BUG Doin’s

Insect Tasting FlyerInsect Tasting Flyer(pdf)

Hilary F Lo of the American Conservation Film Festival asked me to share/serve some buggy food after a screening of the movie, “The Gateway Bug.” (Click here to see the trailer.  3 PM Sat. Oct. 14 and 4 PM Sat. Oct. 21 at The Frank CenterShepherd University.   You can get tickets here.

Hilary wrote: “Attention Foodies! Insect protein is trending in the US. Come learn about it at the American Conservation Film Festival. We’ll have products for tasting available after the screenings.”

“With entomophagist, Steve Bailes…”  If only Mom could see that her boy finally made something of himself. 

“A feature documentary about the rise of the edible insect industry in the United States as a response to decades of poor agricultural practices.”  Here is more info about the screening.

And if you are looking for more great bug events…16991747_1595260947169532_1019793861468628169_o.jpg

Hokie BugFest 2017 (Facebook)  Sat. Oct. 14 at Blacksburg, VA  Hokie Bug Fest , Virginia Tech.

You missed this one, but…

my friend and college room mate sent me this write up about the  September Brooklyn Bugs Festival.


Bug Co-op

  1. A friend was ordering cricket flour, and she was disappointed that so much of the cost was shipping rather than the product. She knew free shipping was an option if you ordered a sufficient quantity, but she didn’t want that much. I jokingly said we should form a co-op. Then I thought (I do that occasionally), “Why not?” A co-op would allow folks to order larger quantities and reduce shipping charges. So that is the 1st purpose of the group.
  2. The group could also share information about insect product suppliers and retailers– both online and brick and mortar stores. I will post lists of suppliers and other buggy resources. Many of the suppliers offer promotional discounts and/or free shipping. Hopefully members will help update the information and correct any errors.
  3. So if you know somebody in the group and trust them, you can combine orders, then set up your own details for times and location for dividing your order and paying. (I would really appreciate it if folks do not sue me if you and your order partner disagree on payment or disbursements.)

Check it out if you are interested? No dues, no meetings, no requirements.  Then join if you are interested.

Bugs in Demand and #BugsEndHunger Campaign

Larvettes2I have been predicting that, within ten years, eating bugs will be mainstream.  How many people that don’t hesitate to eat sushi would have been repulsed by the thought ten years ago.

A parent wrote to me, “My son goes to Slanesville Elementary and they went to Smoke Hole Caverns today. He came home with a box of crickets he has been eating on. He loves them.  I don’t know you personally, but I know you eat bugs as well. Where can I buy crickets? He is so upset he ate almost all of them already.”

I was able to tell the parent how she could order more Crick-ettes from Hotlix.  And there are lots of other bug food sources listed here.  Many of the companies posted promo discounts or free shipping offers.  Some stores and restaurants are also offering bug foods.  Many people will likely want to start with “hidden bugs”.  You can buy cricket flours, protein powders, and energy bars.  These have little evidence that you are eating bugs.  For the more adventurous, you can order live insects.  They can be easily prepared.  A quick stir fry or boil is all that is necessary.

The parent said, “He told me he was going to catch his own bugs.  I told him he should wait until I found out if that is OK..so do you cook your bugs first or just eat them raw?”

There are many sources on line about cooking insects.  I thought this one was especially good: http://www.instructables.com/id/Insects-for-Food-Prep-101/

If you are going to forage for your own insect meals, I never eat bugs unless I have researched them, and know they are safe. Bugs I have found to be safe include June bugs, cabbage worms, ants, crickets, grasshoppers, tomato or tobacco hornworms, and corn silk worms.

Maybe my first bug presentation was given at a couple years ago at Slanesville Elementary to Miranda Thorne Keplinger’s class.  Miranda was a former student of mine.  (I was blessed to have so many great kids in my time.)  Miranda’s students were an enthusiastic audience.  It made me realize, if the benefits of entomophagy were to catch on (benefits like lessening world hunger, individual health benefits, benefits for the environment) the young folks were the best target audience.  Young people can be surprisingly conservative (e.g. preferring foods they have always eaten) , but they also can embrace new ideas and practices.

I have to give Nancy Hill much credit for encouraging me to explore the part insects should play in our daily diets.


If you want to follow a pioneer, Robert Nathan Allen, wrote: “What happens when you eat bugs for 30 days? We believe it will help fuel a movement to end global malnutrition. Little Herds is proud to partner with Seeds Of Action for the  campaign. On May 1st, Seeds Of Action co-founder Jeremy Connor will begin his 30 day diet of eating bugs and plant based foods that can be found, or brought in through food aid programs, in areas where the 1 billion chronically hungry are struggling to live. This campaign will bring awareness to edible insects as a sustainable solution to food insecurity and produce a freely distributed, visually based, Farming Insects Guide (FIG) to empower communities across the planet to begin farming insects for food and economic security.”

