This honestly feels like something from an episode of Fear Factor, but technically you can eat cicadas. Of course, this snack isn't for everyone, but there are parts of the world where this isn't strange at all.

Cicada-geddon 2024

With the emergence of two broods of periodical cicadas this year, there will be a lot more of these insects than usual in parts of the United States. They pop up out of the ground, scream, procreate, and die, but they could be more useful if you are adventurous enough to whip up a mess of something, literally.

Safety first in Cicada Cooking

According to the Food Network, handling bugs in the kitchen should be similar to how we handle other foods with the potential to spread dangerous bacteria or micro-organisms. While technically you could pluck them from your backyard, just know there is heightened risk of contamination.

“Cicadas, like any bugs, can carry pathogenic microorganisms on them. That is why it is important to handle them as if you would a piece of raw chicken or shelled eggs,” says Toby Amidor, MS, RD, CDN, FAND, a nutrition consultant for Food Network. “First, purchase them from a reputable vendor.”

If you do decide to gather your own, its best to look in a wooded area away from green space that has been treated with pesticides or other chemicals. You also want to make sure they have emerged from their shell and are more tender.

Cicada Cooking Instructions

You can find numerous recipes on the internet using cicadas in tacos, soups, and even pizza. Preparation is very similar to seafood. They are most commonly simply sauteed in oil and spices or fried after removing their heads and wings.

Who Should Avoid Eating Cicadas?

Cicadas have been known to contain a small amount of Mercury and could trigger allergies in certain people. Here's who should pass on snacking on cicadas.

-Women who are pregnant or nursing


-People who suffer from gout as cicadas can cause flare-ups

-People with shellfish allergies. Cicadas are also called "land shrimp" because they are related to them and lobsters.


Have you ever eaten a cicada before? Would you give it a go? There should be a good supply in the coming weeks!

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Quiz: Do you know your state insect?

Stacker has used a variety of sources to compile a list of the official state insect(s) of each U.S. state, as well as their unique characteristics. Read on to see if you can guess which insect(s) represent your state. 

Gallery Credit: Andrew Vale

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