Insect wall
Insect hotel or outdoor larder?

After my night at the museum scoffing edible insects, I was left wondering whether any of the insects (preferably pests) in the garden would be edible. So I sent off an email to the entomology department at the Natural History Museum and today they have been kind enough to provide me with an answer:

“Dear Mrs Cooper,

Thank you for your enquiry. Your blog is fantastic!

I could see you have consumed adult House Crickets Acheta domesticus and Mealworm larvae Tenebrio molitor during your visit. They are some of the most common entomophagous delicacies in restaurants, and also British species. It’s true that the House Cricket is really an introduced species, and both species live close to humans, but both are living now in the wild in Britain.

People eat many kinds of locust, cricket, beetle and wasp larvae around the world. Honey bee larvae, wasp larvae, Stag Beetle and Cockchafer larvae, these should be all edible. Stag Beetles are protected, so you couldn’t hunt for their larvae, but these are all species you could try.

For more information on House Crickets and Mealworms, please follow these links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acheta_domesticus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tenebrio_molitor

I hope this helps. Please contact us again if you need more information.

Yours truly,

Florin Feneru
Identification and Advisory Service
Angela Marmont Centre for UK Biodiversity
The Natural History Museum

Now I asked my question out of curiosity and have no intention of going outside and seeing which insects and their larvae are making their home in the garden, just so I can put them on my plate. And if you wanted them to make any significant contribution to your diet then you would have to raise them yourself in quantity indoors. I am still of the opinion that encouraging biodiversity at all levels in the garden is a good thing, so I will leave the entomophagy to the chickens :D