What's Bugging Boise 

Snack on flavor-dusted crickets and insect-infused lollipops at Bug Day 2017.

click to enlarge Cricket flavors include buffalo wing, cheesy ranch, cayenne pepper and hickory smoked bacon. - PETER STEPANEK
  • Peter Stepanek
  • Cricket flavors include buffalo wing, cheesy ranch, cayenne pepper and hickory smoked bacon.

It's tough not to love buffalo sauce—roll some wings in it, drizzle it over salad or use it as a dip for chicken strips, and a cook is guaranteed to have a restaurant full of happy campers. But what about using buffalo sauce to flavor crickets? Thanks to College of Idaho’s Orma J. Smith Museum of Natural History, Boise will have the chance to get a taste Saturday, Aug. 19.

Those chirping, leaping specks of protein are on the menu at the “Pestaurant,” an all-ages bug buffet hosted by Idaho Botanical Garden as part of the annual Bug Day. Participants dine on insects, learn from experts about what makes them tick, play bug bingo, watch mass lady bug releases, cheer on their favorites at the Insect Olympics and earn a “certificate of bugology” that bestows junior bug expert status.

click to enlarge A past bug day participant shows off a scorpion-infused lollipop. - PETER STEPANEK
  • Peter Stepanek
  • A past bug day participant shows off a scorpion-infused lollipop.

Adventurous adults and curious kids can take turns munching on crickets in flavors like cheesy ranch, buffalo wing and hickory smoked bacon, or lick their ways to the center of lollipops infused with creepy crawlies like beetles, scorpions and tarantulas.

"It is always fun to see the varied crowd reactions to our Pestaurant," said Eric Bassett, Inside Sales Manager at Gemtek Pest Control, one of the sponsors of the event. "Many people are fascinated with entomophagy, the practice of eating insects, and are open to trying a cricket with a bite or two. Children, especially, love pestaurant and are risk takers, eager to try the insect lollipops and other bug treats."

As a Bug Day representative put it in an email, “The ‘Pestaurant’ is designed to raise awareness of pests and draw attention to the fact that while they can be very destructive and a nuisance, they can also be a low-impact, sustainable and nutritious protein alternative.”

click to enlarge A bug-lover in training enjoys a treat at Bug Day 2016. - PETER STEPANEK
  • Peter Stepanek
  • A bug-lover in training enjoys a treat at Bug Day 2016.
Admission is $8 for adults and $4 for kids. There are discounts for IBG members and free entry for children age 4 and under. Non-bug food and drink will also be available for purchase, and tickets are up for grabs ahead of time on the IBG website.

Who knows, maybe one day we’ll be picking up snack packs at the grocery store that say, “Cricket legs, both delicious and nutritious!” Make sure to stop by Bug Day; the future’s closer than you think.




Saturday, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., FREE-$8, Idaho Botanical Garden, 2355 Old Penitentiary Road, Boise, 208-343-8649, idahobotanicalgarden.org/events/bug-day-2/.







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