They lie in wait just under our feet. For 17 years they squirm and writhe through the cold, hard earth sucking the life fluids from the roots of trees. Then one spring, like clockwork, they crawl up out of the ground and transform; growing wings and a hard exoskeleton. There are millions of them and none can escape their wild mating ruckus and endless chittering. They’re coming soon. Brood V is almost here.
I’m talking, of course, about cicadas. While their lifecycles may seem truly bizarre and alien to our way of thinking about life on Earth, but their emergence is actually a fairly predictable natural event. Many of my readers from Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia will likely remember Brood V’s last emergence in 1999.
Mostly, people will remember the sound they made, which was loud and incessant. They were so prominent that I remember several enterprising kids (myself included) made a little money collecting them in coffee cans for neighbors who just wanted some peace and quiet. The demand really picked up after they started dying off. Fortunately the cicadas don’t really have mouths or stingers so they’re threat to people and pets is fairly limited.
For more information on the coming invasion I suggest checking out Sir David Attenborough’s work found here: