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Bring on the Bugs: Insects Are Part of Menu at Class Event Nov. 9

PULLMAN, Wash.—Students of Washington State University professor Richard Zack’s “Insects and People” course, as well as the public, will have a chance to put their gag reflex to the test during the annual insect-eating lunch from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9, at Ensminger Pavilion. On the menu will be cricket chili, mealworm tacos and various pastries sweetened with honey, an insect byproduct. Those attending can also sample comb honey, wax and all.

Richard Zack. Click image for a high-resolution version.

Zack, director of WSU’s M.T. James Entomological Collection, said the insect lunch is a way for his students to understand that people in other parts of the world don’t exclude insects from their diets, either as a protein supplement, flavoring in dishes or for medicinal purposes.

In Japan, traditional foods incorporated different insects, such as bees and cicadas. In Thailand, certain insects are ground up and used to season dishes. The Chinese have used scorpions, specific spiders and many ants in traditional medicine. And Africans seeking another protein source turned to termites, grasshoppers or caterpillars.

Zack had occasion to try termites during a visit to Africa. “They actually weren’t that bad,” he said.

The WSU insect lunch will also have bug-free chili and tacos for students and others not inclined to push their luck—or their gullets.

For details, contact Zack at 509-335-3394 or