What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination

Grossed out
Location: Lynnwood, WA
May 24, 2011 12:48 am
Holy crap, I was eating my angel food cake and spotted this thing crawling around in it. I flipped out mentally, but brought it out to my kitchen where the light was better and set it down to take pictures of it.
I went through the rest of the cake pretty thoroughly and found no evidence of other similar bugs, but I can’t shake the feeling that this thing was in here before I bought it at the grocery store.
Please help me figure out what it is, and tell me if it’s dangerous.
Signature: – Freaked Out

Lacewing Larva searches for Aphids in Angelfood Cake

Dear Freaked Out,
We do not mean in any way to minimize the trauma you felt upon encountering this lost Lacewing Larva while eating your angelfood cake, however, we chuckled none the less.  The Lacewing Larva, if it was capable of feelings, would have also felt traumatized at the realization that it was no longer in a habitat conducive to hunting Aphids.  Lacewing Larvae are found in gardens and among plants and they are very adept hunters that are cherished by organic gardeners because they help to control harmful insects.  Lacewings are even sold in quantities, though they are not quite as popular as either Lady Bugs or Preying Mantids in the biological warfare arena.  We highly doubt you found any additional Lacewing Larvae in your cake, though we feel quite certain that the entire pastry ended up in the garbage can.  It is worth mentioning that many insects are contained in processed foods that are sold by reputable manufacturers and markets.  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has strict guidelines that must be followed regarding the upper limit of allowable insects in food, though most people are unaware that some insects are found in the foods they purchase and that they fall within the standard.  Here are some statistics on the limits that we copied from the Insects Are Food website:
Insects are commonly found in the following foods:
Apple butter – 5 insects per 100g
Berries – 4 larvae per 500g OR 10 whole insects per 500g
Ground paprika – 75 insect fragments per 25g
Chocolate – 80 microscopic insect fragments per 100g
Canned sweet corn – 2.3mm-length larvae, cast skins or fragments
Cornmeal – 1 insect per 50g
Canned mushrooms – 20 maggots per 100g
Peanut butter – 60 fragments per 100g (136 per lb)
Tomato paste, pizza, and other sauces – 30 eggs per 100g OR 2 maggots per 100g
Wheat flour – 75 insect fragments per 50g

What's That Bug? does not endorse extermination
Location: Washington

2 Responses to Lacewing Larva in Angelfood Cake

  1. Susan J. Hewitt says:

    Well this little critter was quite clearly alive and kicking, so I think I can say without a doubt that it very recently dropped onto the slice of cake from a tree or plant, and was not baked into it!

    It also seems extremely unlikely that this Lacewing larva got into the package at the store, since this is very much an outdoor bug not an indoor bug.

    I wonder if there was a bunch of cut flowers (lilacs for instance) in this person’s house that it could have been on, such that maybe it dropped off and fell onto the cake as the person was getting ready to eat the cake?

    Just an idea…

    Susan J. Hewitt

    • bugman says:

      Thanks for your perspective Susan. We never meant to imply that the Lacewing Larva was baked into the cake. We wanted to make the point that insects in food is not an unusual occurrence. Your theory about a bouquet of flowers is a good possibility.

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