What happens if you accidentally eat a bug?

lolear(5b - Chicago)June 29, 2009

I'm serious! Would it make you sick? I know some cultures intentionally eat certain insects, but aphids?

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Believe it or not you have eaten bugs before in your life. We all have. You just didn't know it at the time. ;)

Not sure how or why someone would eat aphids since they wash off so easily but you don't have anything to worry about if you did. Just consider them extra protein.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 6:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lolear(5b - Chicago)

I am pretty careful about washing my veggies and I don't think I have eaten any insects. ( I am a strict vegetarian - LOL!) But you never know... Accidents can happen. Are there any bigs you might eat that could harm you?

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 6:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I imagine a bee or wasp might sting you on the way down lol.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 7:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
peapod_23(5(Central OR.))

I have always wondered about poisonous spiders, but then I guess they don't do much harm, I have heard on average a person swallows seven spiders a year(in their sleep), nice thought...

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 7:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
tammysf(9b/10a or sz15/16)

What's worse than finding a worm in your apple?.....

finding half of a worm in your apple ;)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 8:06PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
anney(Georgia 8)

I don't know about you, but if I accidentally eat a bug I'm liable to accidentally throw up!

And speaking of bugs, today I watched an assassin bug attack an armyworm that was on a tomato leaf. Man, that was brutal! Assassin bugs are not cute, and this one was pretty big. I'm glad they don't come in the size of Sigourney Weaver's aliens.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 9:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
jimster(z7a MA)

If you saw my story about the wasp on another thread, please disregard this.

While reading the morning paper, sipping coffee and absent mindedly nibbling on a donut at a campground picnic table, I bit a yellow jacket which had landed on the donut. He stung me on the tip of my tongue, which was a sudden wake-up call.

Fortunately, it was not so painful as you might imagine and there were no serious aftereffects.

What I really dread is breathing in an insect or getting a bug in my ear.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 9:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
roper2008 (7b)

It's true, everyone's eaten bugs without knowing it..Even in some
foods, like cereals for example , may have a little bit of bugs in it.
A certain small amount is allowed, since it is unavoidable. You would
nerver actually see it.. I always check my vegetables very carefully for
bugs, but I bet I've eaten more than one.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As Roper said - everyone's eaten bugs without knowing it. You don't want to know what all you've eaten in cereal!

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 10:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
granite(z6 NC)

Sorry, but if you eat a bug its DNA will rapidly overwrite your DNA and transform you into a mutant.

But, luckily your family will be well provided after the Sci-Fi Channel makes a movie of the week about your misfortune.


    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 10:32PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
pushindirt(z8 OR)

My son had a bug go up his nose. It didn't come out and went down the back of his throat and he swallowed it. He was only about 8 at the time.
He screamed bloody murder. But it had no lasting effects. He's a fine young, healthy strapping man now.
Maybe it was a healthy bug :-)

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 10:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

One of the stories I love to start out with my students is called "Eat Your Bugs." The story is more of a magazine article. It says humans are out numbered by bugs about a hundred million to one or something like that. Furthermore, as Westerners (many European countries included), we are very strange for NOT eating bugs. Most of the world eats bugs as part of their staple diet. The article goes on to say that we could potentially solve many of our global warming problems by switching to more of bug diet rather than a large animal (especially cows) diet.

At the end of reading the story, I make chocolate covered crickets for my students to eat. All the times I served the chocolate covered crickets, only two students refused to eat the crickets. Believe it or not, chocolate covered crickets are not so bad. I would like to add that all crickets were purchased from the pet store because it is dangerous to eat bugs from outside. They could have pesticides or herbicides on them or be carrying some kind of disease.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 10:43PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

speak for yourself. I eat bugs. All I need to do is, say, eat a peanut butter sandwich for breakfast every morning. According to the USDA, I will then have eaten about two ounces bugs in a year. Just google it and find out for yourself.

Then there are the fresher, fully organic, local things that hide in my lettuce. Although they are not hyped and whitewashed by commercials and neat packaging, I consider them better eating than the industrial ones. They come packaged with prime vegetables after all. Either way you will eat your bugs, fresh or ground and dried.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 10:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Just get all of those cabbage worms out of the broccoli before you chomp down on them. Flies, spiders, grubs are one thing. Cabbage worms taste like tushy (substitute 'tushy' with your word of choice).

Seriously. I'm just sayin'

    Bookmark   June 29, 2009 at 11:19PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Its just Protein!!! LOL!!!!!!

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 7:07PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

There are only two significant sources of chitin (recent research suggests it to be a possibly important nutrient) in the human diet: certain mushrooms and bugs. Guess which one is least dangerous to eat.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 8:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
bagardens (Ohio, Zone 5b)

I have noticed that sometimes aphids like to hang out on my broccoli raab. I usually check for them before eating any, but one time I for some reason forgot to check, and ate half of the broccoli. I then remembered about the aphids and looked at what I hadn't eaten. Sure enough it had a bunch of aphids on it. So I can tell you from experience aphids will not kill you or make you sick.

