15 April 2016

Billions of cicadas will ascend upon the northeastern United States as another 17-year cycle concludes & HOW TO CATCH, KILL, AND COOK CICADAS 15APR16

I really hope the swarms come to Northern Virginia because cicadas are a really great snack! They are low carb, gluten free and the came amount of protein as red meat pound for pound. Crunchy and kinda earthy, they are really good if you freeze them, then salt them and roast them in the oven.  Or you can try Candied Cicadas, a drink called Red Eyes, Mexican  or Maple Cicada Cupcakes—roast the bugs for 10 to 20 minutes, then stir them into a cupcake batter with a wooden spoon—and Cicada Bahn Mi, a Vietnamese-style sandwich with cicadas first blanched, then sautéed until brown.  These recipies from +National Geographic  and the stories from the +Washington Post and the +Thrillist  .....
*Candied Cicadas
1 pound cicadas
1 cup white sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ tsp salt
3 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C). Spread cicadas in a single layer over a baking sheet. Roast for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the cicadas start to turn brown and are thoroughly dried out.
Stir together sugar, cinnamon, salt, and milk in a medium saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for eight minutes, or until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage at 236°F (113°C). Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla immediately.
Add cicadas to sugar syrup, and stir to coat well. Spoon onto waxed paper, and immediately separate cicadas with a fork. Cool and store in airtight containers.
Red Eyes
2 shots vodka
½ shot Campari
½ shot extra-dry vermouth
1 shot fresh orange juice
Shake all ingredients together with ice in a shaker and strain into a chilled glass. Garnish with two candied cicadas* on a stick, if desired.
The eighth biblical plague that tortured Egypt was a plague of locusts.
As described in Exodus 10:5, “And they shall cover the face of the earth, that one cannot be able to see the earth: and they shall eat the residue of that which is escaped, which remaineth unto you from the hail, and shall eat every tree which groweth for you out of the field.”
Flip the aforementioned “they” from locusts to cicadas, and that’s actually a pretty apt description of what residents in some parts of Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia will experience next month when the soil warms to 64 degrees and billions of cicadas rise from the ground to mate. Fortunately, cicadas can’t chew so they don’t devour our plants and trees. If they manage to avoid predators long enough they suck up plant sap but not enough to any real damage.
This particular group of insects has a 17-year-life cycle that begins underground and culminates in the air as they swell and swarm and scream and sing, issuing deafening cries as the males desperately seek mates. This current 17-year-cycle, which began in 1999, begins to end next month, reports Cicada Mania.
As billions of insects emerge, they can reach a density of 1.5 million cicadas an acre in some areas.
The insects have hard, sleek shells topped with two bulb-like, red eyes. On average, they’re a little over 1.5 inches in length and, don’t worry, they don’t bite or sting, according to the United States Department of Agriculture.
The adults live above ground for four to six weeks, and the only thing that interests them is mating and laying eggs (much like salmon during the famed salmon run).
But there’s the noise.
Oh, the noise.
Anyone who has experienced a swarm likely remembers the noise.
As David Snyder wrote in The Washington Post in 2004, “Words seem inadequate to describe that vaguely menacing hum-whistle that seems to be everywhere but emanates from no single place in particular.”
“It feels like an alien spaceship coming in,” Arlington resident Gene Miller told Snyder.
That sound, the melodic, almost frightening buzzing, wakes with the sun in the early morning and continues late into the night. The droning is a mating cry sung by males, as they try to find willing females before their 17-year-old lives conclude.
“After the male and female cicada have mated, the female will lay fertilized eggs in slits cut with her ovipositor on small live twigs,” entomologist Russ Horton told The Post in 2013. “It takes roughly six weeks for the eggs to hatch and the nymphs to emerge.”
When they do, according to Ohio State University professor of entomology David Shetlar the nymphs then fall from the trees and burrow anywhere from six to 18 inches in the ground, where they feed on juices from plant roots for 13 or 17 years, depending on what species they are.
Females can lay up to 400 eggs each, across 4o to 50 sites.
“But wait, I saw cicadas a few years ago!” you might be thinking. “I remember that noise!”
That’s not incorrect.
There are several “broods” of cicadas, which is based on which cycle they’re part of. Most of these broods are comprised of different species of cicada, and different broods emerge and swarm around different parts to the country (in different years).
These broods have been tracked since the 1800s, according to the USDA’s 1907 book “The Periodical Cicada” by C.L. Marlatt.
On top of that, there are several types of cicada life cycles. Some have 13-year life spans, and some are even annual, according to Auburn University’s Department of Entomology.
In fact, Brood II, which consists of cicadas on a 17-year cycle, overtook Washington in 2014, The Post reported.
The one emerging in May is Brood V, which includes Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula, the Star Beacon reported.
According to the USDA, Brood V comprises the largest swarms that are seen in either Ohio or West Virginia, and some Ohioans are taking advantage of the occasion.
Cleveland Metroparks, in particular, is hosting educational events centered on the cicadas.
“It’s going to be a wild ride,” said Wendy Weirich, director of Outdoor Experiences for the Cleveland Metroparks, told the Plain Dealer. “It’s like Rip Van Winkle for insects.”
Travis M. Andrews is a reporter for The Washington Post's Morning Mix. Shoot him an email at or follow him on Twitter: @travismandrews.

