hope you make a lot of money on roaches because you will be spending a lot getting rid of them in the house.LOL

    • collegedad profile image
      Author

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      I kept them in the garage, but I can tell you they were hard to get rid of. I also kept my waders in the garage. One afternoon I was trout fishing when I felt something crawling up the back of my leg. I found the biggest Hissing Cockroach I'd ever seen in my waders. The thing was as big as a cell phone. Pretty cool.

    • Sugahware profile image

      Robyn D Bera 4 years ago from California

      Informative and interesting read!

    • collegedad profile image
      Author

      collegedad 4 years ago from The Upper Peninsula

      Thank you Sugahware

    • Larry Rankin profile image

      Larry Rankin 22 months ago from Oklahoma

      Personally I'm not willing to start eating bugs just yet, but I know it is a lifestyle some folks swear by.

      Very interesting hub.

    • rodrigomd profile image

      rodrigomd 11 months ago

      Great hub.

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