Could Cicadas Be the Perfect Spring Snack?

The 17-year Brood II Cicadas will be swarming Northern Virginia in May and June. Considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, these bugs in your backyard could be a newfound treat.

Some might say cicadas are loud, annoying and disgusting—but others say they make a great snack!

And you may have plenty of opportunities to try them this summer when they emerge from the ground in Northern Virginia. 

There won’t be quite as many cicadas this year as in the infamous Brood X 17-year cicadas of 2004, but a sizable population of Brood II 17-year cicadas will invade DC this spring.

The Brood II cicadas will emerge probably in mid- to late May from North Carolina to New England. Brood II last emerged in 1996 in our area.

  • See: Return of the 17-Year Cicada Expected This Spring

A Delicacy - Fried or Sauteed

Cicadas are considered a delicacy in some parts of the world, primarily Southeast Asia.

The Baltimore Sun reported that cicadas are commonly sauteed or fried. Gaye Williams, an entomologist with the Maryland Department of Agriculture in Annapolis, affirmed, "Cicadas are the truffles of the insect world. They're just like any other food commodity, but they're scarce."

They can also be eaten covered in chocolate, roasted, marinated or pickled.

"They're high in protein, low in fat, no carbs," said Gene Kritsky, a biologist and cicada expert at the College of Mount St. Joseph in Cincinnati, OH. "They're quite nutritious, a good set of vitamins," he told National Geographic News during the last major cicada outbreak in 2004.

There’s no mistaking cicadas for other large insects. Cicadas are generally three-quarters of an inch to two inches long. They have wide-set eyes, six legs, and long, transparent wings.

If you’re brave enough to eat one, here are a few recipes for cooked cicadas. No word yet on whether any Mount Vernon area restaurants plan to put cicadas on the menu this spring.

Would you ever eat a cicada? Have you even eaten one? Share with us in the comments below!

MR PLUTO April 21, 2013 at 11:21 AM
Long ago I heard a great rap song about cicadas: Cicada Seranade -- "They've got big orange eyes they can barely focus. Some folks call 'em 17-years locusts, but that's the wrong data, the name is "cicada", and they're here now, but they won't be here later. They've got four wings, but they don't know how to fly, just come out of the ground have sex and die. But I dig their gig, I like their style, 'Cause they may go quick, but they go with a smile. Cicada seranade, check it out..."
Stella McEnearny April 21, 2013 at 04:39 PM
Great rap!! But on consuming cicadas, I'll pass...


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