A plastic bag full of crawling periodical cicada nymphs that TJ Mathews has collected from neighbors' yards on May 18, 2021 in Takoma Park, Maryland. Mathews is collecting hundreds of the insects -- members of the Magicicadas periodical cicada Brood X -- which he will roast, grind and turn into a protein-rich powder he mixes into smoothies. The cicadas are beginning to emerge in the eastern United States and some Midwestern states after living underground and feeding off of tree roots for 17 years.

Apparently trillions of Brood X cicadas are emerging for the first time in 17 years in 15 states and if you’re lucky enough to reside in one of the chosen states, you can harvest and eat these critters!

Per CNET, these cicadas spend most of their lives underground and come out for at least 3-4 weeks for a massive mating season. Rather than turning to pest control, there’s another solution — eating them.

Many people who are looking for alternative ways to consume protein with reducing their carbon footprint in mind may find cicadas a suitable replacement. Insects emit fewer greenhouse gasses and can boast more protein than meat.

Johns Hopkins University sustainable food expert Jessica Fanzo said in a statement, “There is the yuck factor, but people who are looking for alternative sources of animal protein shouldn’t rule out cicadas. Once you get over the look of them, they’re quite tasty.”

Bizarrely yet not surprisingly, a Google search for “cicada recipes” pulls up a plethora of ways to cook various species of these insects, from cicada chips to spicy popcorn cicadas to cicada cookies for those with a sweet tooth.

Twitter has also been crawling with conversations about these meal ideas:

Experts say it’s best to eat cicadas “just after the nymphs have climbed out of their skin, when they’re nice and soft. Just go outside with a paper bag and scoop them up. Cook them right away, or save them in the fridge or freezer for later.”

Below are some recipes to try if you’re looking to liven up your summer menu.

Cicada soup:

Cicada Spring Salad:

Cicada Chili Guacamole:

Cicada Kimchi:

Happy cicada hunting!

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