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Wednesday, June 19

It's cicadas time: What's your hunger like?


Cicadas are approaching, as you have undoubtedly already heard. Or wait, they're here already.

And how very are they? It is anticipated that billions of cicadas will emerge in the US by the end of June, primarily in the Midwest, as a result of an uncommon overlap of the life cycles of two varieties (or broods) of cicadas.

Follow them here if you want to know where they have already landed. Read on to determine for yourself how enticing and safe it is to nibble on cicadas if you're wondering if this cicada-palooza could assist with grocery expenditures. The advantages and disadvantages can alter your perspective on the approaching swarm.

Information regarding cicadas
Fear not—most cicadas pose no threat to people. As an inexpensive source of protein and calories, their emergence is actually welcomed in areas where people frequently eat them.

Up to two billion people are thought to consume insects on a regular basis, primarily in South and Central America, Asia, Africa, Australia, and New Zealand. When available, cicadas are among the most well-liked insects. And in case you believed that nobody in the US ate cicadas, watch this clip from a baseball game in May 2024.

Do you want to consume cicadas?
Cicadas are not a preferred food for a large number of people. The thought of consuming insects as food still bothers some people. That makes sense because our upbringing has a big impact on what we think is appropriate when it comes to diet. Eating snakes is a prevalent practice in China and Southeast Asia, which may bother some Americans. Meanwhile, several parts of normal Western cuisine (such as processed cheese, peanut butter and jelly, and root beer) are unpalatable to individuals outside of the US.

However, some people should avoid eating cicadas due to potential health risks.



What makes eating cicadas a good idea or not?
In many regions of the world, eating cicadas is common since they are

Healthy: I've been told that cicadas are affordable or free, include a lot of protein, have a minimal fat content, and taste good. They also contain several important amino acids. Their flavor has been described as nutty, lemony, smoky, and somewhat crunchy.

Recipes for meals that incorporate cicadas also appear in years when cicadas first appear.

However, there are a number of valid reasons not to include cicadas in your diet, such as the following:

There's really no getting over the "ick" factor. Some people cannot see anything other than horror in the concept of eating cicadas, yet adventurous eaters can be open to the idea or even welcome it.

You don't like the consistency or taste.

They call you "cicada intolerant." If they consume too many cicadas, some people experience nausea, diarrhea, or upset stomachs.

You have a little child, are pregnant, or are nursing. It has been suggested that these cultures avoid eating cicadas due to concerns about even minute amounts of pesticides or other contaminants in them. This implies that the rest of us should avoid them as well, doesn't it? At least as of right now, there isn't any proof that the poisons found in cicadas are harmful to people's health.

There is one more crucial item on this list, though: cicadas shouldn't be consumed by anyone who is allergic to shellfish. Strange, huh?

The link between shellfish and cicadas
In terms of biology, cicadas are connected to other shellfish, such as shrimp, crabs, and lobsters. Therefore, you may potentially be allergic to cicadas if you have a shellfish allergy. The allergy is caused by a specific protein called tropomyosin. It is present in numerous insects, such as cicadas, and shellfish.

After consuming the cicadas, an allergic reaction takes place. You won't react just by handling them or by being in their presence.

Given that up to 10% of people have a shellfish allergy and that eating insects is commonplace around the world, it may be more problematic for those who have a shellfish allergy to experience an adverse reaction after consuming cicadas.

Is it acceptable for your cat or dog to consume cicadas?
After the cicadas appear, taking your dog for a walk might be a thrilling new experience for both of you! Dogs may pursue and consume cicadas. If given the chance, cats could as well. If your pet overeats, that could be a concern because some might get upset stomachs or have other digestive issues.

Even though dogs are thought to be safe around cicadas, the American Kennel Club advises keeping dogs away from them once they've consumed a few.

Which other insects cause allergies?
It is common knowledge that insects can cause allergic reactions (think bee stings) and infections (think Lyme disease); however, the link between allergies and insects in food is relatively new.

The alpha-gal syndrome, in which a person bitten by specific ticks develops a meat allergy, is one recently identified illness. The sugar galactose-α-1,3-galactose, also known as alpha-gal, is the source of the term and is present in a variety of meats, such as beef, lamb, hog, and rabbit. The CDC estimates that since 2010, up to 450,000 Americans may have developed this medical condition.

There may be more research on the relationship between food allergies and insects still to be discovered, as there aren't many thorough studies on the subject.

In summary
I'm not interested in eating cicadas. It's not due to the dangers. Shellfish has never caused me any trouble, and most people don't appear to think eating cicadas poses much of a health risk. I'm not a very daring eater, so it just doesn't appeal to me.

However, we should be understanding with people who do want to eat cicadas as a snack. A good source of protein and calories are insects. It's not wrong to consume them just because it seems strange in the United States.

So go ahead and eat them if you enjoy eating cicadas and you don't have a shellfish allergy or any other reason not to! You might have an excellent summer this year.

Photo by Skyler Ewing
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6 comments

  1. I have never tried, but I have nothing agaist.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I have never eaten cicadas and I wouldn't eat them.
    I salute you!

    ReplyDelete
  3. I would not eat them, they sound gross

    ReplyDelete
  4. No me gustan los bichos. Te mando un beso.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Non ho mai mangiato cicale e non le mangerei, tuttavia le conosco bene e il loro canto accompagna le giornate assolate estive. Buona domenica.
    sinforosa

    ReplyDelete
  6. The idea of eating cicadas absolutely grosses me out! I can't imagine munching on insects, no matter how much protein they might offer. I'll definitely pass on this one!

    Happy Wednesday!

    ReplyDelete
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