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Students get a taste of entomophagy

Students get a taste of entomophagy

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Lycoming College students in professor Mel Zimmerman’s Invertebrate Zoology class recently were in a class that was infested with insects – the edible kind, that is.

As part of Zimmerman’s final lab for the class, students cooked up invertebrates to eat as part of a lesson in entomophagy, the consumption of insects, which has been around for thousands of years in some cultures. According to Zimmerman, it is estimated today that more than half of the people of the world eat a variety of flying, crawling and biting bugs.

“Not only do these insects apparently taste good, but they’re an inexpensive and nutritious food source,” Zimmerman said. “Eating insects is a way to get a high protein food source – rather than fight them as pests, eat them!”

The menu for “Zimm’s Cockroach Café” featured bacon and cheddar crickets, barbecue mealworms, pickled weaver ant eggs, shrimp, dried cuttlefish, crayfish tails, scallops, octopus and clams. For dessert, there were candy lollipops with a dried cricket inside.

The students enjoyed making their way around the room to sample all the delicacies and many determined that the worst were the live mealworms and the spicy cuttlefish. Several students said the mealworms “popped” in their mouths and also enjoyed treats from a bowl of “mixed bugs,” which featured crickets, grasshoppers, silkworms, mole crickets and bamboo worms. 

Some students preferred to pair the unusual offerings with crackers, cheese and other snacks, while others just doused the insects in hot sauce or chocolate syrup.

Lycoming College is a four-year, residential liberal arts and sciences school dedicated to the undergraduate education of 1,400 students. Its rigorous academic program, vibrant residential community and supportive faculty foster successful student outcomes. Lycoming offers 36 academic majors and is recognized as a Tier 1 institution by U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1812 and located near the banks of the Susquehanna River in Williamsport, Pa., Lycoming is one of the 50 oldest colleges in the nation. For more information, visit

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