The cicada swarm may be good news for foodies


Note: This originally appeared on Farm and Dairy’s blog, The Social Silo.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, I’ll catch you up on this year’s cicada swarm.

This year’s brood II has spent 17 years underground just waiting for the perfect moment to emerge and begin making large amounts of noise and baby cicadas.

Most of the cicadas will be inhabiting large swaths of the East Coast. According to Popular Mechanics, as many as a million insects could sprout from a vegetated area the size of a football field. That’s a lot of bugs.

We’re not expected to get the noisy little buggers here in Ohio, but that didn’t stop me from consuming as much cicada media as possible. But, to my surprise, I didn’t just find scientific facts about cicadas, no, I found something entirely unexpected: recipes.

Bizarre foods

I’m not stranger to strange food. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t host my own television show about my weird food exploits, I just enjoy trying new things. I’ve tried several foods some people would consider out of the ordinary.

I’ve eaten snake, octopus, rabbit, moose, alligator, escargot, caviar, sea urchin and a variety of vegetarian dishes ( I ate plenty of those in college). Yet, I’ve never taken the dive into insects.

It’s not that I wouldn’t try them, I’d like to, but there aren’t a lot of vendors or restaurants in my area offering bugs as a meal.

What would you do for a bug kabob?

New York Daily News writer, Sasha Goldstein, covered the cicada snack topic rather well. The first step to eating cicadas? Harvesting.

The best time to harvest the creatures is when they’re newly hatched, before their exoskeletons harden. Newly hatched cicadas, called tenerals, are found in the early morning. They should be white and soft.

According to one source, the insects have a ‘mild and nutty like peanut butter’ flavor. Of course, I can’t confirm or deny that claim, I’ve never eaten one.


  • Clermont College offers a few cicada recipes including: A cicada-portobello quiche, cicada cheese wontons, curried cicadas and chickpeas and cicada granola chews.

  • A blog dedicated to tracking the cicada brood, Cicada Invasion, offers a cicada taco recipe.

  • How about a whole cicada cookbook? Jenna Jadin of the University of Maryland wrote this cicada cookbook. The book includes a brief lesson on cicadas before it delves into the culinary creations, 14 in all.


Up-to-date agriculture news in your inbox!



We are glad you have chosen to leave a comment. Please keep in mind that comments are moderated according to our comment policy.

Receive emails as this discussion progresses.