SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — They hop. They crawl. They squirm. And they could be coming to a dinner plate near you. An increasing number of "entopreneurs" are launching businesses to feed a growing appetite for crickets, mealworms and other edible insects.

These upstarts are trying to persuade more people to eat bugs, which can be produced with less land, food and water than other sources of animal protein. The United Nations has been promoting edible insects as a way to improve nutrition, reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and create jobs in insect production.

But it could be a tough sell for Americans who are more likely to squash bugs than savor them. The San Francisco Bay area is home to several insect food startups, including Bitty Foods, Tiny Farms and Don Bugito PreHispanic Snackeria.