Call of Cicada, Brood X from the POV of a brood-member

Originally published at: Call of Cicada, Brood X from the POV of a brood-member | Boing Boing


but because of “math” every 221 years or so both broods will come out together - and then we have some brood mixing for sure.

and no - there is no shorter interval – both prime numbers, there is no other interval where they will overlap


I have been eagerly awaiting this event since I was caught by surprise in '04 shortly after moving into its region. It’s magical, they’re completely harmless and docile. You can just pluck them off plants and play with them.

From Brood II in 2013:


We have annual cicadas. They appear every year.

I know summer is here when I hear that first cicada call.


It’s kind of weird to call them that when they spend more than 90% of their life underground.

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Three things I now realize I miss from my summers growing up in PA:

  1. The sound of Cicadas
  2. Lightning bugs
  3. Dark skies

Wow, They were everywhere when I was kid growing up on the Jersey Shore. Fun times.


“Call of Cicada, Brood X” sounds like the name of an crappy nu metal band in the early 2000’s who can barely make a living from playing bar mitzvahs.


They are categorized as tree bugs and they live on trees 100% of the time. They feed on the roots in the ground and use information they get about the tree’s seasonal cycles (via the sap) to count 17 years.


I remember when I first found out about the cicada casings. I was at Hamburger University, McDonald’s Oakbrook HQ, walking on one of the beautiful forest paths they had. In one section, it got quite crunchy. I looked down, and what I thought were leaves were thousands (?) of the spent shells that had fallen from everywhere.

Allegedly brood IX shouldn’t have been in Illinois last year, but I certainly had plenty. I was constantly cleaning shells off my fences. I just did some prep work on my garden this afternoon and cleaned all the spent shells off the fence…hopefully they’re good for the soil because they got tilled up.


Do you have hands the size of oven mitts or are those miniature cicadas?


Yeah, apparently the 17 year cycle is for cicadas on the East coast, in a specific area roughly between New York in the North and North Carolina in the South, and going as far West as Illinois.

Looks like every other state, including Alaska and Hawaii, also has cicadas (here in California, we’ve got 60-odd different species of them), but they’re annual varieties.

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The eastern periodic brood species are all Magicicada, approximately 1.5". Also, the hand is cupped so the perspective is skewed. Here’s a better one:


The subtle second viewpoint says look at it this way. It’s all about how you see it.

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Interesting - the maps I’ve seen didn’t have anything East of the Mississippi, so they must have been missing Brood IV, and apparently also omitted the 13 year broods as well, so nothing too far South, either. They did show more further up in Michigan, though that might have just been an indication they existed somewhere (even if just barely in the Southern border) in the state.

Per the map, looks like the eastern part of Long Island, NY will be seeing cicadas this year. I hope they see a lot; that part of L.I. went for Trump.

I was in Baltimore for the last emergence. They were everywhere.

A friend went around collecting them and filled a 2L soda bottle. It was the oddest sound, putting your ear to the hole.

He ultimately fried them up. I passed back then, but I like to think I’d be game this time around.

Do they go up as far as Southern Ontario? I’m gonna be moving there from the UK in 2 weeks time and it’d be interesting for my first summer there to coincide with this notable brood.

I built an “Ersatz Nature” piece that uses a microcontroller to playback the sounds of cicadas. Warms the house nicely (or at least makes it sound like summer inside).