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Rate Different Insects Based on Their Edibility and/or Practicality to Breed (Work in Progress)

I raise many insects of all sorts (mostly darkling beetles and roaches) including other arthropods like myriapods and isopods, and I'd like to know if certain ones are more edible or toxic than others, and also if you know the flavor or practicality of raising these bugs that'd be cool too. Some of these are just here as ideas, if I don't raise these, it will be in italics. This could also be of use to people like me trying to test out different species of insects for edibility, because this could be a database of education if you will. I have my guesses on the edibility and practicality of each insect I mention, so these are my thoughts and probably aren't super educated since I'm not an entomologist or varied entomophagist, and I would like to have other people add to this with their ideas to better the practicality and truth of this list. This is by no means a comprehensive list, I don't mention bees, wasps, butterflies, moths (other than wax moths), arachnids, beetles other than darkling ones, other flying insects, lice, a diverse list of certain insects, marine arthropods, or crustaceans other than isopods, because I am thinking on the terms of raising terrestrial insects that preferably live on a substrate and don't fly, I also included some smaller impractical insects for fun, just as a thought.  


CRICKETS (I assume almost all of them are edible, but might vary in practicality or safety to eat)

Crickets (house, banded): I do banded and I assume they have the typical cricket taste and are relatively practical.

Wild Crickets (Black Field Crickets): I have no info on if these are edible or practical, I assume they are similar if maybe a bit grosser.

Wild Crickets (Japanese Burrowing Crickets): Common in my area, long palps and decent sized and cool looking, I'd assume it'd be typical and maybe less practical since they seem to burrow (in their name).

Wild Crickets (Small red or yellow headed crickets): These are not easy to find on Google but they are in my area and the yellow banded ones are in Susquehanna, pretty small and probably typical and practical.

Camel Crickets (Typical Greenhouse or Japanese Sprickets): These are pretty unappealing and jump high, and they also like eating mold and other organic material opposed to most crickets, most I've heard is Man Vs. Wild saying they tasted like dirt, so probably impractical, not tasty, and a potential pest hazard.

Mole Crickets: Probably pretty hard to raise and require lots of substrate to burrow into, might be edible like others. Not raising these, obviously

Wetas (Anostostomatidae): Common in New Zealand, South Africa, and maybe other pockets here and there, these large crickets look quite crunchy and might be as edible as normal crickets, if a lot harder raise and possibly very hard to obtain, especially for ones you'd have to find in New Zealand (other than tree wetas) or smuggle off of the islands [don't do this] (Little Barrier Giant Wetas are the largest and probably very hard to raise requiring a large space). Not raising these, obviously

Grasshoppers: Hard to find, hard to catch, probably hard to breed needing a big tank but lots of plant material, probably practical on a larger scale if you get lucky finding grasshoppers. Not raising these

Locusts: Probably hard to find, hard to catch, probably difficult to breed needing a big tank but lots of plant material but might be more practical than grasshoppers. Not raising these

Katydids: Hard to find, very hard to catch, probably very hard and impractical to breed. Not raising these, obviously  


DARKLING BEETLES (larva) (I assume some larva species are edible, beetles probably are all toxic)

Mealworms: Typical mealworms, easy to raise and light flavor.

Superworms: Larger darkling relatives, require isolation to pupate but beetles lay much more eggs and are cooler looking, probably quite practical.

Mini Mealworms: Very minute info on these guys, Tenebrio Obscurus, and I can't buy them anywhere. I think they're bigger than lesser mealworms and dark colored. Not raising these

Micro Mealworms (Peanut Beetles): Smaller than normal mealworms, but I have heard the beetles and even the larva are moderately toxic due to quinones (Hispanic man hospitalized after eating the larva as a medical supplement) and probably a bad choice in general.

Lesser Mealworms (Black Cleaner Beetles): Known for eating roach/cricket feces, but in practice in wheat bran they ruin it and turn it brown and ammonia smelling unlike other darkling beetles, probably too small to be of practicality unless eaten in small amounts, might be toxic but I don't know.