I usually munch on veggies when I am picking and I am sure I have eaten plenty more bugs also, sometimes dirt too. If you ask me I would rather eat bugs than dirt. Bugs you do not normally notice but dirt isn't very pleasant tasting.

Sorry I should probably stop before I make everyone sick.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2009 at 11:33PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zeedman Zone 5 Wisconsin

Like Jimster, I'm less concerned about the bug that I eat (it's dead) than the one that eats me. My mother had a tick crawl into her ear while she was sleeping several years ago, and after days of pain, it required surgical removal.

I think everyone eats a large bug at one time or another... especially if you drink cans of soft drinks outdoors. Last summer, I took a drink of soda, and spit it out by reflex when I felt something solid. It was a wasp, and I spit it out before it could sting me. I think I've swallowed a couple of flies that way, though... and something that hung on, and wouldn't let me spit it out. That was creepy.

Everyone who grows vegetables - or buys them - will eat a few bugs. No big deal... as long as you don't know you did it. I was almost ready to munch on a head of broccoli once, when I spied a hair protruding from it. The "hair" turned out to be the tail of an adult earwig, nestled between the florets. Needless to say, I have inspected my broccoli carefully ever since.

If you eat a "bad bug", then you have just become a beneficial predator. If you eat a "good bug"... well, most of them bite or sting, so you'll be punished for your crime. In either case, chew vigorously. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ever start to think ignorance is bliss?? :-)

Here is a link that might be useful: Tales of a Transplanted Gardener

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The only cautionary note I have heard about eating "common" insects is that if it is something large like a cricket or grasshopper you should remove the legs and wings because there is a chance they could lodge in your gut.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 3:59AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Or, another lovely thought - they may be infested with hairworm.
Nope, not posting a link as I'd like everyone to keep their latest meal right where it belongs.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:02AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lolear(5b - Chicago)

When I first started gardening about 2 years ago, I had no experience. The yard and garden were overgrown with weeds, so my first task was pulling all that out. I probably pulled out some nice ornamentals, too, but didn't know enough to know what I was looking at. I remember the digust I felt at what I unearthed (creepy-crawlies). I friend liked to call me Zsa-Zsa. Generally, I'd say that description is unfair, but right there at the beginning, I did have my moments. I still don't like handling bugs without gloves on, though. Either I never noticed how many bugs were out there, or there are a lot more this year because of the wet spring. In either case, I would like to think that I do not eat bugs (so, thanks everybody, for that!). I do look things over VERY carefully before I eat anything, though. (individually washing each leaf of lettuce, then rinsing again, then again before spinning! Compulsive?) But I do wonder if there are any insects that could survive a trip through one's digestive system and become parasitic? Best not to think of things like this... ;)

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 9:11AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

individually washing each leaf of lettuce, then rinsing again, then again before spinning!

Compulsive? A little.

But I do wonder if there are any insects that could survive a trip through one's digestive system and become parasitic?

Paranoid? Definitely.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:14PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I go pick grapes at a U-pick farm, I do what other fellow homebrewers do: I don't care about the grape variety (well, I care if it is red or white), I just go to the row with the most flies and wasps. Those are the grapes that will make the best wine. Surely I increase the wine bug content by a factor of ten that way.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 12:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

But I do wonder if there are any insects that could survive a trip through one's digestive system and become parasitic?

I saw that on an episode of House.

Then there's the Bot Fly...

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 1:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

In India many "vegetarians" would get enough protein in their diet because the grain was not at the same standards of purity as in say Britain. They would get enough from bugs and termite eggs. When they moved to Britain they suffered nutritional deficiencies especially in B12 I believe. If I see a worm in say a fruit I will just cut out that piece.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Well, working pediatrics for 10 years you learn abotu a WHOLE slew of parasites kids can pick up from soil. Hookworms, Tapeworms, pinworms. At least once a year id have a panicked mother come into my office with a tupperware or jar of some bug that crawled out of a oriface of a child. This is in the USA, in massachusetts, in a suburb of Boston. Its VERY common. Its all treatable.... -cassie

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 2:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My father farmed in Idaho for many years. He would sell truckloads of grain to the General Mills plant in the nearby city.

When he first started selling to GM, they would immediately test the truckload of grain as it entered the mill grounds, if it had too high a percentage of "bugs" it would be sent to the side of the plant that produced animal feed, if it was "clean" it went to the human consumption side.

So, as the years progressed one day my father was not stopped at the gate as usual. My father questioned, and was told they no longer separated the grain, they just added
insecticide to each truck load. And sure enough, as the grain went up the auger to be stored, a little tube would intermittently shoot a pellet of insecticide right in with the grain-yummmmy!!!!


