The Cicadas Are Coming! The Cicadas Are Coming!

To mimic Paul Revere, we all know the following: “The cicadas are coming! The cicadas are coming!”

In Maryland, they’re already here.

Spotted in my back yard.

Who remembers the 2004 onslaught of the cicadas? We were living in Ellicott City at the time, and I remember my toddler and four-year-old playing in the back yard and being terrified of the insects. The Brood X type, with their menacing red eyes, had crawled out of the soil. My friends, it’s been 17 years, and they are crawling out again.

Apparently, billions of these things have fed underground all this time, primarily on tree roots, only to emerge now. This particular Brood X type is found in the eastern United States only. Luckily for us, they are only around for a short time, from May until the end of June.

But these buggers are about to make a ruckus.

The male cicadas, who ascend to the tall treetops, will cause a stir with their mating sounds. The sound comes from their abdomen. So, when you hear the bellowing songs coming from the trees over the next month, you’ll know what’s going on. Male cicadas are looking for some action.

I remember my very first introduction to cicadas. It was 1987, and I was commuting to Bethesda. I got off of the Metro, and emerged outside to swarms of cicadas buzzing all round us. It was like a scene from “The Birds.” Swatting them away from my hair and eyes, I had never in my life been pestered by insects like this as I tried to walk across the street. They were everywhere.

Here’s hoping it doesn’t get that bad in 2021, but if this morning’s walk was any indication, I think we’re going to see a lot of them—and soon.

For more information on the Cicadas, click here for Cicada Facts from The Maryland Department of Agriculture.

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