Grain Weevils: Common grain pest, used to feed dart frogs, the larva/pupa live in grain so they might be okay to eat in the grain or extract individually, but they're quite small and probably impractical. The grain will have the larva/pupa but also feces from the food it ate, so it probably isn't a good idea.

Rice Flour Beetles: Another common grain pest for small herps but much much easier to isolate and incredibly easy to raise, but they're very small so they might be impractical.

Bean Beetles: Similar to grain weevils but they smell like dirty water and live in black-eyed peas and are hard to deal with since they fly, climb, and play dead. Quite small and probably as impractical as grain weevils.  


ROACHES (I assume most are edible, some might be vectors of diseases if raised wild-caught or improperly.)

Madagascan Hissing Cockroaches: I don't hear about eating these, but they might be edible and quite meaty. Might be practical I don't know.

Dubia Roaches: Common feeder roach, but known to give around half of people allergic reactions or a new allergy just by contact or breathing in air (I seem to be fine), so eating them might be the worst idea ever. That'd probably be like eating poison ivy, you know it probably isn't a good idea to touch, so why would you even think to eat it. Might be practical for people who are immune.

Lobster Roaches (Speckled Roaches): A feeder roach that is pretty small and soft, but stinks (what do you know, they smell like lobsters). They might be a good idea if a bit odd from their smell.

Discoid Roaches: A feeder roach of decent size, and easy to raise and are odorless, might be a good idea to farm.

Oriental Roaches: Common pest and not possible to buy since they are undesirable roaches for feeding, they stink, have odd feces, and are probably potential vectors for parasites if caught in the wild unless you breed them smartly. Probably pretty bad idea.

Turkestan Roaches: Common small feeder roach, stinks like the orientals but might not be vectors but they breed slower. Probably decent idea.

Green Banana Roaches: Somewhat Common very small feeder roach, very soft and petite, but they climb and flutter even more than lobster roaches so they might not be practical, depending on if lobster roaches are more practical.

Giant Green Banana Roaches: Slightly larger look-alike to green banana roaches, probably quite rare, might climb and flutter but I don't have them yet. Might be better that standard size ones. Not raising these at the moment

Giant Lobster Roaches (Speckled Roaches): Larger size, might smell the same, might climb and flutter occasionally but not as much as green banana ones, probably of decent size and practicality relative to lobster roaches.

Horseshoe Crab Roaches: Rare roaches that look like dubias (at least as nymphs) and probably decent sized and crunchy, maybe practical but hard to find online.

Death's Head Roaches: Quite large roach similar in appearance to discoid; probably practical for large roaches and maybe edible. Not raising these etc. etc. etc. I could go on about these guys.



  • edited July 13


    ISOPODS (I assume all are edible but might take long to breed and might taste earthy but also like shrimp)

    Common Pillbug: Probably a good choice for crunchiness and meatiness for isopod standards, might be practical but slow. Nosy-Pillbug: Same as the above one, a bit lighter in coloration and nicer looking.

    Common Sowbug: Probably a decent choice if not looking for crunchiness, but probably are less meaty and may be impractical.

    Rough Sowbug: Same as the above one, a brown in coloration.

    Fast Sowbug (Slater): Probably not a good choice (harder to find, mostly in forests); they are harder to catch, probably less meaty, not very big, and might be impractical.

    Wharf Roach: Same as the above but a bit more marine-oriented and harder to find and raise, you'd probably have to make a riparium. Not raising these

    Sand Flea: Might not be isopodic, but they look similar. Even more marine than wharf roaches and can bite. They would require a paludarium or riparium so pretty impractical and probably not the best idea. Not raising these     FLYING INSECTS (I assume most flying insects aren't great choices, but some typical insects are good ideas)

    Greater Wax Moths (Galleria Mellonella): Not a very common insect, a bit larger than normal waxworms, probably similarly as practical. Not raising these, haven't found a place to buy them, if you know a place to buy them send it here

    Lesser Wax Moths (Achroia Grisella): Pretty common insect, quite easy to breed in a mostly sealed plastic or glass container in a warm room with a wheat bran and honey mix. Unfortunately, buying them from petstores might have them not be fertile, so it might not work to start breeding from there, I got lucky and a few moths laid a few eggs and they laid more eggs and now its going well, probably quite practical but a bit fatty.

