Imagine being isolated from all your family and friends for 17 years, oh wait, we can, as we were basically quarantined for the past 15 months. Welcome to Maryland Brood X. The enormous, and creepy, periodical cicadas are finally here after a cold spring, and they are ready to party, maskless!
Emerging in a yard near you, the insect is in its final nymph stage. It climbs a vertical object, sheds its shell and becomes a winged adult. Then, the 17-year-itch and mating dance begins. The female cicada can lay up to 600 eggs. Cicadas don’t bite, don’t sting, don’t carry disease, and are not poisonous, so why are we so repulsed?
The last time these happy, liberated invaders graced our lawns, patios, and walkways was in 2004. Jenna was graduating from Middle School and she was not a fan. It seemed that every step she took, cicadas were slowly buzzing by her. Truth be told, Jenna never liked bugs, even when she was a small child. So, the large winged cicadas made her crazy, but she could absolutely out run them. Her 8th Grade graduation was indoors but as we walked outside to snap the prerequisite family photos, Jenna was nowhere to be found. She refused to go outside. Made for a tough afternoon.
Cicadas sing from dawn until dusk, but mostly in the afternoon. Their chorus is loud and can be grating. Older neighborhoods with less new construction seem to have a large quantity of the visitors, and Jim’s family home was covered in cicada shells that year. I remember well the crunch of each step up the walkway to the front door and the loud cicada buzzing I could feel inside my car when we pulled up to the house.
As COVID restrictions begin to disappear with the prevalence of vaccinated humans, we are all about to have a summer party, maskless. Makes me feel some empathy for Brood X. They are just trying to have some fun!