I can't speak to the corn borer itself, but as to the "all bugs are edible"
statement, that sounds dubious. One example I can think of is the blister
beetle, which affects alfalfa producers. It is not so much a pest of alfalfa
itself, but if a horse eats alfalfa containing dead or live beetles, it may
develop cantharidiasis poisining and die. According to a Kansas State Univ.
entomology leaflet, "Blister beetles contain a substance called cantharidin.
This chemical is an irritant capable of blistering internal and external body
tissues exposed to the chemical. Livestock most frequently come into contact
with blister beetles as they consume alfalfa hay containing the dead beetles.
Horses are especially susceptible..."
Doesn't say anything about toxicity to humans, but I wouldn't want to try
And what about the well-known "unpalatibility" of Monarch butterflies to
birds because of the compounds developed from the larvae eating milkweed? Do
they just taste bad or are they also toxic? Surely there must be other
examples. The world is too varied for such simplicity as "all bugs are
Then again, your PBS entomologist may have been referring to "true bugs",
which are insects in the order Hemiptera (squash bugs, lygus bugs, minute
pirate bugs, etc.). People (in particular entomologists) should be more careful
about throwing the term "bug" around, when they really mean "insect". Use of
the terms interchangeably can be very confusing...
EW in Southern Utah
Dan Hook wrote:
> Only a guess, but I saw an entomologist on a PBS special, say as she was
> walking through the jungle "all bugs are edible" I wondered about the all
> bugs in that there must be a poisonous one somewhere. But I took her
> statement to mean any "ordinary" bug is edible. Which if one thinks about
> it is funny. We spray poisonous stuff on plants to rid them of a creature
> that is safely eaten. Of course some bugs eat the plant preventing them
> from growing, but the bugs themselves are probably edible. Beth
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Bob MacGregor <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> To: email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>;
> email@example.com <firstname.lastname@example.org>; email@example.com
> Date: Wednesday, June 30, 1999 11:35 AM
> Subject: Re: corn
> >Does anyone know if corn borers are toxic or otherwise a health hazard?
> Or, besides raising the protein content of the corn minutely, is their only
> damage aesthetic (admittedly a major effect when faced by squeamish
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