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important components of an agroecosystem most successful animal group on earth half of all living species consists of insects served as a food source for people for thousands of years

sources of useful products

Silk Honey

Shellac sources of animal protein

Insect eating rare in the developed world, but popular food in many developing regions
Central and South America Africa


dried or cooked twice the protein content of raw meat or fish and are also rich in important vitamins and minerals

Aphids Ants June beetles Grasshoppers Cicadas Silkworms

Mole cricket Water beetle Locusts Termites Dragonfly Honeybees

Compared to most other kinds of animal food, insects are a well-balanced source of nutrients. They are high in protein, and contain much less fat than red meats, such as beef. A typical 100 g (3.5 oz) serving of crickets, which might contain around 180 adult crickets, supplies about 125 calories of energy, about the same as two slices of whole-wheat bread. Insects are also a good source of vitamins, and of minerals, such as phosphorus and iron

describe the socio demographic characteristics of people utilizing edible insects as food; identify insects used as food at family level; correlate the socio demographic characteristics of the edible insects utilized as food; and identify the method of preparation, benefits and general acceptability of insects as food.

The survey was conducted at different institutions in Luzon from December 2009 to February 2010. Samples of edible insects were collected from selected sites. Identification of collected insects was conducted at Crop Protection Laboratory, CAFENR, Cavite State University, Indang, and Cavite.

Forceps Paper envelope Insect pins Sweep nets Vials Manual on Key to the Orders and Families of Insects

A survey questionnaire (Appendix A) was used for at least 120 respondents to gather data thru identified key persons from the different State Universities and Colleges in Luzon thru electronic mail and personal communication.

The identification of edible insects, methods of preparation, nutritional studies and socio demographic and ethnographic characteristics were included in the survey. Percentage of person utilizing insects as food was also determined.

Samples were collected at selected sites. The identification of collected edible insects was done through the use of the Key to the Orders and Families of Insects and monographs on taxonomy and biology of insects.

Frequency count Mean Percentage range

in presenting and analyzing the socio-

demographic characteristics such as gender, age, civil status, educational attainment and profession of people utilizing edible insects as food, methods of preparation, benefits and general acceptability of insects as food.

Data were gathered through survey questionnaires distributed to 120 respondents from different state universities in Luzon. Thirty respondents each from the Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU), Pangasinan State University (PSU), Central Luzon State University (CLSU) and Tarlac State University (TSU) were surveyed

These universities were selected since it was not very difficult to gather data through colleagues and these were basically the insect-eating areas of Luzon. The results were discussed, classified, tabulated and analyzed.

Respondents reported that insects are utilized not just as food but as delicacy in Luzon. In Pangasinan and Ilocos Norte (Region I), all of respondents claimed that they utilize insects as food where edible insects in these areas were reported to be available in the market.

According to them, insects varied in taste. Some compared insects to fish, shrimp or crabs because these both tasted and smelled like seafood

Mariano Marcos State University (MMSU) Pangasinan State

Batac, Ilocos Norte


Lingayen, Pangasinan

University (PSU)
Central Luzon State University (CLSU) Tarlac State University (TSU) Tarlac, Tarlac III Muoz, Nueva Ecija III

96 percent (115) of respondents utilize insects as food. Majority of them are students of different state universities, with an age range of 1322. According to some respondents, most insects are sources of protein and vitamins. This indicates that insects are consumed in their areas, thus preparation of different delicacies of insects has been practiced.

Respondents asserted that insects are abundant and are easily bred in captivity in their area. In some parts of Luzon, insects could be found in the markets and restaurants.

Most of the respondents reported that insect-eating is their tradition. They claimed that their ancestors ate live insects. They considered insects as source of power and energy and as integral part of their diet.

On the other hand, there are also people who are not eating insects. Four percent of the respondents reported that they do not eat insects. Two of these respondents are males and three are females.

All of these respondents are aware that insects can be eaten. However, they just dislike insects as food because of the aversion and the prevalence of other food alternatives.








