For the first time in 221 years a rare cicada emergence will take place in Illinois in 2024. While you may be tempted to eat them, they could be deadly for some.

An Ultra-Rare Cicada Emergence is Coming to Illinois

Spring 2024 will bring with it an ultra-rare occurrence. For the first time in 221 years, Brood XIII and Brood XIX will emerge simultaneously across parts of the country, including Illinois. The last time Brood XIII and Brood XIX emerged it was 1803, according to Cicadia Mania.

Where to Experience Both Brood Emergences Simultaneously in the Same Location

While the two broods will emerge across several states including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee, there is one place in Illinois where both Brood XIX and Brood XII are expected to overlap and emerge at the exact same time. If you want to experience this, Cicadia Mania says you'll want to head to the state's capitol of Springfield.

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More on Brood XIII

Brood XIII (13) is a 17-year cicada that includes three different species. They are found in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, and Wisconsin.

More on Brood XIX

Brood XIX (19) is a 13-year cicada and is found in a number of states including Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, and more. Sometimes known as "the Great Southern Brood," there are four different species in Brood XIX.

Can You Eat Cicadas?

Can you eat cicadas? The short answer, for most people, is yes. The National Wildlife Federation says that people who have eaten periodical cicadas say they "taste similar to canned asparagus." Over at FoodNetwork, they advise that you cook cicadas rather than eating them raw to avoid contracting any food-borne (or insect-borne) pathogens. They describe the taste of cicadas as having "nutty flavor" and a "shrimp-like quality."

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Who Should Not Eat Cicadas?

That being said, if you happen to have an allergy to shrimp or lobster, you might be allergic to cicadas as well. In a tweet from 2021 during another cicada brood emergence, the FDA even warns against eating them if you have a shellfish allergy.

More on Shellfish and Crustacean Allergies

Shellfish, and cicadas, are considered crustaceans and they fall into what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says are the eight food groups that cause the most serious reactions for those suffering from an allergy.

Eight foods or food groups account for most serious allergic reactions in the United States: milk, eggs, fish, crustacean shellfish, wheat, soy, peanuts, and tree nuts.2

The symptoms and severity of allergic reactions to food can be different between individuals and can also be different for one person over time. Anaphylaxis is a sudden and severe allergic reaction that may cause death.3 Not all allergic reactions will develop into anaphylaxis and more than 40% (2 in 5) of children with food allergies in the United States have been treated in the emergency department. -CDC

Since those with a severe shellfish allergy could go into anaphylaxis if they were to ingest cicadas, those individuals should steer clear. As for the rest of us... bon appétit!?!

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