How Many Bugs Did You Eat Today?

Urban legends about bugs in bananas and bees in figs got we wondering how many of these "urban legends" are factless or, -are they partially based upon truth?

You Ate a Bug and Didn’t Even Notice it

On the transit bus the other day I overheard some teenage girls excitedly prattling-on about urban legends of insects that end up in your food. I’ve heard most of these legends myself as a teenager.

While there is a certain truth to some of that (The USDA allows a certain number of insect parts per bag of pasta noodles, etc.) for the most part, it is just that. An urban legend. At least, within the context of that particular conversation was going.

However, there ARE bugs in even the best consumer food products you buy. Grade “U.S. #1″ ketchup, the highest grade that there is, has as many as 30 fruit-fly eggs per 100 grams (3.5 ounces) according to this report cited from the Dept. of Entomology NCSU.

Swallowed Spiders and other Myths

I’ve heard that tale before, about those alleged spiders that humans swallow every night. The legend goes that they run in and out of your open mouth while you sleep, attracted by the carbon dioxide you exhale and the moisture in your mouth.  That you swallow “three spiders per night” being the oft-cited number. And let’s not forget the urban legend of the banana spider ‘little black dot’ eggs in the core of over-ripe bananas.

A ‘Bugs in Food’ Urban Myth that is True

Well one alleged urban legend about insects in food is actually corect; wasps in figs.

Wasps in Fig Fruits: Mutualism in Nature

As a normal part of the life-cycle of both figs and fig wasps. Yes, this urban legend is true.

Through a process called Mutualism, these specialized wasps have an essential role to play and without them there would be no figs. There are two kinds of figs, a male ‘caprifig’ and the female ‘edible fig.’ The female fig wasp (carrying pollen on her body) will access the male fig (caprifig) while it is still in the pre-fruit stage (basically, a bundle that is as much flower still and it is pre-fruit) and bore a hole to its middle. Here, she will deposit her eggs. The pollen on her body fertilizes the fruit and begins its development.

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32 Responses to “How Many Bugs Did You Eat Today?”
  1. PSingh1990 Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 11:23 am

    Nice Share.

    :-)


  2. Brenda Nelson Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 11:26 am

    bugs are good for you – full of protein.


  3. martie Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 11:30 am

    I must say this will help me to diet. Now I am afraid to eat anything!


  4. clandestinef Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 11:33 am

    Great article… Thanks for sharing…


  5. lillyrose Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 11:52 am

    LOL… this info was enough to make you never eat again!


  6. Dewan Golam Shafi Choudhury Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 12:44 pm

    I was thinking of never eating fruit again!!! Good info I actually enjoyed this very well. It kept me in from start to finish! A good topic I say! ;)

    Bless

    xxxxx


  7. B. Sting Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 1:03 pm

    as one emerging chipmunk to another, those urban myths are hard to swallow


  8. Jaison Says...

    On December 1, 2010 at 2:19 pm

    In some parts of the world they eat bugs as it is. All kinds of bugs (even spiders) has its place in their menu. And In this part of the world we are worried about eating it. :) . The one Urban legend I enjoyed the most was that of the banana spider ‘little black dot’ eggs. It was a good read.


  9. webseowriters Says...

    On December 3, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    A well written article


  10. dino renaldo Says...

    On December 3, 2010 at 8:05 pm

    nice share.thanks


  11. papaleng Says...

    On December 3, 2010 at 9:57 pm

    bugs are a delicacy in some parts in our country. nice share.


  12. Anuradha Ramkumar Says...

    On December 3, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    After reading this, I fear eating anything.


  13. Ukrainian Says...

    On December 3, 2010 at 11:49 pm

    I don’t want any bugs in my food!!! :-( :-)
    Thank you – very interesting atricle.


  14. Carolyn Cordon Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 4:51 am

    I wonder what vegetarians do if they accidentally swallow a bug?


  15. BluSphere Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 5:12 am

    Nasty.. But also very interesting. I still didn’t figure if the “spider in and out your mouth in the night” thing was a myth or a truth.. hmm

    Thanks,
    BluSphere


  16. Freethinking Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 5:26 am

    Wow….no more Fig Newton’s for me. Haha. Interesting how mother nature works.


  17. alvinwriter Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 6:07 am

    Bugs are typical in food, especially ants.


  18. The Ytz Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 6:19 am

    Interesting!


  19. syedfahadraza Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 6:47 am

    nice article


  20. dropbokers Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 7:51 am

    Nice :)


  21. johnbee79 Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 11:20 am

    We are buggy people and we all eat bugs in one form or another. The chicken, turkey, fish, sheep, cows, and other animals that we feed on all eat bugs, so directly or indirectly we are buggy people!


  22. nimbleful Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 8:04 pm

    figs are akin to carnivorous plants?? they DIGEST wasps :/ woah.. I did not know that! very interesting!


  23. nimbleful Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 8:57 pm

    i never realized figs ATE wasps – creepy!!


  24. nimbleful Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    whoops that took a while to load i thought that comment didnt register :D sorry for double (triple) commenting!


  25. Mark Gordon Brown Says...

    On December 4, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    six so far today.

    Makes me wonder if vegetarians are allowed to eat bugs.


  26. Ginae Says...

    On December 5, 2010 at 3:09 am

    Yeah, but…I didn’t MEAN to eat any…


  27. Khairul Azwan Says...

    On December 5, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Nice share
    Sounds scary too =P


  28. SharifaMcFarlane Says...

    On December 6, 2010 at 2:09 am

    I will never look at a fig the way same again.


  29. AskSan Says...

    On December 6, 2010 at 3:35 pm

    Eeeeeew… well I knew about the percentage thing and I thought it was 8 spiders (you eat) per year but…just eeeew. Seriously. However, its important to know so thanks for sharing. I am now going to go throw those old bananas out (grocery day is tomorrow so would have done it anyway)…

    Thanks again for a great read. I do love learning new stuff :)


  30. blade Says...

    On December 20, 2010 at 7:54 pm

    yo this is a weird thing i like figs but i hate wasps bad combo


  31. PaulB Says...

    On January 21, 2011 at 11:48 am

    Now you know why I aint Spidey any more. I got ingested with a banana by an elephant lol. Some wasps lay eggs inside the lavae of other insects I read, and when they hatch……… Urgh. Very informative piece. Agreed, a good Slimming aid. Tee hee.


  32. Ruth Lanham Says...

    On February 2, 2011 at 8:14 pm

    Ugh…not ketchup! Excuse me, I have to go throw myself off a bridge…


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