Personally, I love cicadas. Sure, they look weird and it’s kind of creepy how they stay underground for decades at a time, and they can be super loud, but to me, it wouldn’t be summer without them.
That said, I’ve never lived through an emergence like the one of “Brood X” that scientists say are set to emerge from their years-long dirt naps in 2021.
Brood X is made up of billions of periodical cicadas, which go through life cycles of 13 or 17 years. The ones digging their way up to the surface this year are 17-year cicadas.
Periodical cicadas live for 17 years as nymphs, slurping up sap from roots underground. The 17th year, they wait for the weather to warm and then emerge, ready to molt, assume their adult form, get bizzay, and then tragically die after a short life in the sun.
This particular brood of cicadas, the Great Eastern Brood, is the most widespread in the country, with adults emerging in Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.
If you call any of those states home, once the soil hits 64 degrees this spring or summer, be on the lookout – billions of your loud, horny friends are about to come calling.
When cicada nymphs first emerge, they scale the closest vertical surface – a tree, a door, bricks, car tires – then molt. When they emerge they start their screaming, which are, of course, lovely calls to mate.
Those calls can exceed 100 decibels, equal to a car stereo blasting at max volume.
The good news (if you don’t enjoy the sounds of summer and weird looking bugs) is that the cicadas don’t stick around for long. Their reproduction cycle lasts only a few weeks, and then the adults can perish happy and sated and confident they have done their duties.
If you don’t live in the area where this year’s brood is going to emerge, you’ll have to enjoy your own cicadas and wait your turn.
I, for one, will be very disappointed if I don’t see some REALLY big ones.
But that’s just me.