Can You Really Eat Cicadas? Here’s What You Need to Know

can you eat a cicada

Cicadas are insects that hatch deep out of the ground every thirteen to seventeen years, at times when the temperature is above cold, specifically April and May. They have white wings, black eyes, and a red cicada body with a brown head.

These insects are about twelve to fifteen millimeters long, but can grow up to thirty-one millimeters long. What this means is that they have short but wide bodies. Because they are ground insects, they take in oxygen through their mouthparts on small tubes called tracheoles. This is why they won’t live for more than a few days without being back in the ground.

They are members of the insect order Hemiptera, which also includes water striders and aphids. They’re related to the treehoppers. This species of cicada, or Brood X, is also known as a “devil’s dog-day” cicada because it’s found in North America during summertime.

This summertime, you can expect to find the Brood X swarming parts of the United States as cicadas begin to emerge everywhere.

However, does that mean it is safe for humans to consume these edible insects?

Well yes and no. Brood X cicadas are beneficial because they eat a lot of plant life. These bugs have been in existence for thousands of years and have never been a threat to humans or livestock because they cannot fly very far away from the ground or water.

This article will discuss whether it’s safe eating cicadas, who should avoid them, and how to catch them.

Who should not eat cicadas?

Let’s get one thing straight. Eating cicadas is not for everyone. These are the type of people who should avoid eating cicadas.

The first people to avoid cicadas are people who have allergies and are allergic to shellfish (such as shrimp). People who have allergies in general should also avoid eating cicadas. This is not because they are allergic specifically to these bugs, but because the bugs may carry dust particles from the ground it lives on. If a person has pollen allergies, they may also become ill from eating cicadas.

Children and pregnant women should never have a large serving of cicadas because the toxin levels can be high in these bugs during certain times of the year due to the fact that there is more pesticide used on farms than there is in other areas of the world.

Are cicadas nutritious?

These edible insects are mainly water with a lot of vitamins and protein, but it is not recommended that people eat more than one or two cicadas per day. This is because they are high in fat and protein. If you eat too many cicadas, it can be harmful towards your health.

How do you catch cicadas?

People who want to catch these bugs should make sure that they go outside before 6:00 a.m. or after 8:00 p.m., because this is when they rest on trees and bushes before taking flight again in the morning.

fried cicadas

How should you eat cicadas?

Around the world, people enjoy eating cicadas raw or cooked, and they’re said to have a crunchy texture. Some people have found that cooked cicadas are good in soups, stir-fry dishes, or with deep fried chicken wings. Chocolate covered is another favorite way to eat a cicada.

People should boil the bugs in a pot of water if they want to cook them. People can also consume the bugs raw and dry them out in the oven or sun.


Cicadas are beneficial insects, but if people have allergies or have medical problems they should avoid eating cicadas. If someone is going to eat a cicada, they should make sure it is after 6:00 a.m. or before 8:00 p.m., because this is when these insects are asleep on trees and bushes while waiting for morning to come again.