In general, edible insects are collected and utilized by

men and women. This indicates that people are very familiar with the different edible insects. Fifty-six percent of respondents are male while 44 percent are female. Men are known to be exposed to eating exotic foods especially during drinking spree. All of the male respondents reported that they utilized insects as appetizer or pulutan. On the other hand, female considered insects as part of their meals as viand.

The age of respondents range from 13-57

years with a mean of 21 years. Most of the respondents are students from different state universities with age range of 18-22 years old (54%), 26 percent belong to the age group 13-17, 23-27 years old (10%), 33-37 (3%), 38-42 and 48-52 years old (2%), and 1 percent each in 28-32, 43-47 and 5357 years of age.

Civil status.
The study revealed that most of the

respondents utilizing insects as food are single (90%) while 10 percent are married. This is expected since most respondents are students.

Educational attainment.
Based on the results, majority of the college

undergraduates (72%) utilize insects as food, 16 percent reportedly reached high school level, 9 percent are college graduate, 2 percent attended vocational school and 1 percent is high school graduate. This indicates that all of the respondents have formal education. Hence, they know the value of eating insects without aversion.

Among the respondents who are utilizing

insects as food, 88 percent of the respondents are students from different state universities, 7 percent are farmers and agriculturists, 3 percent are professors, 1 percent is an engineer, 1 is a painter and another is a dressmaker. This shows that students of SUCs and other people around the SUCs participated actively in this study.

Result of the study shows that the computed chi-square value for the gender was 0.145 with a significant value of 0.703. This was supported by a computed chi-square of 0.527 with a significant value of 0.468. In addition, educational attainment and profession reveals the computed chi square of 0.010 with a significant value of 0.009 and 0.689 with a significant value of 0.076, respectively

The study indicates that respondents utilizing insects as food are not correlated as to the respondents gender, civil status, educational attainment and profession. This implies that eating insects is ingrained in the culture of the people relishing them as food. Whether the respondent has higher educational status and profession, male or female, single or married has no relationship on his/her choice to or not to eat edible insects.





Civil Status Educational Attainment

0.527 0.010

1 1

0.468 0.922

0.066 0.009

Accept Ho Accept Ho





Accept Ho

Furthermore, the study shows that the age of respondents is not related to their insect utilization Though majority of the respondents are students, it has no significant relationship to their utilization of insects as food. Thus, utilization of insects as food is not related to demographic characteristics of respondents. The respondents may have been exposed to utilizing insects as food while they were still young.






Yes No

20.97 18.80

7.533 2.490


0.652 Accept Ho

Critical value of t-test statistic = 1.96

Insects are abundant everywhere. Hence, they have the ability to live and adapt to diverse habitats. They can be found in soil, water, air, and even in parts of the plants and trees.

thirteen percent of respondents reported that they can find edible insects such as mole crickets commonly known as susuhong in the markets of Pangasinan. Forty-four percent of the respondents reported that they can usually find edible insects in backyard, fields or farms (31%) like white grubs, trees and forests (7%) and 5 percent of the respondents stated that they can also be found in some restaurants.

Insect appear as cuisine in restaurants in big cities, and are also sold as processed foods. According to Adalla (2008), Cabalen chain of restaurants in Metro Manila features mole cricket as adobong camaru which serves as their house specialty dish.

In 1997, Mitsuhashi reported that the popular insects served in restaurants are maguey worms (Cossus redtenbachi and A. hesperearis) and ants (Liometopum apiculatum) in Mexico; wasps (Vespa sorror), wild silkworm pupae (Antheraea pernyi), and pyralid moth larvae (Chilo fuscidentalis) in China; wasps (Vespa sp.), bees (A. dorsata), giant water bugs (Lethocerus indicus) and pyralid moth larvae (C. fuscidentalis) in Thailand. These insect dishes are always more expensive than beefsteak.

