Friday, October 10, 2008

Buggy Recipes

Since it's Halloween, I figured that I would give you some creepy-crawlie ideas in case you plan on throwing a Halloween party.

Many cultures throughout history as well as today consume insects as a part of their diet (this is called active entomophagy). Yes, this grosses many people out, but insects can actually be a good source of protein. So what do people eat in the insect world? Common things include larvae and pupae of various insects, waterbugs (actual waterbugs- Belostomatids- not cockroaches....although some people eat those too!), ants, grasshoppers, termites, scorpions and tarantulas (yes, I know, those last two aren't insects, but I'll include them anyway).

In the U.S., people get grossed out by thought of adding insects to their diet. Unknown to many, they get extra protein from insects from their normal, everyday diet. Many food items have insects or insect pieces in them since it would be near impossible to keep insects out of food during harvesting and processing. The FDA regulates how much "stuff" can be in various foods and you can actually look this up on their website.

So now that everyone is grossed out, here some of my favorite things to do with bugs and food.

A good quick party mix is to make Chex mix and add roasted mealworms. They actually blend in very well- people mistake them for pretzel sticks. Roast the mealworms at 250 degrees for about 15 minutes. You can also coat the mealworms with olive oil and season with your favorite spice rub.

Chocolate covered crickets are another good party treat. Put the crickets in the freezer for 30-45 minutes to firm up and make them easier to handle. I prefer to pull off the hind legs so the legs don't get caught in your throat when you're munching them. Melt chocolate either in a double boiler or in the microwave. Dip the crickets in chocolate and place on wax paper to harden. If you want to get really fancy, you can substitute the chocolate-covered crickets for chocolate chips in cookies.

I buy my crickets and mealworms at the pet store. When I bring them home, I put them in oatmeal or cornmeal for a few days to clean out their digestive tract. You can either cook them directly or put them in the freezer for 7-10 minutes to stop the wiggling and then cook them.

Happy Halloween!

BB's update...still no baby. For those of you keeping track, BB was due to arrive last Wednesday. Currently, I'm attempting to be patient, but I'm not doing a very good job. BB is still doing fine according to the doctor, so hopefully, he/ she will arrive soon!

Excluding Pests from Your Home

With cooler temperatures, you may often find your home invaded by unwelcome visitors. No, I'm not talking about all the relatives that come to visit for the holidays. Many insects and other arthropods will move indoors to find a more suitable habitat to spend the winter. With a few preventative techniques, you can exclude many of these critters from coming inside.

Exclusion ideas to help keep pests out of your house:

  • Prune trees and shrubs so they do not touch or over hang the house or roofline.

  • Do not stack firewood or other items against the house.

  • Install weather stripping around loose fitting doors and windows (if you can see daylight around a door during the day then the weather stripping should be replaced).

  • Block weep holes in homes with a brick or stone facade with steel wool or copper mesh (use copper on light colors since steel wool will rust if it gets wet).

  • Use caulk or expanding foam to fill in cracks and crevices on the outside of the home and around pipe and wire penetrations.

  • Keep window screens in good repair.

  • Use stainless steel mesh wire to block access points in the attic (vents, etc.).