Illinois Parents Wonder: Are Cicadas Safe for Kids? Plus, What Do They Taste Like?


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Springfield, IL – Illinois residents are buzzing with curiosity as cicadas emerge this weekend, flooding social media with photos of these quirky insects. With cicadas swarming playgrounds, parents are asking: Are cicadas safe for kids to play with, and what do these crunchy critters taste like?

According to the University of Illinois, cicadas are perfectly safe for children to handle. These harmless bugs don’t bite or sting, making them an amusing and educational playmate for curious kids. Just remind your little ones to handle them gently to avoid any bug mishaps. To keep cicadas out of your yard, experts recommend using fine mesh netting over plants and sealing any cracks in your home’s exterior. It’s also advised to avoid excessive outdoor lighting, as it attracts the insects.

But the real question for adventurous parents is: What do cicadas taste like? According to retired chef Jim Warner from Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, cicadas have a nutty flavor with a nice crunch when sautéed in olive oil. “I’m tempted to say they taste just like chicken, but they do have a nutty flavor and a nice crunch when sautéed in olive oil with a few seasonings tossed in for good measure,” Warner says. “Old Bay seasoning is always a winner.”

For those feeling brave, Warner even shares a recipe for cicada stir-fry. Ingredients include freshly caught cicadas, vegetables like carrots and broccoli, and a touch of soy sauce. Just be sure to blanch the cicadas first to ensure they’re clean and safe to eat. So, let your kids have fun with these fascinating insects and maybe even consider adding a little cicada crunch to your next meal. It’s a buggy bonanza in Illinois!


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