On the other hand, children in the province collect May or June beetle generally called salagubang during summer where adults could be found in the trees. Furthermore, larval stage of June beetles called white grubs or ulalo can be found feeding on roots of the plants. In Indang, Cavite farmers collect them on the roots of cassava and feed them to dogs. However, these shown highly acceptable when fried and coated with chocolate (Lucero, 2008); (Alcantara, dela Pea and Illana, 2009). Some edible insects can be preserved by desiccation. In some places dried insects are commercially available in markets such as mopany worms or phane in South Africa.

Phane is available as a street food, being sold by vendors, and as canned foods. In addition, chipmi (Gynanisa maja) in Zambia and small water bugs and their eggs in Mexico can also found in the market (Hoffman, 1947). According to Mitsuhashi (1997), rice grasshoppers (Oryza yezoensis), wasps (Vespa lewisi), silkworm pupae and adult (B. mori) and trichopteran larvae are canned insect foods available in Japan. Canned silk worm pupae (B. mori) from Korea; canned spice containing water bugs (L. indicus) in Thailand; canned soup containing witchety grubs fro Australia; candies containing mealworms (Tenebrio molitor) or crickets (Acheta domesticus) and fried snacks of lepidopteran larvae in U.S.A. are processed insects foods which are expensive compared to other food.


Markets 16 13


Backyards Trees or forests Fields or farms

53 8 37

44 7 31

1 4 2

Insects being eaten in these areas are usually those that may be gathered in large numbers. Examples are social insects, such as ants and especially termites and locusts that migrate in hordes of millions of individuals.

Ants or abuos, June beetles (Leucopholis irrorata) or white grubs locally known as salagubang, abal-abal or sibaweng; mole crickets (Gryllotalpa africana) or ararawan or kamaro/camaru; and honeybees (Apis mellifera) are prominent. Insects such as silkworms (Bombyx mori), locusts (Locusta migratoria manilensis), cicadas (Huechys sanguinea), dragonflies (Calopteryx maculata), grasshoppers, water beetles, and termites (Macrotermes subhyalinus) are also reportedly eaten.

People utilize these species because these are readily available, more plentiful and easy to capture, store and prepare for eating. Respondents claimed that they can eat these insects whether in egg, larva/nymph, pupa or adult stage. In Japan, rice grasshoppers, wasps, silkworm pupae and trichopteran larvae have been consumed from all times. All of these are cooked with soy sauce, sugar and rice wine.

June Beetles





Dragonflies Silkworms Water beetles Mole crickets Grasshoppers Locusts Cicadas Termites Honeybees

Anisoptera Bombycidae Belostomatidae

Odonata Lepidoptera Coleoptera Orthoptera Orthoptera Orthoptera Homoptera Isoptera Hymenoptera

3 8 3 38 14 6 1 11 24

9 7 9 3 5 8 10 6 4

Gryllotalpidae Acrididae Locustidae Cicadidae Termitidae Apidae

Edible insects are highly prized in the kitchen Insects are prepared in various ways according to ingenuity and creativity of chefs in some restaurants and therefore have been transformed into gourmet dishes. Most common preparation can be fried, roasted, boiled or steamed; some people also eat insects alive. In tropical regions, where palm weevils are distributed, the larvae are eaten raw by native people joyfully at the moment when captured.

The simplest and the most primitive form of food preparation is roasting. In some countries, it is common to roast insects on fire or throw them in hot ashes. Insects are also boiled or simmered in water or soup. They are often cooked with vegetables and spices. Frying is also popular way of cooking insects. Any species or any stage of edible insects can be eaten by frying (Mitsuhashi, 1997).

In Pangasinan, egg of ants called itlog te abuos found in trees were reported to be fried and is a popular appetizer or pulutan to men. Some preferred insects as viand especially to women, aphrodisiac or even dessert. In some parts of Nueva Ecija, adult June beetles serves as viand in which they prepared as adobo and sinampalukang salagubang.

















All of the respondents claimed that they have the idea of eating insects Forty-three percent of the respondents declared that their family informed them that insects are really edible. In addition, peers and friends (28%), ancestors or tradition (23%), and three percent each got this idea from some restaurants and mass media such as television and radio which acquainted them of the utilization of insects as food.

