A Straight Dope Classic from Cecil's Storehouse of Human Knowledge

Do people really eat chocolate-covered ants?

October 8, 1999

Dear Cecil:

Do they really make chocolate-covered ants? Do people really eat them? Why?

Cecil replies:

Some people say it's because they're less filling. Others say it's because they taste great. But yeah, people eat 'em, and not necessarily disguised with chocolate, either. Doug Yanega, head of the entomology branch of the Straight Dope Science Advisory Board, says, "I eat them straight. Honeypot ants (Myrmecocystus) are the tastiest, but most have a hint of something citruslike." Insects are a daily staple in many corners of the world, no doubt partly out of necessity. But some think "entomophagy" (bug eating) of selected "microlivestock"--you gotta love the terminology--could be the coming thing in developed countries too. I'm told that certain restaurants in D.C. offer stir-fried mealworms and other tempting bug-based treats. All I know is, if I find a bug in my soup, I'm still sending it back.

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