Vending machine at HMNS serves insects as snacks

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- A vending machine at the Houston Museum of Natural Science serves up insects -- you read that right -- to hungry guests.

Located in the Brown Hall of Entomology, the vending machine contains everything from chips made of ground cricket flower to chocolate-covered bugs. Scorpions, ants, mealworms and beetles are all available for purchase.

According to Cockrell Butterfly Center director Erin Mills, the museum regularly holds events that feature insect-inspired cuisine. The buggy snacks always proved popular with guests, and the idea for the machine was born.

"Most people think it's pretty gross -- a lot of people can't believe that people would purposely eat insects," Mills explained. "Once they realize that it's popular with children, they start daring their friends to do it."

She added that the vending machine makes "quite a lot of money."

In the exhibit, museum guests can also learn how other cultures regularly incorporate insects, which are rich in protein and more readily available than traditional animal proteins, into their diets.

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