After Spending 17 Years Underground, Cicadas Are Swarming The Eastern US (33 Pics)

If you’re scared of bugs, you might want to look away, dear Pandas. However, if you’re a nature-lover or simply curious to learn more about the world, then we’ve got an exciting story for you. There’s love in the air in the eastern United States, and billions, possibly even trillions, of cicadas are putting the moves on one another by showing off their musical skills.

After spending a whopping 17 years buried underground in an immature nymph state, these cicadas—collectively known as Brood X or the Great Eastern Brood—have finally emerged for everyone to see them in their full glory. The spectacle is awe-inspiring (and a tad terrifying if I’m completely honest).

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People are sharing photos of what it’s actually like to go outside in some states, and Bored Panda has collected just a sample of the best ones to show you just how powerful nature can be. Have a scroll down and, if you’re currently in the eastern US, we’d absolutely love to hear your own experiences with Brood X in the comments.


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Even though they’ve spent so much time below ground, these cicadas won’t be around above it for much longer. Their mating season will end by around mid-June, by which time, that particular new generation of cicadas will wait years and years to surprise future Americans.

Here’s the thing, though, periodical cicadas don’t necessarily emerge only on the 17th spring of their lives. Some choose to emerge on the 13th year, sometime between late April and early June, depending on the area.


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Cicadas Underneath Of An Old Tarp That We Pulled Away

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They do this in sync and in massive numbers, but scientists are still baffled as to how the cicadas know to do this. Nature, you’re wonderfully weird, and I love it. There are some theories, however.

For instance, the Cicada Crew of the University of Maryland notes that one hypothesis for how cicadas track time is by sensing the seasonal changes in the quality or quantity of nutrients or plant hormones in the xylem sap that they use for nourishment.


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East Coast Cicadas decided to all come to my house


Y’all got cicadas too?

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Meanwhile, another theory is that they have an unknown molecular clock inside their bodies that works like a calendar. Whatever the exact reason might be, on the 17th or 13th year, cicadas emerge from the ground en masse once the soil temperatures reach around 18 degrees Celsius or 64 degrees Fahrenheit.


Live From The Front Lines. Aka, My Backyard. Brood X Showing Up Strong In Mount Vernon.

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After emerging from beneath the earth, male cicadas get together in chorus centers and attract the loves of their lives. Afterward, the females lay eggs in the stems of woody plants. Unfortunately, that’s where the lovey-dovey romance ends, however. Having completed their prime directive in life, going forth and multiplying, the adult cicadas die off. However, they’ve seeded an entire new brood and the circle of life continues.

One last thing before we end things: did you know that some people actually eat cicadas? Enjoy that thought while I try and get my appetite back before lunch.


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