Acorn Grubs: Bait, Trailside Nibble

by Green Deane

in Cooking Methods & Materials, Critter Cuisine

Yes, this is about eating grubs. Deal with it.

Flexible, the grub squeezes out of a small hole.

Without the expertise of Charles E. Williams and the Michigan Entomological Society, Department of entomology, Michingan State University, this article would not be possible.

Over 100 species of insect feed on North American nut trees, including acorns. The most common acorn insects are weevils, genera Curculio and Conotrachelus, or long snout and short snout. The long snout weevil has a snout as long as its body or longer. The short snout weevil has a snout that is one-half the length of its body, or shorter.  Both feed off corns and lay eggs that later become edible grubs.

Grubs are legless, buttery tasting, and chewy

The long snout weevil drills a hole in the acorn then lays her eggs. The short snout weevil finds a cracked acorn and lays her eggs through the crack. Both are quite successful. The legless grub-like larvae hatch from the eggs in a few days to a couple of weeks and there can be several larvae in each acorn. They go through a five stage growth development and eventually grow large enough to chew their way out of the acorn.  They squirm out, drop to the ground, dig in, make a cocoon, and pupate for one to five years before emerging as adult insects.

The cavity in the acorn is then used by the Acorn Moth to lay her eggs. Those turn into a caterpillar, long, skinny, with six short legs on front, and usually pupate in the acorn. What you are looking for is what you see above left and right, a short, legless grub that is tan colored and fat in the middle. No Legs. Raw acorn grubs taste mild and surprisingly a bit chewy like a piece of fat. Cooked they are soft and buttery. But, you have to cook them over low heat if you fry them. They explode within a second if you put them in very hot fat.

Mama beetle looks for a hole to lay eggs or drills one

Grubs are also nutritious containing protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. In fact, in Australia 10 finger-large witchetty grubs meets all the daily calorie and nutrition requirements of an adult.

You can use grubs directly for fishing or put them in a bucket of sawdust or the like where they will make cocoons and live for one to five years, fresh bait when you need it. You can also store them in the frig. Whether you tell anyone looking for a snack in yoru frig that they are there is your call.

As for finding grubs in acorns the peak season is in September follow heavy rains in August. That can vary depending on where you are and also if other nuts are involved. If you want to read more about weevils here’s an informative article by the insect experts at the University of Kentuck.

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{ 15 comments… read them below or add one }

Julius Rance November 4, 2016 at 12:59

How can i search for free live grubs or purchase them i want to try them and how to cook them thanks alot

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kevin sweeney November 4, 2016 at 19:31

Hello there Julius, Well I’ll tell ya, it’s hit or miss……gather acorns by brushing away the fallen oak leaf “blanket”, then go to town bagging those with no visible cracks or wormholes…..take home, crush under your bare heel, and use you fingernail to peel………..it’s really kinda cool to eat… juicy and sweet for their size. Oh and btw, the nut will be no good, but I prefer the grub. Lemme know, Kevin

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Christine June 11, 2016 at 21:05

Two years ago I decided to make use of the many acorns falling from the trees in my yard. I did some research on it and made flour and finally bread and muffins. During this time I also found that the grubs were so delicious and a lot less work, that now I’m only interested in the grubs and I let the squirrels have the “good” acorns.

Thanks Green Deane for this website and your videos. You have truly inspired me to discover how beautiful, interesting and delicious it is outside 🙂

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PT December 4, 2015 at 17:29

My Son collected a big bag of acorns and left it on the back porch, I noticed a bird on the porch eating little grubs around the bag, I dumped the bag of acorns and collected up a lot of these little grubs, I know that grubs are packed with protein and have eaten other grubs at survival school so decided to try one, I was surprised to find that it tasted pretty good, tasted nutty…I poured the rest out on the porch and went back inside, the bird came back and feasted.

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joyce November 28, 2015 at 21:18

Yay Michigan! for their contribution to this article. I’m originally from Michigan and will look for any publications from them.
And thank you Deane. I was told never to eat acorns because they were toxic. However, when I began to research Native Americans, I found acorns to be a main source of food for many tribes. I would like to know how to identify which one are edible and how to prepare them.
Thanks Deane (and Michigan).

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Jim Harryman September 24, 2015 at 05:00

West Michigan am finds round “balls” brownish in color red fleshy inside along with acorns this year yes w grubs inside sometimes one but also 4-5 inside others . They shrivel up in a matter of few days. What are these? Never saw them b4. Mostly black oak trees. Misfit acorns? Very curious and yes the bluegill love em but very tender to use as bait unlike the maggot(spikes). Any further insight would be appreciated TY JIM

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Green Deane September 24, 2015 at 17:54

Those are insect galls.

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Devon September 10, 2014 at 23:59

I am looking forward to trying this, as the acorns are starting to fill in and the rains have been frequent and heavy here in southern Louisiana!

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janet October 16, 2012 at 14:37

Very good ideas.

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수천 October 16, 2012 at 01:56

Wow, just yesterday I headed out for a short trip to gather acorns and found a cluster of sawtooth and daimyo oaks. short trip became a long excursion hot on the trail of each tree beyond the next. hunger happened and as I had not planned to be out all day had nothing but water… and… grubs. texture reminds me more of a seasquirt than fat in my opnion with a subtle farinaceous flavor. was enjoyable.

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Tyler September 4, 2012 at 21:15

That’s Awesome!

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Justin July 26, 2012 at 03:12

do you think this would make decent fishing bait?

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Green Deane July 26, 2012 at 16:49

No… a very hungry mullet might try it but I doubt it.

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Dominique March 30, 2012 at 17:16

Thank you ever so much for all your very interesting videos on edible weeds.. I have learned a lot.. I was looking for how to grow Jacques fruit seed to a tree and end up watching your videos, and felt the prompting of going to your website to express my gratitude for chairing your great knowledge and experience on how to eat more natural and green.. and remain healthy.. Thanks again for all your videos and hope you’ll continue.. we need more people like you to show in a funny pedagogic way how to eat weeds, eat green, eat healthy..

Love your videos, keep going, looking forward for more videos on youtube, news letters..
Dominique from France

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Green Deane April 1, 2012 at 20:42

Why thank you…..

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