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Can you eat ants to survive? (And 7 Other Edible Insects)

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Many people can’t imagine eating ants to survive, but it can actually be a great way to get nutrition when you are in the wild. 

Ants can provide protein and fat which can help keep your body strong enough for survival. However, you should make sure that they aren’t toxic before eating them as some types of ants can cause sickness if eaten.

In this article, we will discuss whether or not you can eat ants, why you should or shouldn’t eat them, and what nutrients they contain!

Are ants edible?

Whether or not you can eat ants depends on the species. Some ant species are even poisonous, so it’s important to know which ones can be consumed safely. You can also use this guide to see if other insects are edible.

Packed with protein, fats, and nutrients like selenium, magnesium, and zinc, it might be time to start looking at ants as more than pests!

Is it harmful to eat ants?

Ants can be a great source of protein, calcium and can even help your metabolism. If you can find a source of good ants, they are low in fat and can be one way to help boost your daily intake. 

They can also provide other essential nutrients like magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron. Ants can even contain antioxidants that reduce inflammation within the body.

Avoid eating venomous ants

While it is possible that some venomous ant species can be eaten with little or no harm, some can cause serious problems. It’s best to avoid eating any and all types of venomous ants as a general rule.

There are about 14 different classes of poisons that can be found in ants and that can cause serious health problems.

Also read: Do ants carry diseases?

ants colony on the ground

Can you eat ants to survive?

Ants are eaten in various ways, depending on the country you’re in. Some entomophagy experts believe that ants can give an individual everything they need to survive because of their high nutritional value. However, others disagree and think it’s extremely dangerous to eat ants for survival purposes because there are no safe ways to eat ants.

It can be difficult to judge how many ants you can eat, but some people think that an ant can provide two calories of energy.

Also read: What animals eat ants?

Ant nutrition

The nutritional value can vary depending on the type of ant. However, they can be a good source of protein and fat; ants can indeed help you survive!


Ants can contain up to 21 percent protein in their bodies. This is much higher than other insects like grasshoppers which can only have about 11% total body weight composed of protein.

What do Ants Taste Like?

Ants can taste like many different things. Some people say they can taste citrusy or spicy, while others describe the flavor as sweet and nutty. The type of ant you eat can make a difference in how it tastes too! 

For example, red harvester ants have been described as having a “nutty” and “sweet” flavor by some individuals whereas others say that termite queens can be quite a sour tasting. You might not even notice it if you’ve eaten them before since we generally swallow insects whole without chewing first- so try bringing your antennae up for this one!

Who Should Avoid Eating Ants?

Some people can not eat ants. They can cause allergic reactions, digestive problems, or even death in some cases if consumed. 

If you are running low on food and have no other option, it is possible to survive off of these insects for a short time period but be prepared for any complications that can arise from eating them.

How to harvest ants

Foraging can be a great way to get food, but it does come with a few risks. For example, you can risk poison ivy or get stung by bees and wasps.

You can harvest them from anthills or other areas near moist dirt where the queen ant lives. To make sure that no other insects are harmed in your harvesting process, don’t pour water on an anthill – just gently scoop up the ants.


Other edible Bugs and Insects

Other bugs can be eaten for survival, but ants are probably the most common. Some other edible insects include:

  • Crickets
  • Grasshoppers
  • Water boatmen (or ‘backswimmers’)
  • Termites
  • Caterpillars


Can be eaten raw or used in recipes. A simple way to eat snails is to remove them from their shells with a snail fork, boil the snails for about 20 minutes and then enjoy! The nutritional content of one medium-sized cooked garden snail can provide you with 80 calories, 15 grams protein, .02 grams fat, and more than 100% of your daily allowance of iron.

Steamed snail on the dish


They can be eaten in survival situations because they are high in protein, fat, and vitamins. They can also help you to survive by distracting other animals or insects that can hurt humans if hunted down for food.

Salted crispy small crickets


They can be a good source of protein and can even boost your calcium levels!

Although ants aren’t the most appetizing bug, you can actually eat them.

Grasshoppers can provide protein while still being low in carbs and calories which is perfect if you need to survive but don’t want to add on pounds. People all over the world have eaten insects as their primary food source before this was considered taboo or disgusting by western standards.

edible grasshoppers


They provide a lot of protein for survival.

An ant can be eaten raw or cooked, and can even taste sweet with the right seasonings! Ants can also help to reduce inflammation in your body.

However, ants can carry harmful bacteria like Salmonella which can cause illness if not killed first by cooking them thoroughly. The other risk is that they could upset your stomach if you eat too many at once because they are difficult to digest compared to other insects. There isn’t much nutrition received from eating only one type over another, but over time nutrient deficiencies can occur as well as malnutrition (lack of vitamins).

edible worms


They can provide you with some nutrition that can keep you alive.

Many people can eat insects, but it is up to personal preference if they will want to or not. If you are stranded in the woods and can’t find any other food source, having ants on hand may be a good idea because they will give your body protein and fat (which can help stave off hunger) when eaten properly. Ants also have salt in them which is essential for survival too!

termites colony

Stinkbug Eggs

In other parts of the world, stinkbugs can be eaten as food. In Japan, for example, they are fried and sold in markets during the early summertime. The eggs can also be eaten raw or cooked into a soup or omelet. They can have a peppery taste that isn’t entirely pleasant but is tolerable if you’re hungry enough!


Scorpions can be found all over the world, but are especially common in warm climates. They can survive for weeks without food or water and can go up to a year before dying of natural causes. Scorpions can vary greatly in size, with some measuring just an inch long while others span almost seven inches across their front legs! While scorpion venom is generally not dangerous on its own (unless you’re allergic), it’s also often used as a painkiller!!

roasted scorpion

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it safe to eat ants?

Ants can be eaten, but there are some things you should know before doing so. First of all, not every ant is edible; only the worker ants can be ingested safely. Ant queens and their larvae can contain formic acid which can cause vomiting if consumed in large quantities.

Can you get sick from eating ants?

When you’re thinking about eating ants, the first thing that pops into your head is can I get sick from eating these? Of course, we can – but only if they’re contaminated. If you see signs of contaminants like mold or contamination by other insects then it’s best to avoid them altogether and find another source of food (like our list here). Most times though, depending on where you live and what types of ants are available to eat in your area, there should be no problems with finding safe sources!

What happens if you eat ants?

Insects can provide a lot of nutrition for those who have no other means to survive. In fact, it is estimated that over two billion people worldwide eat insects as part of their typical diet.

There are many types of edible ants and not all species can be eaten. Some only offer the nutritional value of consuming eggs or larvae while others can include both adults and young alike. Ants need less food than other forms of livestock so they can help to support populations that may lack proper resources. They also don’t require any special equipment which can lower the costs involved in feeding them compared to conventional farming methods.

Ant colonies live together with different roles within the larger hierarchy depending on age and function. Younger workers typically focus solely upon gathering food while older workers can be tasked with nest defense and can even kill predators that enter the colony.

However, ants can also bite or sting if they feel threatened which can make them difficult to handle. This has led some individuals to raise their own ant colonies in order to maintain a supply of insects for food while avoiding persecution from larger groups nearby.

About Teodoro Pittman

Teodoro is a nature and animal lover. He specifically focuses on insects, such as ants, bees, and the like. In his free time, he takes care of his own ant farm, where he analyzes their behavior. Teodoro has spent the last 7 years studying the intricate behavior of these small creatures.

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