Are you thinking of trying unique insect-based meals like bees?
If yes, you may have wondered, what do bees taste like? Does it have a certain sting to it? Or does it have a completely different flavor?
Worry not. We’re here to answer all your questions regarding the consumption of bees.
Believe it or not, insects serve as delicious and healthy snacks in several countries and are even considered future foods due to their inexhaustible nature.
So, if you’re interested in this “future food”, stay tuned, and you’ll get some buzzing information on its consumption as well.
What is Bee?
Bees, in simple terms, mean flying insects.
They are from the Apidae family and collect pollen and nectar.
For many, bees are insects commonly associated with honey, a popular food substance.
Currently, there are more than 20,000 species of bees across the world.
This includes the famous honey bee, which initially came from Eurasia but is now imported as domesticated species.
Apart from the domesticated ones, wild bee species are found on every continent (excluding Antarctica).
North America alone has around 4,000 species of native bees that occupy the ecosystem.
Bees typically feed on protein-rich pollen and sugary nectar from plants.
And yes, like many insects, bees are also eaten by humans.
But, the bees eaten are usually consumed during their early stages.
This means the bees are eaten while still present in the egg, which is the larvae form.
It usually looks like white roundworms.
What Do Bees Taste Like?
If you want to figure out what a bee tastes like but is scared to get stung, you can simply read this section and learn about its taste profile.
Bees usually carry a nutty or smoky taste similar to almonds or peanuts.
However, the taste varies depending on the age of the bee.
For instance, older bees carry a more bitter taste.
Texture wise, it will also be more crunchy when dried and/or cooked.
As people usually eat bees by frying or making chutneys/paste, fried bees have a smoky taste with an enhanced flavor of the bee.
Plus, bees are also high in fats, making them have a very fatty texture as well.
Apart from younger ones, mature bees can also be eaten.
But, they generally lack the smoky and nutty taste found in the younger bees.
This explains why immature bees are typically chosen over mature ones.
In fact, Indigenous people from South America, Australia, Mexico, Africa and Asia commonly eat bees during their immature stages.
Among the bee species, the stingless bees are usually eaten.
Although people have eaten bees for a long time, there’s still no solid proof of health benefits from eating bees.
But, yes, bees are definitely edible to some extent.
This means certain risks are connected to eating bees due to their venom, commonly known as Apitoxin.
The toxin can cause swelling and irritation around the mouth and throat, especially when eaten raw.
Do Humans Eat Bees? How to Eat Bees?
Yes, people eat bees regularly.
It may not be available in cafés and restaurants, but it is a common food in many continents and cultures.
Although, it is usually eaten in its larvae form.
Eating insects may not be a part of your regular diet, but it’s not as uncommon as one would think.
In fact, more than 2 billion people include insects in their normal nutritional diet.
This happens for various reasons, such as its abundance and cheaper availability.
Hence, similar to other insects like butterflies, they are also eaten as a popular delicacy worldwide.
The larvae, which is usually the most eaten bee form, are commonly cooked on their own or dried, which is later added to egg dishes or soups.
These are techniques found in countries like Mexico, Australia, and Thailand.
When eating the larvae, removing them from the honeycomb is not necessary as it is generally safe due to the honey and wax composition.
But it will have tons of sugar.
Just make sure you don’t have any bee allergies, as they can create health problems when eaten.
Also, avoid consuming dead bees as they may have died from some sort of poisoning.
For those unaware, bees are a very common food source, typically eaten in their immature stages.
This prevents the effects of its venom and also makes them much easier to catch.
But before you decide to eat bees for the sake of experimenting, it’s generally better not to eat them in the first place if it’s not part of your regular diet.
After all, bees contribute a lot to human beings and the environment.
Plus, the bee population has declined a bit over the years as well.
That said, we hope our article has provided a helpful guide in understanding the question surrounding bee consumption.