Based on the results, insects are found to be palatable. Palatability means that foods have agreeable, delicious and pleasant taste. Fifty-one percent responded that insects flavoursome because the taste is comparable with that of seafood. In addition, 70 percent of the respondents will recommend eating insects to other people. However, 8 percent stated that insects are not palatable since these respondents thought that insects are dirty while 41 percent are not sure because of their unawareness of other kinds of edible insects.





Peers and friends










Mass media
















Edible insects importance is recognized because of their benefits to man and environment They also asserted that it is reasonable to eat insects since they are abundant, contain many useful nutrients and can cure illness. Thus, most of the respondents declared that insects fight hunger, promote biodiversity, with medicinal value, can be bought in the market and can fully accepted in the society.

On the other hand, 61 percent of the respondents are uninformed of the nutrients found in insects. In addition, insects are reported to have nutritive value. Some human societies actually utilize insects as a major source of protein. Eighty-three percent of respondents reported that insects are high in protein, energy, vitamins and minerals.

According to United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO, 2004), insects are rich in potassium, calcium, magnesium, zinc, iron, as well as Bvitamins. In some countries, it has been recommended as a supplement for high cereal diets and infants food.


% F


% F

Fight hunger Promote biodiversity Medicinal value Brought in market or

75 61 77 85

63 51 64 71

22 22 7 19

18 18 6 16

23 37 36 16

19 31 30 13


Fully accepted Nutritive value

88 83

73 69

17 6

14 5

15 31

13 26

insects are acceptable as food to 74 percent of the respondents and very acceptable to 23 percent of the respondents. Respondents claimed that they gained the idea of eating insects from their ancestors. Thus, they believed that their ancestors have lived longer because of eating insects. They also claimed that insects can help the nation in food insecurity caused by overpopulation.

In other countries, food supplies are inadequate in quality and quantity, contributing to the widespread malnutrition. On the other hand, some countries already used insects to fight malnutrition since it is abundant and contain many useful nutrients (Gelfand, 1971). However, some respondents claimed that insects are not acceptable as food (2%) and very unacceptable (1%).

Based on the data gathered, these respondents are in the high school level. Some of these respondents claimed that they have phobias and repulsion in insects during childhood and aversion to the idea of insects as food. Hence, entomophagy or eating insects is decidedly conditioned by cultural bias.




Very Acceptable






Not Acceptable

Very Unacceptable

June beetles, mole crickets, ants, dragonfly, cicadas, termites, water beetles, locusts, silkworms, honeybees and grasshoppers are the insects eaten in Luzon, Philippines. Some are pests of agricultural crops while many are beneficial. Insects are fried, roasted, boiled, steamed and others are eaten raw. Some insects are prepared as gourmet dishes, thus considered as delicacies.

Insects are eaten and valued in various parts of Luzon such as Ilocos Norte, Pangasinan, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija due to its palatability, nutrient content especially protein and vitamins, medicinal value, biodiversity promotion, ability to fight hunger, accessibility and acceptability. Utilization of insects as food has no significant relation to gender, age, civil status, educational attainment and profession of respondents. Insects are beneficial not only because of its aesthetic beauty but for its benefits to man and society. Such processed products might become as important new dimension in international trade if we can learn to recognize and appreciate insects as the food resource that they deserve to be.

Based on the results of the study, the author recommends that bias against insects as food should be reduced. This food group adds nutritional value to staple diets and maximizes ecological benefits. Furthermore, the following is highly recommended: Public awareness of people about insects not just for their beauty but as food and food source; Studies on utilization of insects as alternative food source;

Future researchers should proceed to tribal and ethnic groups who have indigenous knowledge regarding insects as food; In improving common insect preparation, it is important to determine the sanitary quality of insects as well as the sources of contamination; and Mass rearing and generating data on nutritive and pharmacological value and physiological effects of promising edible insects.