The act of eating bugs has been around for thousands of years. A St. Louis bug expert is telling the public that it’s okay to cook up some of the noisy cicadas you see flying around.

Senior entomologist, Tad Yankowski, estimated that about 2 billion people eat bugs as a part of their everyday diet.

“A lot of animals and food items that we eat sort of as a delicacy, you can make the argument are bugs,” he said. “You know, crabs, shrimp, lobster, are very closely related to something like a cicada and it’s, to me, the most logical next step is to consider something like a cicada, might be worth eating.”

Yankowski has held cooking demonstrations on how to eat cicadas in the past. He said that the United States is in the minority when it comes to regularly incorporating insects into their diet.

“If we can use that as a tool just to maybe make people think about your views, maybe they are willing to try a cicada now,” he said. “Maybe they’ll try a cricket or something else down the road. It’s just about exposing people to a new, you know, a new food item, a new novelty just to get their perceptions changed just a little bit. That’s truly what we’re about.”

Benefits of eating insects include high nutritional value and relatively low impact to the environment.

“If you look at the nutrition facts for cicadas specifically, they actually have slightly more protein, pound-for-pound, than pork or eggs. They have significantly less fat. They’re high in vitamins and nutrients, like calcium and iron,” he said.

However, he said that if you are allergic to shellfish, you are also likely to be allergic to cicadas or crickets.

Yankowski wants Missourians to have a more open mind about trying new foods or changing the way they look at what they eat.

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