Would you like a side of cicadas with your main? That could be a very real question posed in a New Orleans cafe in coming weeks as the nation prepares for trillions of the noisy bugs to emerge in numbers not seen in decades or even centuries.

AP reports the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans has long served up an array of alternative, insect-based treats at its “Bug Appetit” cafe overlooking the Mississippi River.

The precisely defined “Cinnamon Bug Crunch,” chili-fried waxworms, and crispy, cajun-spiced crickets are among the menu items on offer – and soon they might have company thanks to an over-abundance in supply of red-eyed periodical cicadas.

Zack Lemann, the Insectarium’s curator of animal collections, has been working up cicada dishes that may become part of the menu, the AP report sets out.

His reasoning is simple and made clear as he worked on a green salad with apple, almonds, blueberry vinaigrette — and roasted cicadas. Fried cicada nymphs were dressed on top with a warm mixture of creole mustard and soy sauce.

“I do dragonflies in a similar manner,” Lemann told the outlet as he used tweezers to introduce nymphs to a container of flour before cooking them in hot oil.

Depending on the type and the way they are prepared, cooked cicadas reportedly taste similar to toasted seeds or nuts.

Zach Lemann, curator of animal collections for the Audubon Insectarium, prepares cicadas for eating in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. The insectarium plans to demonstrate ways to cook cicadas at the little in-house snack bar where it already serves other insect dishes. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

Children from the Woodmere Elementary School, of Harvey, La., line up to taste cooked insects at the Audubon Insectarium in New Orleans, Wednesday, April 17, 2024. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

The Insectarium isn’t the first to promote the idea of eating them. Over the years, they have appeared on a smattering of menus and in cookbooks, including titles like “Cicada-Licious” from the 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 told AP. “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.”

Lemann has been working to make sure the Bug Appetit cafe has legal clearance to serve wild-caught cicadas while he works on lining up sources for the bugs ahead of the predicted cicada onslaught threatening to swamp the nation, as Breitbart News reported.

He expects this spring’s unusual emergence of two huge broods of cicadas to heighten interest in insects in general, and in the Insectarium — even though the affected area doesn’t include southeast Louisiana.

The unusual cicada double dose about to invade parts of the U.S. is what University of Connecticut cicada expert John Cooley has called “cicada-geddon.”  The last time these two broods came out together in 1803 Thomas Jefferson, who wrote about cicadas in his Garden Book but mistakenly called them locusts, was president.

In the restaurant world the response is, if you can’t beat ’em, then eat ’em.

“I can’t imagine, given the fact that periodical cicadas are national news, that we won’t have guests both local and from outside New Orleans, asking us about that,” said Lemann.

“Which is another reason I hope to have enough to serve it at least a few times to people.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com