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Brood XIII: They Reap What They Have Sown

By Jocelyn Geboy in Miscellaneous on Apr 11, 2007 8:50PM


Let's not beat around the proverbial insect-ridden tree. The 17-year cicadas are coming back. Fuck. This. Is. Not. Cool.

There are two kinds of periodical cicadas, but they both do the same thing. After their eggs hatch, "tiny ant-like nymphs" bury their way below the ground to feed on plant roots for 17 or 13 years. Then they all simultaneously rise up from the ground in some horror show and shed their skins, mate, lay eggs and die ... all over again.

When this happens, there are thousands of them. THOUSANDS. Freakout. People sit around and tell tales of shoveling them off their sidewalks, of crunching over piles of them on their way to work, of them just littering everything. Where the hell is Hilary Swank when you really need her?

Curiously enough, there are lots of people who are really interested and digging on this particular phenomenon. There's a website called Cicada Mania that has a formula for calculating when the cicadas will come to your neck of the woods (60625 = May 15!!).

There's also a wedding guide to dealing with cicadas. Some classic tips:

  • Cicadas have no interest in human food, but one might fall out of a tree and into the potato salad.
  • Educate your guests: Let them know that cicadas don't sting like bees. Let them know they'll be around for the length of the party.
  • Clean up: Cicadas leave skins behind — you may have to clean up before the wedding. A shop vac works fine.

Hahahaha ... ha ... ha ... Eww.

The male cicada makes the loudest sound in the insect world and can be heard as far as 440 yards. Since they're always on the prowl for a honey, the noise is fairly incessant. Ravinia has located concerts inside during their stay in the past. Cicadas pose no physical threat to humans; they don't sting or bite. However, the psychological damage we might incur is not yet known. Plus, we immediately resent anything that makes us not look forward to spring! Oh, stupid cicadas! We should have never put you in charge!

"Adult Cicada with Wing" via Happy Monkey.