Americans Warned To Stop Eating Cicadas

by : Niamh Shackleton on : 03 Jun 2021 15:51
Americans Warned To Stop Eating CicadasPA Images

While you’d think there are other options on the menu, Americans are being warned to stop eating cicadas.

The insects are said to be a protein-filled snack, but officials have warned that those who have a shellfish allergy probably shouldn’t be eating them.


There are more than 3,000 different species of cicada, an insect that’s known to disappear for years on end to later reappear in masses.

One species to have done this recently is the Brood X cicada, which has resurfaced in the US after almost two decades underground.

Cicada (PA)PA

They were first spotted last month on the east coast. According to the National Parks Service, the insects are located around Pennsylvania, northern Virginia, Indiana and eastern Tennessee, CNN reports.


In the wake of their re-emergence, people have been sharing recipes that include the rare insect, but the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has since issued a warning to those with shellfish allergies, advising them to stay clear of the bugs.

The official body tweeted yesterday, June 2, ‘Yep! We have to say it! Don’t eat #cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood as these insects share a family relation to shrimp and lobsters.’

Meanwhile, David Stukus, from the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, said there was no proven connection between shrimp, lobsters and cicadas, but stated that the FDA’s warning was likely to have been given out of precaution.


He told The Washington Post, ‘There’s no good clinical research evaluating the risk of ingesting cicadas for people with shellfish allergies, so we are extrapolating.’

Despite his reservations, Stukus noted that a certain type of protein, known as tropomyosin, is what triggers an allergic reaction for those with shellfish allergies, and that some insects also have this allergy-triggering protein in them.

Further evidence from a report by the UN Food & Agriculture report also stated that people who are allergic to shellfish may be ‘vulnerable to developing allergic reactions to edible insects, due to allergen cross-reactivity’.

While the bugs could prove harmful to those with shellfish allergies, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has told pet-owners to not be too concerned if their dog or cat ingests some of the rare bugs.


If pets eat the insects, it ‘may temporarily cause an upset stomach or vomiting’ as cicadas’ exoskeletons can irritate the stomach lining if eaten in large numbers, CNN reports, but, in general, there’s not too much concern surrounding pets eating cicadas.

Featured Image Credit: PA Images

If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]

Most Read StoriesMost Read


Trump Finally Admits He Didn’t Win The Election

Niamh Shackleton

Niamh Shackleton is a pint sized person and journalist at UNILAD. After studying Multimedia Journalism at the University of Salford, she did a year at Caters News Agency as a features writer in Birmingham before deciding that Manchester is (arguably) one of the best places in the world, and therefore moved back up north. She's also UNILAD's unofficial crazy animal lady.

Topics: Animals, Food, Health, Insects


The Washington Post and 1 other
  1. The Washington Post

    Don’t eat cicadas if you’re allergic to seafood, the FDA warns

  2. CNN

    FDA says to avoid eating cicadas 'if you're allergic to seafood'