Thursday, April 24, 2014 5:20 PM
Published on: Thursday, May 16, 2013
By Donna Broadway
ROCKVILLE- They’re back. Well, not exactly. As the area prepares for the latest swarm of Cicadas, many residents are checking the year and asking themselves “if the Cicadas come every 17 years, why are they back after nine years?” The simple answer to that is the Brood X cicadas, which appeared in 2004, will not reappear until 2021 but the Brood II cicadas, which made their last appearance in 1996 will appear for a few weeks this summer.
Chuck Schuster, horticulture extension educator at University of Maryland said Montgomery County doesn’t need to worry about brood II because few, if any will affect the central Maryland region.
“If we see a couple, it will be surprising. We see cicadas every year but this particular brood will not be coming into Maryland. We saw the brood that affects us in 2004, which was brood x, which we will see in 2021. This particular variety is not going to bother us,” said Schuster.
There are 15 cicada broods with eight directly affected the mid-Atlantic region. The D.C. metropolitan area is affected by two broods, brood x and brood II.
According to a map from the Mid-Atlantic Cicada Database Project, brood II, a 17 periodic cicada will emerge in parts of Prince George’s County, Charles County, St. Mary’s County, Calvert County, northern Virginia, and most of western Virginia.
The brood that most affects Montgomery County, x, affects most of central Maryland, the majority of Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, eastern west Virginia, parts of Delaware, and a small part of the eastern shore.
The cicadas emerge with one objective in mind and that is to mate. The bugs do not bite and are not harmful to humans or animals.
The emergence will last an average of four weeks, with one week to emerge, two weeks of singing and mating, and one week of egg laying and dying.
Eric Wegner of Complete Lawn Care in Laytonsville said the bugs will cause little damage to plants or foliage, but the damage will come when the female lays her eggs in the branches of trees. The damage may able be caused by animals digging up lawns to eat cicadas.
“They live underground for 17 years. Their primary emphasis is to mate, have a wild sex orgy, lay eggs, and die. They don’t do a lot of eating. There may be some mating damage but typically the damage is done by the female when she lays her eggs. Damage done to trees is minor and they don’t have any interest in flowers. Their main goal is primal. Make a lot of noise, find a mate and then die. They have been underground for 17 years and not having much of a good time and now it’s a party for a few weeks,” said Wegner.
Wegner suggests clearing any cicada corpses as soon as possible to avoid the rotting flesh smell and to avoid attracting cicada eating animals, such as rats.
Another way to dispose of cicadas is to eat them. In 2004, Jenna Jadin, a member of cicadamaniacs, a group assembled at the University of Maryland to handle the media attention and curiosity of the brood x cicadas, authored a cookbook called “Cicada-licious” with modified recipes from the internet and her family cookbook. The book is still available on University of Maryland’s website.
According to Jadin, the best cicadas to eat are the nymphs and female adults. Jadin suggests removing the legs and wings from the cicada and freezing the bugs before cooking, as that is the most humane way to kill the bug. Eating cicadas raw is not advised because they taste like a bug, but boiled cicadas have a taste comparable to asparagus, and dry roasted cicadas have a nutty flavor.
There are no known direct benefits to eating cicadas, but Jadin says the bugs act as a good source of protein, low in carbohydrates, no cholesterol, and low in fat.
“If you think about eating insects in general, it is a good thing for the world to think about doing. We eat too much meat and it puts a lot of pressure on the land, many people professors who are proponents of eating insects as an environmentally low impact way of getting protein into your diet. So I think eating insects could be a good thing for the world. Cicadas, specifically, I don’t know if there is a benefit to eating them but it’s a fun thing to do,” said Jadin.
The Simple Cicada
2 cups blanched cicadas
Butter to sauté
Two cloves crushed garlic
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh basil, or to taste
Your favorite pasta
1. Melt butter in sauté pan over medium heat.
2. Add garlic and sauté for 30 seconds.
3. Add basil and cicadas and continue cooking, turning down the heat if
necessary, for 5 minutes or until the cicadas begin to look crispy and the basil is wilted.
4. Toss with pasta and olive oil.
Sprinkle with parmesan cheese if desired.
For more cicada recipes, download the cookbook at http://www.newsdesk.umd.edu/pdf/cicada recipes.PDF