If you haven’t heard, the East Coast is about to be overrun by alien creatures who’ve been buried in the ground, hibernating for the last 17 years. BROOD V is upon us
But wait, don't lock yourself in that bunker full of kiddie pools half filled with Raid just yet. It turns out that you can actually eat these suckers -- which people do, all around the world. Cicadas're chock-full of protein with minimal carbs (hellooo, swimsuit season!),and they’re local, seasonal, and eco-friendly. Entomophagists -- those who eat insects, but were totally, TOTALLY cool in high school, anyway, so don't even ask -- argue that they’re one of the most sustainable and healthiest food sources on the planet, and that we should all start eating them on the reg. So, look upon this not as a zombie-apocalypse, doomsday-type scenario, but as a chance to expand your palate and score a TON of free food right in your backyard, next to that bunker filled with Raid.
Of course, you’ll need some guidance on the best ways to catch, kill, and cook 'em... and what wines to pair them with, so we chatted with a few bug-eating experts and one NYC chef who cooks with insects (and made a cicada-fueled recipe JUST FOR US), to get all the info:

Image via ggallice's Flickr
Step 1: Catch your prey
Prepare yourself with multiple large plastic bags and wait for the swarm. When the nymphs (that’s bug-speak for “baby cicadas”) first emerge and shed their exoskeletons, they'll be as helpless as a bunch of... well, baby bugs. They’ll also be all-white and kind of squishy, but don’t let that scare you. Seize the opportunity to be a predator and scoop up as many as you can. Early morning -- when they’re cold and drowsy from staying up all night watching the third season of Gilmore Girls -- is best for catching these guys.
For entomophagists, these little alienoids are actually the creme de la creme of cicada bites: since their exoskeletons haven't yet hardened, they’re soft and require minimal cooking. Cicadas at this stage are also purported to have been one of Aristotle’s fave foods, so if you eat them, just be warned that Eurymedon the hierophant will likely denounce you for not holding the gods in honor.

Image via PuyoDead's Flickr
Step 2: Snag some adults
Wait a few short hours after the nymphs have emerged from their husks, and you’ll notice that they’re rapidly maturing before your very eyes, like Robin Williams in Jack. But don't waste time pondering the meaning of your own life and the swift passage of time -- you only have a short window to snatch these teneral adults up before they beat their wings and fly into a tree, out of reach.
Pro tip: females are better catches than males... because their abdomens are full of eggs. Wait, that’s not as gross as it sounds! It just means that lady-cicadas will be more plump and delicious for eating. (Males tend to shrink during cooking. INSERT CLASSIC GUY VS. GIRL CICADA STAND-UP COMEDY HERE.) As it’s super difficult to tell guys from girls, you should gather a little more than you think you might need

