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Cicadas - Disgusting Or Delicacy? It Depends Who You Ask

Delaware County tree with cicadas on it
Roger Ingles
Delaware County tree with cicadas on it

If you live in wooded parts of Ohio, you are probably hearing the chorus produced by the cicadas these days. Many think the bugs that come out every 17 years are noisy pests. But for some, the cicadas are interesting and even on the dinner plate.

Loud doesn’t begin to describe the sound of brood X.

The bugs have been so loud that some people have called police, mistaking them for car alarms. And many people say it's hard to have a conversation outdoors when cicadas are nearby.

Ohio State University Professor David Shetlar says cicadas are really no louder than other noises, like lawn mowers for example. He says the louder the cicadas get, the more of them that come together to procreate.

Shetlar says cicadas are safe to eat but he likes to remove the shell first.

“I cook them with a little bit of garlic and bacon and I have some other ones that I’m going to fry up with some garlic and butter and put them in with pasta and some alfredo sauce," Shetlar says.

He describes them as having a "buttery, nutty flavor." Shetlar says they look like cocktail shrimp when prepared. But he warns people allergic to shellfish should avoid cicadas too. He says the cicadas will likely be gone by the 4th of July.

For more on Shetlar and cicadas, watch this story on Ohio Public TV's "The State of Ohio" here:

Contact Jo Ingles at
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