This seems really exciting to me– that someone is gathering real data on the effects of eating bugs.  You can learn more and watch an explanatory video here.

Bug Appetit!  –Steve



Bugs, Beef, Belief and Bummed

Doesn’t everybody eat bugs at church?  My church, North River Mills United Methodist, might be called “different”.  A former pastor suggested we might some similarity to the early church described in 1 Peter 2:9 (KJV),  “But ye are …a peculiar people…”  Worship was held at our house.  Terry Lynn loves to feed folks.  Pastor Alanna requested we provide a bug menu in addition to Terry Lynn’s cooking (beef).  There IS a biblical precedent.  Matthew 4 (NIV) tells us 4 “John [the Baptists]’s … food was locusts and wild honey.”  So we gathered, we worshiped, and we broke bread (and bugs.)  When it comes to bugs– at least here in the U.S. “feeding the multitudes is generally not a problem.  I only had I think four of us munching on bug dishes. But I can hope one of those folks will influence somebody else to give bugs a try.  And while by bug dishes may never rival my sweet wife’s cooking, the comments I heard seemed to be positive.  I think pastor Alanna said the bug dishes, “didn’t really taste different from the non bug food.”

I cooked with and displayed products from these companies: Aspire Bitty Foods Bug Eater Foods Chloe’s Treats Crik Nutrition – Cricket Protein Powder , Cricket Flours  Critter BittersEntobento Entomarket ,  Exo Protein barsHopn Bakery  HOTLIX Candy ,  IncredibleFoodsJurassic Snacks Inc. Lithic NutritionNextMilleniumFarms,   Rainbow Mealworm Facebook Rainbow Mealworms  You can find these and other bug products on this page.

I discussed beliefs (church), bugs and beef.  Now I would like to vent– I am bummed.  I would LIKE to share a couple photos from the S.T.E.M. festival in Keyser, WV.  Susan Parker of the West Virginia Dept. of Agriculture had a great learning station starring bugs.  Her colleague, Chris Campbell, was using all six of his legs to beckon learners to their learning station.  Unfortunately, I can’t show you photos those photos.  To upload the photos on this page I had to drive out of state, to Winchester, VA.  Frontier Communications is my internet [non]service provider.  They and the other powers-that-be feel it is OK to advertise high speed internet, but then not deliver it.  My browser frequently indicates that I am not connected to the internet because the speed is so slow.  I was just told of another company that is relocating from Capon Bridge to Winchester, VA because they cannot operate with Frontier internet service.  Students and business folks who depend on the internet are unfairly  deprived of internet service.  My nephew spoke to the Hampshire County Commission and pointed out that our internet is slower that many third world countries.   If you are interested in this topic, feel free to weigh in on these forums, contact your legislators and county commissioners (or attend their meetings and ask for updates), mobilize and demand a remedy: Facebook discussions:  https://www.facebook.com/steve.bailes2/posts/1442884669057375


FTC complaint: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/Information#crnt&panel1-1

Thanks you for letting me vent.

Wishing for you all the bugs you might wish to enjoy.


Home Again Part 2

2017March3BugsCoOp.JPGBugs have been good to me.  I have met some wonderful people.  I have expanded my food horizons.  I previously told of returning to my first classroom– where I began teaching in 1976.  Today I got to teach in the classroom where I taught 6th grade in the late ’80’s.

That classroom was the shop classroom for the old Capon Bridge High School.  I loved the great electric service in that classroom.  (In my other classrooms, my principals would come warn me to get rid of the extension cords when the fire marshall surprised us with a visit.) When I went to teach in the junior high, and the elementary moved to the new school, the old shop classroom became the Harold and Lake Henderson Fitness Center.  After the junior high/middle school also moved on the hill, the Capon Bible Fellowship turned the old school into  a church.  As I walked through the halls and classrooms, I was really impressed with the change in appearance, and I had to wonder why it wasn’t that attractive when it was a school.

So, my old classroom is now the social hall for the church.  And they host a local homeschool “Co-op.”  Barbara Whitacre invited me to bring my bug show as part of her “Foods” class.  For a snack, Barbara added about 20% Lithic  cricket protein powder with 80% of her regular brownie mix.  They were delicious.  (I also got to wear my Lithic T-shirt for the first time.)

