WVXU: Cicadas mean good news for gardens

UC adjunct professor Joshua Jones talks about 17-year cicadas

The emergence of 17-year cicadas this year could be good for your garden, according to a University of Cincinnati gardener.

Cicadas in Brood X are expected to emerge in the billions across most of the United States.

UC College of Design, Architecture, Art, and Planning adjunct professor Joshua Jones talked to WVXU’s Cincinnati Edition about how gardeners could put the pesky insects to good use. He works as director of greenhouse operations for Waterfields.

“If you put these cicada shells, which will be in extreme abundance, into your compost or turn them into your soil, it’s a wonderful food for beneficial bacteria and fungus,” Jones told Cincinnati Edition host Michael Monks. “It’s a really good year to inject some life into your soil.”

For people who are more adventurous, cicadas can make an unexpected appetizer, Jones said.

“I have actually eaten many cicadas. Their shell is made out of chitin. It’s fully digestible to us. It’s pretty nutritious,” he told WVXU.

Listen to Cincinnati Edition.

Featured image at top: Cicadas from Brood X are set to emerge this spring. Photo/USDA

A molted shell of a Cicada.

UC adjunct professor Joshua Jones says even the shed chitinous exoskeletons of molting cicadas can benefit soil and compost. Photo/USDA