LEE WARD: Cicadas bug me | Information

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I’m not a taxonomist, but I believe cicadas are beetles, although the official classification is arthropods. This is a blow to them.

The second blow: they’re big, for insects, not so much for arthropods, but I find that intimidating.

The third blow: it’s that deafening noise they’re making.

I’ve read that the creatures that come out every 17 years are harmless. They do not bite or sting, and they do not “lay eggs in the skin”. I think that’s a real fear or something.

In fact, cicadas are good for the earth. They prune old trees and aerate the ground. When they die, their bodies provide the much-needed nitrogen for trees to grow.

Apparently they’re also a good source of protein, gluten-free, and low in fat and carbohydrates. (Before you grab your cicada fishing gear and go outside, know if you are allergic to seafood or have an inflammatory condition, avoid cicadas.)

People around the world include insects in their diet, especially cicadas, as do Native American people. What an Efficient Way to Get Protein. We’re just not used to eating things as unnatural as hot dogs and fried Snickers bars here.

I think it’s weird to eat insects. I’ve spent my entire life avoiding swallowing bugs and now I find out that cicadas are delicious, crispy, and healthy. Who would have thought?

First you have to catch a mess. Thrilllist.com said it was easy to catch cicadas.

Stop 1: When cicada babies show up and shed their exoskeletons, they turn soft and white. This is the time to scoop up a pile and place it in large plastic bags. Early morning is best for this activity.

Step 2: grab some adults too. The kittens you caught earlier will mature in a few hours so those you did not get sooner will be ready to be caught.

Step 3: put plastic bags in your freezer and freeze the cicadas to death. Experts say this is the most humane way to kill them – that is, if there is a humane way to kill something.

To cook the crispy critters, rinse them off and cook them like shrimp. Sprinkle them on salads or pasta, or just eat them like popcorn. For a sweet treat, you can coat them with chocolate or stir into your favorite ice cream.

I’m not adventurous enough to catch, kill, or cook cicadas, let alone eat them, but if you do please let me know what you think. Now I’m in bed with pillows to my ears.

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lward@dailyindependent.com