Fried Drone Brood – A healthy and savory snack?

I live close to the town of Snook, TX – where the local roadhouse is renowned for its chicken fried bacon. This dish inspired a thought; why not fry something shocking myself? I was using drone brood removal as a method of mite control in a couple colonies, and they were producing a lot of drone brood around the time of the privet (Ligustrum sp.) flow. I’m a whole lot less squeamish about eating honey bee immatures than I would be about a lot of other insects. After all, honey bee brood is enjoyed as food in large parts of the world.

The tricky step was to get the drone pupae out of the comb. I found that my serrated bread knife was ideal for removing the cappings. The white-eye stage to purple-eye stage drones held together fairly well. Then I shook the whole piece of comb to dislodge the pupae into a mixing bowl full of water. Since then, I read “if brood cells are filled with water, most of the larvae can be dislodged much easier” (Krell, 1996) – I’ll try that next time. I then scooped the pupae out of the water with a minimum of wax pieces. I then placed them on a tea towel and patted them dry.

 

Then I brought them to a friend’s birthday party and we prepared them as below:

  • Prepare a mixture of one part honey, one part soy sauce
  • In a frying pan, heat a good dollop of coconut oil. Test that it’s hot enough by adding a pupa – it should sizzle
  • Add some pupae and fry, stirring frequently. Don’t overcrowd the pan
  • Fry until they are beginning to turn golden-brown
  • Add the honey-soy mixture and fry, stirring constantly for a short while until the sauce thickens and starts to stick to each pupa
  • Serve hot

Even before adding the soy-honey mixture, they had a nice nutty flavor, with a hint of a Parmesan note. Once they were all done we passed them around as an appetizer. The change in expression on everyone’s face was remarkably consistent when they tried the drone delicacy: first a suspicious look, that then quickly gave way to a smile of “oh, that’s good.”

I look forward to the day I see chicken fried bacon, chicken fried chicken, and chicken fried drone brood, all on the same menu.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References:
Krell, R (1996) Value-added Products from Beekeeping. FAO Agricultural Services Bulletin No. 124. UN-FAO; Rome.

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