The Cicadas are coming, and they can be eaten

May 21, 2021

Cicadas will soon emerge in Indiana, and according to experts, eating these insects is good for your health and the environment.

“They’re a lot like shrimp. They’re like tree shrimp,” said Jessica Fanzo, who is a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Global Food Policy and Ethics at Johns Hopkins University.

Insect-eating, or entomophagy, is not common in the United States, but a 2013 report from the United Nations advocates eating insects for future food security.

“Insects, they’re a great alternative source to other animal source foods … for example, cows, which are producing a lot of greenhouse gas emissions,” Fanzo said.

Cicadas, which are high in protein, have also historically been a food source for some Native American tribes.

Fanzo said anyone interested in trying a cicada should pick out the female nymphs, while they are still white and fresh out of the ground, then freeze them in a bag. When ready to try them, boil them for two minutes and then cook them to your liking.

“Insects are a highly nutritious and healthy food source with high fat, protein, vitamin, fiber and mineral content,” according to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The 17-year cicadas, also known as Brood X, will emerge throughout Indiana, but the biggest populations will be in southern Indiana. Expect up to 1.5 million cicadas throughout the state during the upcoming emergence.

Their last emergence in 2004 saw these insects appear in large numbers in Bloomington, Brookville, Clinton Falls, Dillsboro, Fishers, French Lick, Indianapolis, Lawrenceburg, Lexington, Martinsville, McCormick’s Creek State Park, Nashville, North Vernon, Skiles Test Park and Spencer.

When the soil temperature reaches about 64 degrees, Brood X cicadas will also surface in parts of Ohio, Kentucky, Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. and New York.

The Cicadas are coming, and they can be eaten