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A woman eats fried insects during a competition in Yunnan, China, in 2017. (The winner consumed nearly 3 lbs. of bugs.) Photo: Visual China Group via Getty Images

The emergence of Brood X cicadas is renewing calls for one very simple way to deal with insect populations: eat them.

Why it matters: Entomophagy — the eating of insects — is practiced by more than 2 billion people around the world, and it's a highly sustainable way to consume protein.

  • But for most people in the West, it's still the final frontier of gustatory exploration.

By the numbers: According to a 2013 UN report, edible insects have what is known as a "high food conversion rate."

  • On average, insects can convert 2 kg of feed into 1 kg of body mass, compared to an 8-to-1 ratio for cattle, while pigs produce 10–100 times more greenhouse gases per kg of weight than mealworms.

Context: Cicadas — which are about to become extremely if temporarily abundant — "taste like shrimp," entomologist Brian Fisher told Wired.

  • Joseph Yoon, a chef and the executive director of Brooklyn Bugs, told the Washington Post he thinks cicadas could be an on-ramp to entomophagy for squeamish Americans, and he plans to produce cicada dishes for pop-up restaurants.
  • Those who want to try out recipes at home can peruse the online cookbook "Cicada-licuous," produced by the ecologist Jenna Jadin.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
May 12, 2021 - Science

The cicadas are a preview of a buggy future

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Trillions of Brood X cicadas are now emerging throughout parts of the mid-Atlantic and Midwestern U.S.

Why it matters: Most immediately, because they can be as loud as a Metallica show when they're singing in concert.

Updated 3 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First fatality confirmed in downtown Austin mass shooting

Police barricades near the scene of a shooting in Austin, Texas, on Saturday. Photo: Sergio Flores/Getty Images

A 25-year-old man died Sunday of injuries sustained in a mass shooting that wounded 13 other people in downtown Austin, Texas, the previous day, police confirmed.

Driving the news: Austin police named the victim as Douglas John Kantor, as they continued to search for one of two suspects. One suspect was taken into custody on Saturday following the shooting on 6th Street, a popular area with bars and restaurants.

Pelosi demands Barr and Sessions testify on data subpoenas

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during an event San Francisco, California, on Friday. Photo: Miikka Skaffari/Getty Images

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told CNN Sunday that former Attorneys General William Barr and Jeff Sessions should testify before Congress on reports that the Trump-era Department of Justice seized Democrats' and journalists' data records.

Driving the news: DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz announced Friday an internal investigation into the matter, and Pelosi expressed disbelief to CNN's Dana Bash at assertions that neither Barr nor Sessions knew of probes into lawmakers.