Anybody who knows me is well aware that I’m terrified of bugs. Bugs and I are not chill. Never have been, never will be. And when I find them in my space, I find the most brutal ways to take them down (e.g., Raid, projectile weapons, a braver person’s fists). With this in mind, you can probably understand that, while I love spring, the season freaks me out. Bees start bumbling past me as I walk to work, stink bugs appear between the glass and screen of my window, and flies are just everywhere (as usual).
But 2016 is going to be different. There’s another creepy-crawly lying in wait deep in the soil, waiting for the perfect temperature to hatch and erupt from the ground like red-eyed zombies: The Seventeen-Year (Brood V) Cicada.
I wasn’t joking about the red eye thing. These suckers are crazy looking. And there’s gonna be billions of them coming out of the ground soon. Brood V cicadas have only two purposes in life: to scream and to screw. Their sound is just about deafening because of their numbers, so several states including Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, and a few others will need to invest in earplugs this summer. After they’re done singing and making babies, they die and their eggs end up in trees or in the ground to incubate and we don’t have to deal with them for another seventeen years. Another fortunate feature is that their lifespan is only about six weeks (which I still say is entirely too long).
Aside from emerging in the thousands, these cicadas are annoying for a number of other reasons, namely the damage they do to trees and other plants. The female cicadas cut slits into tree branches and lay their eggs in them. A few instances of this is fine, but when you have such vast quantities of insects doing this to your trees, you’ll end up with a lot of dead ones to take care of. Not only is the egg-laying process damaging, but the little buggers also eat tree roots while they’re still underground. Overall, they’re not very plant-friendly. So, there, I think I’ve given a good reason to dislike them if not loathe them entirely.
Many will say, “But, Sara, they’re just cicadas! They can’t bite or sting or anything, so there’s no reason to be afraid!” This is true, but they can still touch me and potentially invade my space which is NOT OKAY. If I had superpowers that wouldn’t allow any bugs to come within 100 feet of me, I would have no problems with them. Unfortunately, I have no such abilities, so it seems that I’ll be staying indoors a lot this summer. For those of you who do like these bugs, there’s plenty of merch online for you to partake in (t-shirts, mugs, stickers, the works). Have fun collecting your specimens and listening to their deafening song for a few months. I’ll be busy coming up with ways to escape the continent or, perhaps, the planet.