    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 4:51PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

When I was in Korea, we would go to the small towns and the markets. There you would see big cauldrons of spiced beetles (3 inch long ones) and centipedes in what ever kind of broth. These were considered a snack and would be served in little cups w/ spoons. Some of the bigger markets sold things you don't even want to know about. A few bug wings in my ceral no big deal.

    Bookmark   July 2, 2009 at 10:22PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ladybugs are very bitter......one flew in my mouth when playing sports in high school and it was so nasty tasting.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 12:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

As people have said before, westerners are actually strange for not including some kinds of insects in their normal diet.

Though, oddly, we think eating crustaceans is fine. Is there really THAT big a difference between a grasshopper and a shrimp?

That said, insect larvae gross me out, so I probably would not eat any kind of grub or caterpillar, unless maybe it was prepared by someone who knew what they were doing (like some non-western cook that makes them all the time). The thought of accidentally eating, say, a cabbage worm, totally grosses me out.

I've heard crickets and grasshoppers aren't too bad, again, properly prepared. And locusts are specifically mentioned as kosher in the scriptures! Hey, kosher restaurants could be totally missing out on a great alternative to shrimp.

Parasites are a different matter, but don't you mainly get those from fecal contamination? An aphid or cabbage worm is not going to survive your digestive tract and become parasitic. Being a parasite is not that easy; they have to have a lot of adaptations to survive that environment and hide from your immune system.

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 12:48PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We grow raspberries, and sometimes I will eat a few of these right out of the patch, and now & then an ant will go down with the raspberry. I have never gotten sick from this, but I can tell you that fresh ants taste terrible. Maybe if they were roasted and coated with chocolate...

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 3:17PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
lolear(5b - Chicago)

If my cats are any indication, certain bugs just don't taste very good. I've seen them try to eat an ant, only to spit it back out seconds later. Apparently, ants secrete fomic acid, so I suppose they do not taste very good, and/or sting. Not sure why lady bugs are not palatable, but according to the cats, they are not (too crunchy?).
Personally, I try not to eat anything that had a mother :) so I guess I'm stuck triple washing....

    Bookmark   July 8, 2009 at 3:40PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

And what happen if you eat bug's egg ?? lol Are they going to hatch in your stomach ? Because today, when I washed my lemon bassil for my salad, I saw 1 leaf had bug's egg ( that's the same bug that laid their egg on my squash leaves, too ) and I just felt YUCK!! because lately, I ate lemon bassil without cooking it first since that is for my salad. I just hoped there's no bug's egg I have eaten from it before :D

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 1:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Where do you think fruit flies come from, the ones that fly around the fruit sitting on your counter?

so you are eating bug larvae too.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 3:12PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
daninthedirt(Cent TX; USDA z8a, HZ10, Sunset z30)

You eat bugs all the time. Pieces of dead bugs (and bug poop) on veggies, as well as ground up as dust in the air. So if it bothers you, don't breathe. Think protein.

What happens if you accidentally drink bacteria in strong hydrochloric acid? Oh, yeah, it just goes in your stomach where there is already a lot of bacteria in strong hydrochloric acid.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 6:42PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
zackey(GA 8b)

As the stomach turns. This is better than a soap opera! Now I 'm wondering how many bugs, eggs and bug poop I have eaten over the many years I have been on earth. I might skip breakfast tomorrow. Alot of dyes are made from bug parts. Scared me away from Greek yogurt for a few weeks. Not thrilled about General Mills spraying pesticides on grains to kill the bugs. So glad I don't eat cereal. Even more reasons to pursue homesteading and growing my own organic foods. I would much rather eat bugs than chemicals any day.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:01PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
nancyjane_gardener(Zone 8ish North of San Francisco in the "real" wine country)

"Then there's the BOT fly!" MMQ ewww eww eww! My SIL got the BOT! In Belize!
She kept going to the Dr who thought she was crazy! Worms coming in and out of her scalp!Tried all sorts of self methods! There's a blog about it.....yuk yuk yuk!
When the aspy Dr finally saw the worm coming in and out of her scalp, he got all excited! LOL Finally got rid of it! YUK! Nancy

    Bookmark   August 16, 2013 at 9:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo
terrene(5b MA)

I have gotten less squeamish about bugs over the years. They are pretty interesting creatures really. I am vegetarian and if I were starving would probably rather eat bugs than mammals. They are supposedly quite rich in protein.

I didn't bother washing the mesclun mix from the garden (organic of course) this year. Just picked some leaves and threw them in the bowl. Figure if there is a little dirt or a bug in there, they are extra minerals and protein. :)

    Bookmark   August 17, 2013 at 2:10AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
What to direct seed in eastern pa
Hi everyone. I'm begining to plan my garden for spring,...
this news just in-23 year old lettuce seeds do not...
davids10 z7a nv.
soil-less medium
I have been reading past posts on what medium to plant...
Row covers for warmth
Couple questions about using row covers mostly for...
Organic Hydoponic Nutrients
We grow in organic vegetables in coco coir ans spray...
little sur farm
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™