Emergence

The Brood X cicadas emerged in our area on Saturday. My husband and I were camping at the time. We arrived at our campsite on Friday night, and there were no cicadas. Saturday morning, they were everywhere. One of the trees on our site was absolutely covered in cicadas and their exoskeletons, and birds came by all day to feast at this buffet. (I spent a good amount of time on Saturday just sitting at our campsite with binoculars, watching the birds come by to grab several of them at once and fly off.)   

For those who haven’t experienced this phenomenon, Brood X is one of many periodical cicada broods that emerge every 17 years (a few broods are on a 13-year cycle). 

You can read more about them here

This is only the third time in my life these Brood X cicadas have emerged. Though the last time they emerged, I was living in Germany and missed it entirely. I’m kind of creeped out by them, so I wasn’t upset about it. Due to our moving around during my husband’s military career, I have experienced the emergence of other broods. 

To be honest, I find the exoskeletons to be much creepier than the insects themselves. The cicada nymphs burst out of their shells and leave them behind. And they are EVERYWHERE. It’s always seemed to me like something out of a science fiction movie — a tiny alien invasion. I guess I find it creepy and fascinating in equal measure. 

When I was a kid, my brothers (I’m the middle child — I have an older brother and a younger brother) collected several cicada exoskeletons and loaded them up in my bicycle basket. Of course, I started to get on my bike, saw them, and ran away screaming. This memory has been much on my mind lately. My younger brother and I were actually just talking about it yesterday. 

We decided that incident couldn’t have been during a periodical cicada emergence, given the time frame. We have standard garden variety cicadas that are out every year — they just don’t appear in hordes like the periodicals do. So it makes me wonder how my brothers found so many exoskeletons. I very rarely encounter them. 

The cicada emergence will only last a couple weeks or so. I expect it will be over before our next camping trip in just under three weeks. They aren’t especially bothersome — they will occasionally land on you — but they can get pretty loud at times depending on where you are. 

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