Brood X: the 17th Year

The cicadas are here! This is Brood X, the group that emerges from the ground in parts of the Eastern U.S. on a 17-year-cycle. So we last saw them in 2004. I lived in my old house then, with only a few trees in the yard. These cicadas lay their eggs in trees, so 17 years later, they tend to wriggle out of the ground near trees. And we have many, many trees at our new house. So we have many, many cicadas.

They are everywhere, and their numbers are increasing each day. The decibel level is particularly loud, and getting louder. Really, these little things are deafening.

I am not a person who generally likes bugs. But I enjoy Brood X. They stay outside, and they don’t bite. Even for insects, they seem lacking in intelligence; they bumble around, crashing into things, and have no idea that they should be afraid of people or dogs or birds — which makes it hard to fear them. In fact, I find them amusing, like big, otherwordly cartoon-character bugs.

We’ll have a backyard full of the bumbling, droning, weird-looking little guys for the next six weeks or so. And then they’ll be gone for another 17 years.

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