🍴 A new cicada brood is about to come busting out of the ground

🍴 NJ should not have it as bad as many states

🍴 Experts say if you can’t beat them, eat them

You may have heard the warnings about an impending eruption of cicada larvae.  It’s supposed to be the biggest emergence in decades with two separate broods making their appearance at the same time.

It’s the first double brood emergence since 1803 and will not happen again in our lifetimes.

However, New Jersey is not among the states where this is likely to happen.

Scientists say our next emergence won’t happen until summer of 2025, and it will not be the dreaded double brood.

We may still have some early or late emergences, but not enough that it will be a real problem.

But, with time to wait until we have to deal with the noisy insects, it seemed like a good time to remind you: If you can’t beat them, EAT them!  (Stay with me!)

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

Why don’t cicadas emerge every year

Some do, most don’t

These loud insects have a mysterious life cycle.  Tiny nymphs begin emerging after the soil temperature reaches about 64 degrees.

In about eight weeks they mature into adult cicadas and begin making a lot of noise as they desperately try to attract a mate.

Then the die, leaving only their offspring behind (and a lot of crunchy shells).

The next brood won’t emerge for another 13-17 years.

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

People eat them?

Oh, yes.

In 2013, New Jersey had the largest cicada emergence in 17-years.

At the time, some entomologists were (seriously) promoting the idea of cooking and eating the cicada as a good source of protein, and a way of controlling future population.

They promote cicadas (and other insects) as a huge surplus of food that is both free and nutritious.

It is hard to find any real nutritional data about the cicada, but they likely offer the same benefits as other insects: lots of protein and few calories.

A 2013 report from the United Nations titled “Edible insects: Future prospects for food and feed security” found insects also provide good levels of fiber, healthy fat, vitamins and other nutrition.

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

Shrimp of the land

Some entomologists have called the cicada the “Shrimp of the land.”

In fact, the FDA issued a warning to people with shellfish allergies not to eat them.

Some of the more popular recipes call for using cicadas in a bug version of Maryland crab cakes, shrimp tacos and even soft-shell crabs.  (recipes below)

University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp told the Associated Press in 2021 that cicadas have “a buttery texture, a delicious nutty flavor” and that they “pair really well with a Merlot.”

Are they Kosher?


Rabbi Shmuel Herzfeld of the National Synagogue in Washington, DC, told the Times of Israel that locusts and grasshoppers are Kosher, but cicadas are not.

“No Jew should be eating cicadas,” Rabbi Herzfeld said, “If you put it in your cholent pot, your cholent pot is treif.”

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

Ok, but, eww!

Americans generally don’t eat bugs because we think they are gross, but entomologists say despite that stigma, they can be tasty and a great form of nutrition.

Keep in mind, at least 2 billion people worldwide eat inside as a both a delicacy and a staple from Mexico to Australia.

In 2004, University of Maryland students published “Cicada-licious,” a cookbook dedicated to the cicada.

If you are willing to take the plunge and become entomophalogist (insect eater), here are a couple recipes you may want to try using these backyard delicacies.

Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

Maryland Cicadas


1/2 cup Old Bay® Seasoning

2 tablespoons salt

4 quarts water

1 (12 fluid ounce) can beer (optional)

8 red potatoes, quartered

2 large sweet onions, cut in wedges

2 pounds lean smoked sausage, cut in 2-inch lengths

8 ears fresh corn, broken in half

4 pounds large cicadas


  1. In an 8-quart pot, bring Old Bay, salt, water and beer to a boil. Add potatoes and onions; cook over high heat for 8 minutes.
  2. Add smoked sausage to potatoes and onions; continue to cook on high for 5 minutes. Add corn to pot; continue to boil for 7 minutes. Add cicadas, cook for 5 minutes.
  3. Drain cooking liquid. Pour contents of pot into several large bowls, shallow pails or mound on a paper-covered picnic table. Sprinkle with additional Old Bay if desired.
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration
Canva/Townsquare Media illustration

Soft-Shelled Cicadas


1 cup Worcestershire sauce

60 freshly emerged 17 year cicadas

4 eggs, beaten

3 cups flour

Salt and pepper to season flour

1 cup corn oil or slightly salted butter


Marinate cicadas, alive in a sealed container, in Worcestershire sauce for several hours.*

Dip them, in beaten egg, roll them in the seasoned flour and then gently sauté them until they are golden brown.


4 main dish servings

*this step may be skipped and you may go directly to the egg step instead.

El Chirper Tacos

A chef prepares cicada tacos. (YouTube Screengrab)
A chef prepares cicada tacos.
(YouTube Screengrab)


2 tablespoons butter or peanut oil

1/2 pound newly-emerged cicadas

3 serrano chilies, raw, finely chopped

1 tomato, finely chopped

1 onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp ground pepper or to taste

1/2 tsp cumin

3 tsp taco seasoning mix

1 handful cilantro, chopped

Taco shells, to serve

Sour cream

Shredded cheddar cheese

Shredded lettuce


  1. Heat the butter or oil in a frying pan and fry the cicadas for 10 minutes, or until cooked through.
  2. Remove from pan and roughly chop into 1/4 inch cubes. Place back in pan.
  3. Add the chopped onions, chilies, and tomato, and season with salt, and fry for another 5 minutes on medium-low heat.
  4. Sprinkle with ground pepper, cumin, and oregano, to taste.
  5. Serve in taco shells and garnish with cilantro, sour cream, lettuce, and cheddar cheese.

Emergence Cookies


1/2 cup shortening

3 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

4oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. vanilla

2 cups all purpose flour

1/3 cup sugar

1 beaten egg white

1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

about 60 parboiled dry roasted cicadas (roast for only 8 minutes so that they retain some moisture)


  1. In a large bowl, beat shortening with eggs, the 11/2 cups sugar, cooled chocolate, baking powder, and vanilla until well combined, scraping sides of bowl.
  2. Gradually stir in flour till thoroughly combined. Stir in the nuts. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours or until dough is easy to handle.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the 1/3 cup sugar and beaten egg white. Place cicadas on waxed paper; brush with egg white mixture and set aside.
  4. Shape dough into 1inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on un-greased cookie sheets. Place a cicada on top of each ball, pressing lightly.
  5. Bake in a 375 oven for 8-10 minutes or till edges are set. Transfer to a rack to cool.

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