    Hornworm (Five-Spotted Hawkmoth): Probably a bad choice because it's 96% moisture and is relatively disgusting for insect breeding standards, the enclosures can get disgusting and the food they eat is weird and moist, breeding them is complicated and requires a container(s) to breed hornworms, dirt to pupate, and a big tank or cage enclosure to house the moths and tomato plant to have the eggs laid, probably not practical or tasty. Tried to breed, didn't work, the store bought ones probably are rendered infertile or to die beyond their caterpillar phase

    Black Soldier Fly (Hermetia Illucens): A very interesting but complicated insect to breed, you probably need a special setup and environmental conditions, but if you get it working its probably a very good choice if you want to recycle food scraps into edible and healthy protein, probably earthy but tasty and very practical but complicated to breed.  


    MYRIAPODS (I assume most centipedes are edible if not venomous, most millipedes might be toxic though)

    Greenhouse Millipede: Not much info on the edibility of the specific widespread and very common millipede near trees in forests, but it has an armor plate so it might be in a family where they are toxic (quinones, cyanide, etc.), if they are edible they probably taste earthy or something like that.

    Psuedopolydesmida Millipedes: A bit larger and cooler looking, these ones look crunchier but still might be toxic.

    Narceus Americanus-annularis (American Giant Millipede): Quite cool looking but aposematic coloration might signal toxicity, also I read they can excrete a toxic liquid so they are probably mildly toxic.

    Please tell me if there's a millipede that's edible and possible to raise, because I want to raise them anyway for fun so eating them would make it more useful.

    Soil Centipedes: Hard to catch and predatory in nature, probably hard to raise and might be venomous or taste bad, probably impractical. Not raising these

    House Centipedes: Even harder to catch and predatory in nature, probably even less practical than normal centipedes. Not raising these  



    Diplura (Two-pronged Bristletails): Probably rare, incredibly impractical, and dumb unless you do the largest ones (Japyx). Not raising these, obviously

    Coneheads: Very small insect, odd looking (~2mm long), probably very hard to find. Only way you could eat these is if you sifted them out through a really fine substrate and you'd have just the coneheads left on the sieve, very impractical. Not raising these, obviously

    Springtails: Probably very impractical and taste like camel crickets since they eat similar stuff (including mold/fungi/algae) and stupid unless they're the bigger ones a bit smaller than small black ants.

    Ants: Might be an okay idea, but you'd need a TON to make a serving so probably impractical. Not raising these

    Termites: Might be a better idea than ants, but they likely taste worse than their close cockroach relatives since they eat wood or organic material and are small, probably impractical. Not raising these

    Angel Insects (Zoraptera): Very small social insects, probably quite rare and hard to raise and impractical. Not raising these, obviously

    Stick Insects or Leaf Insects: Hard to find, probably hard to breed, I am not sure of it myself, probably impractical and not very smart. Not raising these, obviously

    Earwigs: Might be an okay insect to breed, but it does have pincers, probably not very practical.

    Hemiptera (true bugs): Probably not the best option and probably impractical, and cicadas would be incredibly impractical since they take ~17 years to grow to normal sizes. Not raising these

    Silverfish/Firebrats: Might be an okay idea but they are probably quite hard to raise and might be hard to find (at least in my area). Not raising these

    Jumping Bristletails: Rare primitive insect found in forests near millipedes and wood/bark, I saw on arachnoboards some people who tried raising them for their arachnids but they are supposedly very hard to raise in captivity since they might specialize in eating algae and their scales can fall off and they can die easily in captivity, also they're pretty small and probably impractical.

  • Remember, I am asking for others’ opinions on eating and breeding these bugs, though I provided my assumptions it does not suffice to my ignorance, so this is like a collaborative effort. I am wondering on which bugs are worth breeding and/or eating.

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