NEW ORLEANS (NEWSnet/AP) — Trillions of periodical cicadas will emerge soon in sections of the U.S.

They’re more than noisy pests. If prepared properly, they can be a tasty dish.

Blocks away from such French Quarter fine-dining stalwarts as Antoine's and Brennan's, Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans has served alternative, insect-based treats at its “Bug Appetit” cafe.

“Cinnamon Bug Crunch,” chili-fried waxworm and crispy, cajun-spiced crickets are among the menu items.

Periodical cicadas remain buried for years, until they surface and take over a landscape. Depending on the variety, emergence occurs every 13 or 17 years. In 2024, two groups are expected throughout parts of 16 states in the Midwest and South.

They emerge when the ground warms to 64 degrees.

Zack Lemann, Insectarium's curator of animal collections, has been developing cicada dishes that could become part of the menu. It includes a green salad with apple, almonds, blueberry vinaigrette, and roasted cicada. Fried cicada nymphs are dressed with a mixture of creole mustard and soy sauce.

“I do dragonflies in a similar manner,” Lemann said.

Cooked cicadas taste similar to toasted seeds or nuts. Through the years, they also have appeared in cookbooks, including titles “Cicada-Licious” from University of Maryland, in 2004.

“Every culture has things that they love to eat and, maybe, things that are taboo or things that people just sort of, wrinkle their nose and frown their brow at," Lemann said. “And there’s no reason to do that with insects when you look at the nutritional value, their quality on the plate, how they taste, the environmental benefits of harvesting insects instead of dealing with livestock."

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