ant eggs ... :)

Has anyone tried ant eggs? I made an amazing discovery in Thailand earlier this year: in the local market , they sold them (but i'ts a seasonal thing, only a month or 2 per year), only locals were buying them... quite expensive compared to other thai food, but still very affordable for a westerner. I think the locals use them in a recipe, I just had them raw, really good... The ants are from a bigger variety, they are sold on banana leaves... In mexico I think there is something called escamoles, but there it's I think an expensive dish. Anyone out there have tried them?

Comments

  • Hi Keira, - According to Ramos-Elorduy in "Threatened edible insects in Hidalgo, Mexico and some measures to preserve them" published in (2006) Journal of Ethnobiology and Ethnomedicine the ants in escamoles are technically larva (& some pupae with some eggs) brood stages of the ant Liometopum apiculatum and L. luctuosum.

    Oecophylla smaragdina arboral weaver ant is what gets sold in Thailand. See (2008) "The importance of weaver ant(Oecophylla smaragdina Fabricius) harvest to a local community in Northeastern Thailand", published in Asian Myrmecology 2:129–138.

    (2010) "Sustainable weaver ant (Oecophylla smaragdina) farming: harvest yields and effects on worker ant density" in Asian Myrmecology 3:55–62. Authors found that over US$600,000 a year was made from ants by ant "farmers" in 1 Thai province.

    (2008) : The importance of weaver ant(Oecophylla smaragdina Fabricius) harvest to a local community in NortheasternThailand", in Asian Myrmecology 2:129–138 investigation of the ants' 4 month long harvest period earned an ant "farmer" US$12 (back in 2007).

    Thais also use Oecophylla smaragdina brood (larvae+eggs) raw to spice their salad dishes. As per (2009) "Fatty acids and proximate composition of eight Thai edible terricolous insects", published by Food Research International 43:335–355.

    (1975) "Edible Insects in North-east Thailand", printed in Thai as Res.Note No. 7. University of Srinakharinwirot, Mahasarakam discussed how cooked Oecophylla smaragdina was used in preparing soups.

    In Australia Oecophylla smaragdina brood (larvae+pupae+eggs) certain groups of Aborigines were known to ball it all up between their palms & eat the mass; apparently this was (is?) also done by some Papuan groups. Another Aboriginal use reported in the same report (1973) "Edible insects in three different ethnic groups of Papua and New Guinea" published in American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 26:673–677 were of adding in some adults to the ant brood, grinding/pounding/mashing all together & adding water for drinking that concoction; the assessed taste of that kind of beverage was said to be sourly agreeable.

  • edit: Add word "a day" to above sentence "...earned an ant "farmer" US$12 ...."

  • "Indigenous Knowledge of the Edible Weaver Ant Oecophylla sma- ragdina Fabricius Hymenoptera: Formicidae from the Vientiane Plain, Lao PDR" points out that locals just use the term ant "eggs" when mean the brood. In Lao there is the word "kai" meaning egg; but what they sell is called in Lao kai mot som & when they are specifically referring to eggs the use the word for "very small" nᴐᴐi nᴐᴐi plus kai (ie: kai nᴐᴐi nᴐᴐi means the actual egg itself).

    Since the queens whose nest is highest up are the main egg layers "...Queen brood availability determines the ant brood collecting period which peaks in March."

  • Weaver ant thesis (2015) by J.VanItterbeeck for Wageningen University is on-line titled "Prospects if semi-cultivating the edible weaver ant Oecophylla smaragdina" ... For weaver ant food W.Nene, et al., (2015) found ground anchovy, fish intestines & earthworms good weaver ant food (cites in Vietnam it is chicke & fish intestines), with optimal supplement being anchovies. On-line free full text available for "Foraging behavior and preferences for alternative supplementary feeds by the african weaver ant, Oecophylla longinoda latreille"; originally published in Journal of Hymenoptera Research 50 .... Mealworns are also well accepted as food by weaver ants, as per, (2007) G. Lim's dissertation for Virginia Polytechnic Institute" Enhancing the weaver ant, Oecophylla smaragdina ..., for biological control of the shoot borer ..., in Malaysian mahogany plantation"; free full pdf available on-line from thesis.lub.vt.edu

  • Ant eggs were used in Ottoman harems to control unwanted body hair. Commercial products are still being sold & can be found on eBay if search for something like "ant egg oil hair removal". Usages are described as after hair waxing or depilatory regrowth is slowed; some claim a protein in ant oil kills the folicle & permanently stops treated area hair growth.

  • The 11th century tract "De Ornatu Mulierum" (about women's cosmetics) written by a famous (alluded to by Chaucer in "Canterbery Tales") teacher in the (Lombard era) Schola Medica Salernitana (Salerno Medical School) named Trotula de Ruggiero mentions ant egg as a definative depilatory. Her tract on women's diseases "De Passionibus Mulierium Curandarum" was 1st published around 1100 A.D.

  • Ant egg oil modern method = remove hair, clean site, massage in ant egg oil for 10 minutes; then for 4-5 consecutive nights before bed clean site & massage in ant egg oil. After about 1 month remove hair from same site, clean site, massage in ant egg oil, follow up with another 4-5 consecutive nights of ant egg oil massage. Repeat that process over the course of 4-6 months, always massaging ant egg oil in for 10 minutes & then the result is claimed to be permanent, so that hair follicle(s) will never grow a hair again.

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