Trillions of Cicadas to Emerge in U.S., Offering Protein-Rich Meal for Adventurous Eaters

Trillions of cicadas to emerge in the US in 2023, offering a rare natural event and a sustainable protein source. Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans plans to serve cicada dishes, promoting insects as nutritious and eco-friendly.

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Israel Ojoko
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Trillions of Cicadas to Emerge in U.S., Offering Protein-Rich Meal for Adventurous Eaters

Trillions of Cicadas to Emerge in U.S., Offering Protein-Rich Meal for Adventurous Eaters

In 2024, trillions of cicadas are expected to emerge in parts of the United States, providing a high-protein, low-cholesterol, and nutty-flavored meal for birds and daring humans alike. Two broods, Brood XIX and Brood XIII, will surface in over a dozen states across the Southeast and Midwest after 13 and 17 years of hibernation underground.

Cicadas are known for their stout bodies, broad heads, clear-membraned wings, large compound eyes, and the loud buzzing sounds they produce. While Florida will not experience the massive numbers seen in other states, it is home to 19 types of cicadas that emerge annually.

These insects are harmless to humans, pets, gardens, and crops. In fact, they offer several environmental benefits, such as serving as a food source for predators, aerating lawns, improving water filtration, and adding nutrients to the soil as they decompose. However, those with shellfish allergies should avoid consuming them.

Why this matters: The emergence of trillions of cicadas is a rare and fascinating natural event that captures public interest. It also highlights the potential of insects as an alternative, sustainable protein source.

The Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans is gearing up to serve cicada dishes at its in-house snack bar, including a cicada salad. Zach Lemann, the curator of animal collections, has been developing cicada recipes and ensuring the insectarium has legal clearance to serve the wild-caught insects. "We're very excited to have these big, charismatic, crunchy insects available for people to eat," Lemann said.

While some may hesitate to try eating cicadas, the insectarium aims to promote the nutritional value and environmental benefits of consuming insects. The emergence of the two large broods is expected to heighten interest in insects and the Audubon Insectarium's unique offerings.

Key Takeaways

  • Trillions of cicadas to emerge in US in 2024 after 13-17 yrs underground.
  • Cicadas are harmless, nutritious, and offer environmental benefits as food.
  • Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans to serve cicada dishes, including salad.
  • Cicada emergence to heighten interest in insects as sustainable protein.
  • Those with shellfish allergies should avoid consuming cicadas.