Cicadas make their way to backyards and dinner tables


Photo by Michael Demske

Cicadas emerge every 17 years to reproduce, and some people seize the opportunity to try them.

By Michael Demske, Assistant News Editor

A nuisance or a delectable snack? The brood X cicadas have risen from their 17 year hiatus underground. Most people are disgusted and annoyed as these large insects infest all outdoor areas, but others have a different perspective. 

Major newspapers and news outlets, such as the “New York Times” and “CBS,” featured recipes for cooking cicadas. Recipes from popcorn cicadas to cicada cookies, encourage people to expand their palates as cicadas are a limited time treat.

“I have definitely heard about all the different ways people are cooking cicadas,” sophomore Aaron Michaels said. “I’ve heard of people making all kinds of different savory dishes and sweets with them.”

Bugs are not enticing to most people to begin with and the idea of consuming them is no exception. For people like Michaels, cicadas are a bit too far out of their comfort zone.

“I’m not a huge fan of bugs to begin with,” Michaels said. “The thought of eating them in any way makes me sick.”

Cicadas have veins in their wings that make them reflective when held up to light and also give them their crunch. Their crunchy exo-skeleton and texture can prove to be tough for people to wrap their head around. 

“If I had to pick one reason why I wouldn’t eat a cicada, it would be the texture,” Michaels said. “The crunchiness of their shells just makes the idea of eating them that much harder.”

For others like Ryan Kunst, a sophomore at Wootton High School, the opportunity to eat these bugs is once in a lifetime.

“I immediately started compiling recipes together and getting ready to eat them,” Kunst said. “It’s so cool that they only come out once every 17 years so I wanted to take advantage.”

Through all the different ways the bugs are prepared, consumers find the creatures are surprisingly tasty. Cicadas are constantly compared to everyday foods eaten on a daily basis. The resemblance makes them a good snack and a tasty treat.

“I made fried cicadas and they were very good,” Kunst said. “I was so surprised because they tasted exactly like popcorn shrimp, it was amazing.” 

Cicadas are not only tasty, but have great health and environmental benefits. Cicadas have 43 grams of protein per serving, more than the amount of protein for ground beef. Also, compared to factory-farmed meat, there are no harmful environmental impacts like air and water pollution.

“I know that bugs have a lot of protein in general,” Kunst said. “It would only make sense that cicadas have more protein because they are larger than other bugs.”

There is no real reason not to try a recipe for cicadas. The bugs are healthy, environmentally sustainable, and delicious. Not to mention they are completely free and unlimited in their availability for the summer.

“I would recommend that you treat a cicada just like any other food,” Kunst said. “Once you forget that you’re eating a bug, they become really enjoyable and delicious.”