Are cicadas safe to eat?
Dogs, cats, squirrels, fish and people can't stop eating cicadas. Are they crazy, or "crazy like a fox"? (Foxes will eat them too.)
Pets and other domesticated animals
People want to know: "is it safe for my pets to eat cicadas". The truth is in most cases your pets will be fine if they eat cicadas, however you still need to be cautious and keep a close eye on your pets. Watch them for odd behavior, and don't let them gorge themselves. Be cautious: the Humane Society has warned Cicadas Dangerous to Pets.
Pet related concerns:
- Pets can choke on the rigid wings and other hard body parts of the cicadas.
- Pets will gorge themselves on cicadas, and possibly become ill and vomit.
- Pets who consume cicadas sprayed with copious amounts of pesticide can and will die.
- Pets might have an allergic reaction to the cicadas just as people do.
Pet related links:
- channelcincinnati.com: Cicadas Could Make Your Pets Sick
Bottom line: play it safe, and don't let your pets eat cicadas if you can help it.
Whether they're curious or doing it for the shock value, people are eating cicadas. Asian peoples have eaten cicadas for centuries, and there are records of Native Americans eating cicadas. People joke that they're Atkins friendly. I've heard they taste like asparagus, popcorn, minty shrimp, and piney shrimp -- ummmm, pine. A man in Bloomington Indiana had an allergic reaction to cicadas after eating 30. He was also allergic to seafood -- both cicadas and shrimps are arthropods so this makes sense.
People related concerns:
- You could choke on their hard body parts.
- You could have an allergic reaction. If you're allergic to seafood, don't think about eating them.
- Do you really want to eat something that's been marinating in lawn fertilizers, pesticides and other chemicals for the past 17 years?
People related links:
- Recipe Book ! Cicada-licious: cooking and enjoying periodical cicadas: the ultimate guide to cooking and eating cicadas. [Adobe Acrobat PDF]
- National Geographic: National Geographic News :Low-Fat, High Protein Cicadas: New Health Snack
- Stephanie Bailey's Internet insect cookbook has tips on how to prepare insects for human consumption!
- INSECTS FORMERLY USED AS FOOD BY INDIGENOUS POPULATIONS OF NORTH AMERICA NORTH OF MEXICO.
Bottom line: You're not a contestant on Fear Factor. Why eat cicadas when you can choose from many of the fine menu choices at Applebees? Well, 80% of people in the world eat insects -- 6.4 billion people can't be wrong... right? See the video Marcel Dicke: Why not eat insects?:
If you must cook or eat cicadas, why not wear a Cicada Chef apron?
Fish, squirrels and everything else
If it has a mouth, or some other part to digest cicadas, it will try to eat them. Cicadas make great fish bait. Squirrels (yes, they're nuts for cicadas too), birds, possums, raccoons, foxes, other insects, fungi... they all love cicadas.
Wildlife related links:
Bottom line: let nature do the dirty work and clean your yard one bite at a time.