Give Now  »

Indiana Public Media | WFIU - NPR | WTIU - PBS

Science Says Bee Brood Is Good Grub

Honey bees tend to larvae in a hive.

Sweet Meat

Bee researchers have published an extensive report touting honey bee brood as a source of protein to combat food scarcity in the future.

The study says brood, the pupae and larvae of drones, matches the protein content of beef by weight – with far fewer resources and less space needed to produce it.

In fact, honey producers already remove brood to keep pests like the devastating Varroa mite in check, so at the moment it's an untapped and wasted food source.

The study experimented with various ways to raise, harvest and prepare the brood, which many cultures already treat as a delicacy.

"Honey bee brood has a nutty and slightly sour flavor with a crunchy texture when eaten cooked or dried," the study says.

The study also cited some challenges to overcome – harvesting the little buggers from a comb is not so easy, and since larvae are fatty they can quickly go rancid if not handled carefully.

Scientists Love Recipes

Delectable serving suggestions, developed by Ranee Udtumthisarn and the Nordic Food Lab in Denmark, include:

  • Kheang Nor Mai Preaw Kai Peung: soup from north-east Thailand with sour fermented bamboo shoots and honey bee larvae.
  • Kai Jiew Moo Dang: Chicken eggs scrambled with garlic, chilli, shallots, scallions, fish sauce, and honey bee larvae.
  • Peas ‘n' Bees: fresh pea soup, bee larvae (some poached, some fried), blanched peas, lovage and fermented bee pollen (also known as "bee bread").
  • Honey Bee Larvae Granola: oats, seeds of sunflower, pumpkin and flax, coated in a blended mixture of bee larvae and honey and baked until golden brown, with whole dried larvae and pupae added at the end for texture and flavor.
  • Honey Bee Larvae Ceviche: bee larvae cured in rhubarb vinegar, garnished with purple oxalis leaves and stems, freeze-dried raspberries, and lemon verbena.

Read More:

Support For Indiana Public Media Comes From

About Earth Eats

Harvest Public Media