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University of Kentucky Department of Entomology

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Bugfood I: Insect-themed Food

compiled by Stephanie Bailey
Entomology Extension Specialist

This unit includes several recipes for insect-themed foods (no insects are eaten). Buggy recipes may enliven a party, 4-H demonstration on insects, or an insect or nutrition unit.


Slice stalks of celery, and spread peanut butter in the groove. Sprinkle with black raisins.

Variations: 1) aphids-on-a-log (sunflower seeds), 2) gnats-on-a-log (currents).


Use cinnamon twists (glazed donut-like pastries formed into the number eight) as the insect body, stick bendable plastic straws in the sides (three on each side) to be the legs, and they should look like giant ants. Use 'donut holes' for ant eggs.


  • 1 cup corn syrup
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 1/4 cup powdered milk
Combine ingredients, then roll into 1-2" balls, then roll the balls in powdered sugar to keep them from sticking together.


  • Fly-in-the-batter cookies: Make chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies, adding raisins (flies) or chocolate sprinkles (gnats).

  • Fly-in-the-batter pudding: Vanilla pudding with raisins.

  • Cow Pies: Chocolate pudding with slivered almonds or coconut sprinkles (maggots). Place a few plastic fly adults on top.


Mix a yellow drink (citrus pop or lemonade) with a blue one (kool-aid). You'll end up with a radioactive shade of green.


1) Use a bundt cake & filling recipe or box, but bake in cupcake tins (greased-do not use cupcake papers). When cool, dip or cover with a thin layer of frosting, and then roll in or sprinkle coconut on top.

2) Soften (but don't melt!) caramel candies, coat with melted chocolate and/or roll in nuts/sprinkles/coconut.


  • 1 3-oz. pkg. flavored gelatin
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 cups mini marshmallows
Grease an 8-9" square pan VERY LIGHTLY. Mix boxed gelatin (any flavor) with warm water in a 1 1/2 quart size bowl and microwave 1 1/2 minutes. Stir to dissolve completely. Add marshmallows, microwave 1 minute more or until marshmallows are puffed and almost melted. SLOWLY stir mixture until marshmallows are melted. Allow creamy layer to float to the top-don't mix it all together. Pour mixture into pan. Refrigerate until set (about 1 hr.). Loosen edges with a knife. Roll up tightly like a jelly roll, then (with seam-side down) cut into 1/2" slices with a sharp knife. Serve immediately or refrigerate.


butterfly made with pretzels

Use pretzels as butterfly wing frames, and stick them together with softened caramel candy or peanut butter. Sprinkle chocolate chips on top.


spider made with pretzels

Stick two oreo cookies together with chocolate frosting. Make 8 curved legs by breaking bow-tied pretzels, and attach them around the middle of the spider by sticking them into the chocolate frosting. Use M & M's for eyes on the front, 'glued' with frosting.

As a variation, use sandwich crackers, instead of sandwich cookies, stuck together with peanut butter.


  • 1 boxed cake mix
  • Black Frosting
  • 1 box green gelatin
  • 8 black licorice sticks
  • 8 gumdrops, M & M's or other round candy for eyes
Prepare any boxed cake mix. Bake it in 2 metal bowls, 1 bigger than the other. Once unmolded, cut the bigger one (the"body") in half, horizontally. CAREFULLY scoop out an adequate cavity in each half. FILL with well-whipped set green Jello, and reattach the halves. Frost both cakes black, arrange on serving platter. Use licorice sticks as legs. Use 2 BIG green gumdrops and 6 little ones as eyes. When the cake is cut into, it spurts green goop, just like a real spider when stepped on.


1) Add a red hourglass to the back for a Black Widow.

2) Substitute pistachio pudding instead of green jello.

Black cake frosting: add blue food coloring to chocolate frosting or purchase black food coloring from a specialty store.


  • 1 20-oz. pkg. chocolate sandwich cookies, crushed
  • 1/2 stick margarine
  • 1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 3-1/2 c. milk
  • 2 pkg. instant chocolate pudding
  • 1 12-oz. tub whipped topping
  • 1/4 c. mini marshmallows (for "beetle grubs")
  • 1 plastic flower pot
  • 1 plastic flower
  • plastic ants/beetles
  • gummy worms

Cream margarine, sugar, cream cheese. In another bowl mix milk and pudding. Let sit until thick. Stir in cool whip, mix with cream cheese mixture. Make sure pot holes are plugged. Put 1/3 of cookie crumbs in bottom of pot. Add 1/2 of cream cheese mixture. Repeat cookie crumbs and cream cheese mixture, adding some gummy worms and the mini marshmallows. Add extra crumbs on top (to look like dirt). Refrigerate over night. Add flower(s), plastic bugs, and the rest of the gummy worms on top. Use a trowel to serve.

Bug food cartoon courtesy of C. Ware, copyright 1997

Last updated: 20 January 1999

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