Well, the media are in an uproar over the latest threat to our American way of life, and I am not referring to any of the presidential candidates.
Apparently, the Northeast is about to be inundated with Brood V cicadas, which are the kind that only appear every 17 years, and which, I’m supposing, are entirely different from the Brood II cicadas that inundated the Northeast three years ago, but which also only appear every 17 years.
I don’t really care enough to look it up, but it’s possible that there are many such broods, all appearing every 17 years, and they’ve arranged it so that none of the broods appear in the same year, but, as far as we humans are concerned, one brood or another shows up every year, and it doesn’t much matter to me, when I’m stepping on crunchy cicada carcasses, which friggin’ brood they’re from.
You may wonder why I even know about the Brood II guys from three years ago. It’s because I wrote about them then, not because I’m the type of person who actually keeps track of cicada broods like the folks who frequent CicadaMania.com, the site that is, not surprisingly, “dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.”
The cicada species that will emerge are Magicicada cassinii, Magicicada septendecim, and Magicicada septendecula. These periodical cicadas have a 17-year life cycle. The last time they emerged was 1999.
I’ll tell you one thing: if these bugs fly out of wherever they hell they’ve been hanging out for 17 years and start partying like it’s, well, like the last time they were around, I’m going to have a big problem. Because, and I really can’t emphasize this enough, these are big bugs.
And why are all these Brood V species called Magicicadas? Are they magic cicadas? Do they have little wands that they can wave to become even more annoying? Or maybe they are magi cicadas? If they are, they can take their frankincense and get the heck out of my backyard.
At CicadaMania.com, you can also hear what various broods sound like. CicadaMania calls these sounds “songs.” If they are songs, then the noises made during the South African World Cup by those vuvuzela things were symphonies. Go ahead and click the link to listen to a cidada song and, while you do, try to imagine it amplified by a factor of, oh, 10,000.
Seriously, go ahead. I’ll wait.
[While you’re gone, I’m thinking about more pleasant things, like fire ants.]
So you’re back? Wasn’t that a nice song? Did you listen to a distress song, or one of the many courting songs? The courting songs are what the male cicadas sing when they’ve found a mate, sort of like three million young Marlon Brandos shouting “HEY, STELLA” simultaneously outside the sliding doors to your deck.*
I don’t have much more to say about these creatures that I didn’t say three years ago, and I encourage you to read that post so you know all there is that I know about these “amazing insects.”
But I’ll leave you with this horrifying fact: there are also 13-year cicadas. Which means that, eventually, the 13-year bugs and the 17-year bugs are going to show up in the same year.
That’s going to be a bunch of bugs!
See you soon.
*The broods in the Philadelphia area, however, have been heard to sing “Yo, Adrian!”