Did you know that out of the 250,000 species of beetles, all of them are edible? That gave us a lot to choose from, but that doesn't mean we went out of our way to find the tastiest. And while beetles are served as a delicacy in many parts of the world, they aren't usually delivered up alive and kicking.
We wanted to find an aggressive, crunchy type that would make our contestants earn their money. To do this, we returned to the same company that furnished us with the superworms. Turns out the worms are only baby beetles waiting to grow up. The feisty, aggressive larvae grew up to be feisty, aggressive, hard-shelled beetles. Seemed perfect for us.
Add that to the lucky characteristic of a strong, pungent odor that even to this day leaves us without an accurate way of capturing it other than experiencing it. It was such a distinctive scent that the press we had on set for that day could not stop remarking on it.
To make the stunt a little more fun, we decided to let our contestants bowl for two frames. However many pins remained standing would represent the number of beetles they had to consume. Turns out this was a great idea, or we had a brilliant casting department, we're not sure which because none of our contestants were good bowlers.
We were prepped. We had on hand seventy snappy beetles to be consumed. We had to design a good way of eating them. They were super feisty, and you could feel them grab on to your hand. We didn't want them going down through a contestant's system even partially alive. They were strong enough to at least cause an upset stomach. To prevent this, we required each chew the beetle before swallowing it.
Because scent is so strongly linked to our sense of taste, it worked well that the beetles stunk. We had been feeding them cornmeal and apples to make certain their systems were clean (think of it as a cleansing diet for bugs). Even so, according to our contestants, this didn't really make the beetles taste all that great.