How to Survive Cicada Invasion: Eat Them

Cicadas are 'the shrimp of the land,' say scientists

By Ruth Brown,  Newser Staff

Posted May 12, 2013 5:16 PM CDT

(Newser) – Billions of bug-eyed cicadas are set to swarm the East Coast. So what will you do when "swarmageddon" hits? You can stay inside and grumble about the insects' loud sex noises, or, scientists say, you can just eat them. Cicadas are "the shrimp of the land," entomologist Isa Betancourt tells NBC Philadelphia. "They are arthropods, which means they have an exoskeleton," she says. "We regularly eat the arthropods of the sea ... shrimp, lobster, and crabs."

Betancourt says cicadas are high in protein, low in fat, and are best when they first emerge from the ground in the morning, still soft after shedding their skin. Another scientist—and cicada cookbook author—says they can be prepared several ways. "Boiled they’re going to taste a lot like shrimp," he says. "If you eat them au naturel, raw, they’ve got a delicate nutty flavor; a buttery texture."

This photo provided by the University of Connecticut shows a cicada in Pipestem State Park in West Virginia on May 27, 2003.
This photo provided by the University of Connecticut shows a cicada in Pipestem State Park in West Virginia on May 27, 2003.   (AP Photo/University of Connecticut, Chirs Simon)
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