Image via dmitrybarsky's Flickr
Step 3: Death.
Now comes the hard part. Or the fun part, depending on how comfortable you are with BUG MURDER! The simplest and most humane method: freezing them to death. Stuff your plastic bags o' bugs into the freezer, or even a large cooler filled with ice, and the buggies will fall into a peaceful, eternal sleep... just in time for you to chop them up and devour them, while cackling madly to yourself

Image via istolethetv's Flickr
Step 4: Get cookin’
Cicadas are often compared to shellfish, since they’re in the same family (Jeopardyanswer: what are arthropods? ALSO: DO NOT EAT THESE IF YOU'RE ALLERGIC TO SHELLFISH.), so just think of the lil’ guys as “shrimp of the land” and cook thusly. Just give them a little rinse; there's no need to de-wing or de-leg, unless those bits freak you out. In which case, you do realize you're eating cicadas, right
Dave Gracer, a Colbert Report-appearing entomophagy expert who sources insects for people to cook with, advises staying away from sauteing the bugs, which makes them taste like “a cross between leather and plastic”. His favorite method is to season 'em up with salt and spices, toss with some olive oil, and bake them until they’re nice and crunchy. You can sprinkle them over salads (cicada croutons), mix them into pastas, or just pop them in your mouth like cicadacorn, which will now become a thing. Note: Gracer recommends a nice Chardonnay or wheat beer, if you're doing cicada & booze pairings. Which will also now become a thing
Lou don't you dare call me Aaron Sorkin, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History, will be deep-frying and stuffing them into cicada sandos, as one would with fish or crab. He also likes to roast up a batch, then top them with spices -- or powdered sugar, if you have a sweet tooth. Seriously. These are all things he does.
For dessert, you could make like Missouri ice cream shop Sparky's and boil them, drench them in chocolate, and stir them into your favorite flavor of ice cream.
Regina Galvanduque, co-founder of traditional Mexican restaurant Antojeria La Popularin New York (where one can order their specialty: a cricket-topped tostada), finds cicadas not dissimilar to the grasshoppers that are eaten every day in her home country. She’s crafted up a recipe just for us that's a version of her grandmother’s “green rice”, traditionally prepared with grasshoppers, though cicadas can easily substitute. So stop making that lame coq au vin and listen up:
Arroz Verde a la Mexicana con Chapulines
(Mexican Green Rice with Grasshoppers
Ingredients (serves 8)
  • .5 cup of parsley
  • .75 cup of cilantro
  • .5 cup of epazote
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 cans of chicken broth
  • 1.5 cups white rice
  • .25 cup oil
  • 2 roasted diced poblano chiles (or more if you want)
  • 1 thinly sliced serrano chile without seeds
  • .25 white onion chopped
  • 1 small diced zucchini (optional)
  • 1 cup white corn (can be yellow)
  • 1 cup diced carrots
  • 1 avocado
  • diced queso fresco (as needed)
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • White wine
  • Boiled grasshoppers or cicadas
  • Preparation
    • Blend the parsley, cilantro, epazote, serrano chile, garlic, and half the chicken broth until smooth.
    • Pour oil into large, heavy frying pan over medium heat, add rice.
    • Lightly brown the rice, stirring often to prevent sticking. Add chiles and onion; continue cooking, stirring often, until onions are translucent.
    • Add broth mixture from blender and continue to cook for about 10min, stirring often.
    • Add zucchini, white corn, carrot, remaining broth, white wine, and salt; stir well.
    • As soon as rice comes to a full boil, turn heat to low and cover for 20min.
    • Stir before serving.
    • Cicadas:
      Can be cooked similarly to the grasshoppers, which is to boil them first, then toast them in a pan or bake them with salt and lime.
      Top rice with avocado, cooked cicadas, and diced queso fresco. Have incredibly sexy dinner party!