Cicada Apocalypse: the return of Brood X in 2021

April 2021 Satire Issue

Breanna Moore, Hates bugs with a burning passion

In the summer of 2021, an immense amount of Brood X cicadas are to emerge from the ground where they have been living for the past 17 years. Also known to be called the Great Eastern Brood or Brood 10, it is said to be one of the largest broods of cicadas of 17-year cicadas to occur in the United States. The emergence and presence of these cicadas are projected to appear in these states: Illinois, Georgia, Michigan, Indiana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, New York, New Jersey, Delaware and Maryland. These insects will also infest our nation’s capital, Washington DC. Considering that these are 17-year cicadas, the last year that this event occurred was back in 2004, and after this year Brood X will not emerge again until 2038. 

This great swarm of cicadas can often lead to many questions and misleading commentary, so here is some information to help you understand what exactly this grand event means for us. Brood X cicadas are approximately 2.5 inches long with a wingspan around 3 inches and are easily identifiable due to their black bodies, gold wings, and red eyes. These insects are completely harmless to humans, pets or any other animal. They aren’t aggressive in any way and don’t bite. The only potential threat cicadas can create is towards the plants in which they lay their eggs, which can kill the younger branches on trees. 

While it’s good to know that cicadas are not in any way going to be dangerous, they are going to make up for it in being extremely annoying. These Brood X cicadas are incredibly loud and produce a sound that can be up to 120 decibels. The shrill mating call, which can be described as a combination of a rattle and a buzzing sound, will likely be heard nonstop during the time frame that the cicadas will be active. The time frame for these cicadas are projected to be from late April or early May through the month of June. 

Another important thing to note is that these cicadas will be absolutely everywhere. And by everywhere, I really do mean everywhere. These obnoxious bugs will be on cars, sidewalks, buildings, trees, shrubbery, and they will be flying through the sky in every which way. If you are going to be outdoors at all during the rise of these cicadas, there will be no way to avoid them unless you go back inside or get into a car. However, these cicadas are known to be most active during the daytime, so their presence shouldn’t be as much of a nuisance during the nighttime hours. Except for, of course, their shrill singing that is likely to be ongoing. 

While the first half of summer may be tainted with the annoying and overwhelming presence of the Brood X cicadas, they will not hang around for the season’s entirety. Eventually, they will fulfil their purpose of mating and laying the eggs of their future generation, then die off. And once they disappear at the end of their uprising, they will not be seen or heard from for another 17 years.

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