So, you're wandering through your local state park, enjoying the great outdoors, when suddenly you hear that unmistakable, loud buzzing sound. Ah, cicadas! These fascinating little critters are a true sign of summer, emerging in droves and providing a unique soundtrack to your hike. But have you ever wondered, “Can I take some of these home for a snack?” Well, apparently that seems to be the case in some areas of Wisconsin! So much so, that the DNR has had to reiterate, "that's a big No-No!" To be fair, the Wisconsin DNR didn't specifically state what the bugs were being harvested for, but this was my first thought.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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State Park Snack? No. Creepy-Winged Terror? Yes.

Here’s the scoop: harvesting cicadas—or any other bugs, for that matter—from state parks is a resounding DO NOT. Whether to eat or use as bait, according to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), it's illegal to capture and remove any animals, including insects, from state park properties. So, if you were planning on a cicada cookout from your latest park visit, think again.

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The DNR has been pretty clear on this. They’ve even got park staff and wardens on the lookout, ready to educate—or, if necessary, take enforcement action—against anyone caught in the act. And it's not just cicadas. The rule applies to all the creepy crawlies that call the state parks home. So, leave the insect hunting gear at home when you head out for your nature walks!

@oddanny Trillions of Cicadas 👀 #cicadas ♬ original sound - Odd Danny

Get Your Backyard Bug Buffet On, or Don't...

Now, here’s the fun (or disgusting) part: while state park cicadas are off-limits, the ones in your backyard are fair game. Yup! Feel free to forage for these chirping critters right outside your door. Not that I’d ever consider munching on them myself—I’m more of a pizza-and-ice-cream kind of person—but for the adventurous eaters out there, backyard cicadas are a-okay.

Credit: Canva Apparently this is a buffet... Who knew!?
Credit: Canva
Apparently this is a buffet... Who knew!?
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But, why on earth would anyone want to eat a cicada? Well, despite the “ick” factor that has me running the other way, cicadas are actually a popular snack in many parts of the world. They’re packed with protein, low in fat, and can be quite nutritious. Some say they taste nutty, citrusy, or even smoky. They've even been called “the shrimp of the land.” But again, I’ll take their word for it.

However, if you’re tempted to join the cicada-snacking club, there are some good reasons to maybe think twice:

  1. Allergies: If you’re allergic to shellfish, steer clear of cicadas. They contain the same protein, tropomyosin, that triggers shellfish allergies.
  2. Health Concerns: Pregnant or breastfeeding women, young children, and people with sensitive stomachs might want to avoid these critters due to potential pesticide contamination and the risk of gastrointestinal issues.
  3. Taste and Texture: Let's be honest—some of us just can't get past the idea of eating bugs. And that’s perfectly fine!

And let’s not forget our furry friends. If you’ve got a dog or cat, chances are they might take an interest in the buzzing feast outside. While a cicada snack is generally harmless for pets, eating too many can lead to some unpleasant tummy troubles. So, keep an eye on them and maybe steer them towards their kibble instead.

Credit: Canva
Credit: Canva
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Either way, next time you’re in a state park, remember to admire the cicadas from afar and not with your teeth. But if you’re feeling adventurous in your own backyard, the world—or at least the cicadas—are your "oyster." Just don’t expect to see me at that snack bar anytime soon!

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