I started the presentation with Emma Bryce‘s minute documentary (5 minute) Should we eat bugs? (Click the title if you want to watch it on Youtube.)  I  told the students, that they should not believe all the claims made on behalf of entomophagy. (Heck, some of my detractors would likely suggest “you shouldn’t believe ANYthing Bailes tells you.”)  So I told the students to be skeptical.  But I also urged them to consider the claims, the potential benefits.  Could eating bugs help us live longer?  Could eating bugs help our planet?  Could eating bugs help us feed a rapidly increasing population?  Could bugs actually taste good?  I encouraged the students to consider doing their own research– maybe a social studies fair project or a science project.  I can see many opportunities for meaningful research.  And the students could contribute to the understanding of this wide open field of research.

Teachers seldom know whether they have made their point, if they have registered with the students.  I think I would be very satisfied if one student had his or her interest piqued so they explore this field more.

Click here if you are looking for insect products and discounts.

Wishing you many delicious buggy meals.


If Mom Says…

Have you been looking for a source of insect products?  Mom’s Organic Market is featuring products such as whole, flavored mealworms and crickets, protein powder, Bolognese sauce, cookies, snack bars, and chips– all made with  cricket or mealworm.  I am particularly interested in the escamoles (ant larvae).

Mom’s has 17 stores.  In Virginia in Alexandria, Arlington, Herndon, Merrifield and Woodbridge. You can find the Virginia addresses here. In Maryland there are stores in Rockville, Bowie, Jessup, Baltimore, and White Marsh.  There are also a stores in DC and Cherry Hill, NJ and Pennsylvania.

Apparently the inventory differs at different stores, so you might want to call and check on aproduct availability before you make the drive.  Mom’s has this Facebook page.

Bugsfeed  lists stores and restaurants in the U.S. as well as other countries.

And here is my list of some of the online suppliers.

In my entomophagy presentations, I tell the audience that they should be skeptical.  Food trends and fads notoriously make outlandish claims.  But I challenge the audience to consider, “Even if only some of the entomophagic claims are accurate (feeding a rapidly growing world population, nighly nutritious, Earth friendly, etc.), doesn’t it behoove (my cows love that word) us to explore eating bugs.  hoppersteve

Home Again

I felt like I was back home.  39 years ago (Tuesday Feb. 22, 1977) I had been married for  about half a year.  My sweetheart and I had set up housekeeping in a 10’X16′ ice house.  That crazy girl was driving six times a week to Shepherd College (now university.)   I was in my 1st year of teaching at John J. Cownwell Elementary.  My principal was Stephen Keener.  I was privileged to teach with an incredible  and supportive staff including Linda Conway, Sandee Adrian, Linda Larson, Aurey Saville, and Petey Nixon.

Our president was Jimmy Carter, and the #1 song on the rock charts was “New Kid In Town by the Eagles.

I asked the students how they knew about Hampshire County’s National Teacher of the Year, Rae Ellen Scanlon McKee.  Did they know that Pres. Bush landed in Slanesville to make it official.  Did they know that she attended the predecessor of John J. Cornwell school.  Did they know that her daddy, Edgar Scanlon was the 1st principal of John J. Cornwell (I think.)

I had so many wonderful memories of teaching in this beautiful community.  All the old stores– Haines, Burkett’s, Levels– they’re gone.  But the ridges, the orchards, the fields were as beautiful as I remember them.  Many of the wonderful folks I remember have gone on to glory.

Anyway, back to the present, Rob Coleman, 3rd grade teacher at John J. Cornwell Elementary, invited me to bring my bug show to his school.  Maybe 50 3rd, 4th and 5th grade students gathered in the classroom where I began my teaching career.  I shared my passion for bugs, and my hopes that the young people will explore the potential for entomophagy.  I asked the students to be skeptical of claims I made on behalf of eating bugs.  But I also suggested, “Even if some of the claims are true, then shouldn’t we learn more about bugs.  Can they help feed a rapidly growing world population?  Can it help us protect our world– using its resources more wisely?  Can it help us live longer healthier lives.? I like to imagine that one of these students will pioneer research which wil yield important scientific breakthroughs.

I told the students I couldn’t offer them samples.  But I told them they could check my webpage to order their own.  There are so many and varied insect based products now available.

The teachers were good sports.  I doubt the students will remember much of what I shared.  But I bet they will remember that their teachers Rob Colebank, Angie Foster, and Stacey McKenzie were eating crickets and mealworms.

How about some rock & roll trivia.  What tune featuring bug solos stayed on the chart for 17 weeks in 1967?  Tommy James and the Shondells performed it?

I love being retired.  I love being able to “goof off” and reminisce at one of my favorite schools.  Keep up the good work John J. Cornwell.  You have much good history behind you.  And… bug appetit!

Answer to rock and roll trivia: I Think We’re Alone Now.”  Crickets get to solo breaks around :52 an again around 1:45.