A report released by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reminds us that there are more than 1,900 edible insect species on Earth, hundreds of which are already part of the diet in many countries.

In fact, some two billion people eat a wide variety of insects regularly, both cooked and raw; only in Western countries does the practice retain an "ick" factor among the masses.

Why eat something that we usually swat away or battle with insecticides? For starters, many insects are packed with protein, fiber, good fats, and vital minerals—as much or more than many other food sources.

Maybe this could be the new economy for Maine as raising and harvesting insects requires much less land than raising cows, pigs, and sheep. Insects convert food into protein much more efficiently than livestock do—meaning they need less food to produce more product. .

So if you are starting to get a bit hungry for some grub(s), sorry, I couldn't resist. Here are 7 yummy treats in our neck of the woods you may want to consider…..

  1. Beetles

The most commonly eaten beetles are the long-horned, dung, and rhinoceros varieties but we have many june varieties right here, simple put on the porch light at night and they’ll find you! Around the world, these are munched by people living in the Amazon basin, parts of Africa, and other heavily forested regions.  Beetles are efficient at turning cellulose from trees (indigestible to humans) into digestible fat. Beetles also have more protein than most other insects. In New England, Native Americans, would roast them over coals and eat them like popcorn. Not sure why it never made to the thanksgiving table...hmmm

  1. Butterflies and Moths

They do more than look pretty fluttering across a meadow; these winged insects, during their larval and pupal stages, are succulent and full of protein and iron. They're very popular in African countries, and are an excellent supplement for children and pregnant women who may be deficient in these nutrients. In Central and South America, fat and fleshy agave worms, which live between the leaves of the agave plant and turn into butterflies, are highly sought after for food and as the famed worm dropped into mescal, a Mexican liquor.

  1. Bees and Wasps

We Mainers love bees for their honey, but they have more to give. Indigenous people in Asia, Africa, Australia, South America, and even  Mexico commonly eat these when they are in their immature stages. Stingless bees are most commonly munched, with wasps a distant second. Bee brood (bees still in egg, larval, or pupal form tucked away in hive cells) taste like peanuts or almonds. Wasps, some say, have a pine-nutty flavor.

  1. Ants

You're probably thinking that it takes a lot of ants to make a meal. True. But they pack a punch: 100 grams of red ant (one of thousands of ant species) provide some 14 grams of protein (more than eggs), nearly 48 grams of calcium, and a nice hit of iron, among other nutrients. All that in less than 100 calories. Plus, they're low in carbs.

  1. Grasshoppers and Crickets

Grasshoppers and crickets are the most consumed type of insects in the world, probably because they're simply all over the place and they're easy to catch. There are a lot of different kinds, and they're a great protein source. The hoppers have a neutral flavor, so they pick up other flavors nicely. Not to mention they fry up nice in crispy in a pan!

  1. Flies and Mosquitoes

Not as popular as some of the others, these still have a place at some tables.  Flies for example, that develop on various types of cheese take on the flavor of their host, and the species from water habitats may taste like duck or fish.

    7. Stinkbugs

If you can get past the funky smell, these insects apparently add an apple flavor to sauces and are a valuable source of iodine. They're also known to have anesthetic and analgesic properties.

Bon Appetit!

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