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Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

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wasp an insect which is normally thought of as something which stings human beings rather than providing nourishment for them. However, wasps’ nests have been raided for food by Aborigines in Australia. A bundle of flaming grass would be held under the nest long enough to drive away the adult wasps, and the white larvae would then be picked out and eaten raw.

Another example may be taken from Japan. As Bodenheimer (1951) relates with relish, basing himself on first-hand information from a Japanese zoologist, Professor Tetsuo Inukai, the people of Nagano (an inland province, where fish is difficult to obtain) prized the pupae of wasps, especially those of the genus Vespula, and had devised ways of securing these without risk of being stung. The pupae of bees are also eaten in the same way. In the city of Omachi in Nagano, the digger wasp (Sphex spp) is baked into biscuits.