Document Type



Eating insects is not a common Northern American practice today. However, in the past a variety of insect species was consumed in Northern America (north of Mexico including Greenland). The aim of this literature review is to provide an historical overview of North American entomophagy based upon both peer and non-peer reviewed sources on this topic. Regional differences in insect consumption and reasons for being underreported are discussed. We show that North American natives, and in certain cases colonists, collected and consumed a large variety of edible insects. These are categorized per order and where available, information on how these species were collected and processed is provided. Lastly, we mention reasons for the renewed interest in edible insects in North America, and make suggestions for future studies.


Entomology | Indigenous Studies | Nutrition


This article, published 14 April 2016 in the Journal of Insects as Food and Feed, is copyrighted by Wageningen Academic Publishers and licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License ( The version of record is available at