Swarmageddon: 10 Reasons the Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome

The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)The cicadas are a-comin’, and it’s going to be awesome. From the constant stream of Facebook statuses explaining that periodical cicadas’ lifespans are prime numbers to that delightfully crunchy quality your driveway is about to take on, there’s just good times waiting for all.

The brood of cicadas that’s currently working its way out of the ground between Georgia and Connecticut is one of the largest of the fifteen U.S. cicada broods.  If you live in Brood II’s zone, you are about to outnumbered 600 to 1 by sex-crazed flying bugs. Millions (possibly billions) of cicadas are about to emerge from the ground in the cicada equivalent of a Jersey Shore Spring Break nightmare. They will drunkenly swarm around, making a racket and trying to hook up, and leave beer cans in your bushes.

The good news is, they’re not really harmful, just annoying and gross. It’s possible for them to damage young trees, though, so you might want to protect saplings with netting. Cicadas don’t bite or sting, although if they mistake you for a branch, they might try to feed from you.

And, they won’t be here all summer or anything. They show up when the ground temperature reaches 64 degrees, have their wild sex party, and die after a few weeks. Their offspring will wait underground for another 17 years.

There are also a lot of upsides to the cicada invasion, if you look at it the right way. You can use the cicadas as food, home movie props, and craft supplies (as always, turn to Etsy for inspiration). You can post photos of cicadas to Instagram and Facebook and humblebrag about how you have the most cicadas in the neighborhood.

And, of course, you can meme-ify them. Below are my suggestions for more ways to thoroughly enjoy the 2013 cicada invasion Swarmageddon.

  • Cicadas are free food that falls from the sky like magic. 1 of 10
    It's free food!

    You can totally eat cicadas, and in this economy, you can't afford NOT to eat cicadas. It's basically protein that is going to fall right out of the sky. The University of Maryland has a bunch of recipes, and they helpfully point out that cicadas are part of the Arthropod class--just like shrimp, lobsters, and crabs! Mmm...where's the Old Bay?

    The nice people at University of Maryland add that we eat a pound or two of bugs a year anyway in our processed food, so we might as well whip up some cicada dumplings and just deal with it. Personally, my plan is to deep-fry them and serve them with ketchup, because my kids will eat anything in that format.

    Kids: "Hey Mom, are these chicken nuggets or fish sticks or what?" 

    Me: "Yes."

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • Cicadas are free dog food (sort of). 2 of 10
    Cicadas are free dog food (sort of).

    Cicadas aren't poisonous to pets, which is a good thing, because apparently cats and dogs freaking adore them. The problem is that too many of those hard cicada shells can be difficult to digest. Dogs in particular can actually gorge themselves on cicadas until they choke or otherwise block up their gastrointestinal systems, reports National Geographic, so you do need to keep an eye on the cicada-munching. 

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • You can have tons of math fun with cicadas. 3 of 10
    The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    According to Cicada Mania, there are 170 species of cicada in North America, and over 2000 species around the world. The ones we're in a kerfuffle about are the Magicicada periodical cicadas, which have 17 or 13 year lifecycles. There are a bunch of different broods of these things, so they pop up in different parts of the country in different years. This year, lucky folks in Connecticut, Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Washington, D.C. can expect the arrival of "Magicicada Brood II".

    There are just so many different math problems you can come up with! Count all the gross cicada shells in the backyard! Count all the gross cicada shells the dog just threw up! Stare at your kids meaningfully and point out that 13 and 17 are prime numbers. Nod knowingly. When they ask you why cicada life cycles are prime numbers, read them this thing from New York University that explains the sciencey math behind it. (I tried to read it but I blacked out from boredom. I assume it will put your kids to sleep, too. You're welcome.)

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

  • Right now would be an excellent time to teach your kid how to mow the lawn. 4 of 10
    The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    Female cicadas think that lawn mowers, power saws, and other horribly noisy tools sound just like male cicadas. In other words, you + your lawn mower = cicada Jon Hamm. So you can calm down now: you're totally not being attacked angry cicadas. You're being attacked by horny cicadas, which is not disturbing at all. Cicada Mania recommends cutting your lawn early in the morning or at dusk, when the cicadas are less active. I recommend making your kid mow the lawn.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)


  • This is a great time to introduce your children to the classics. Like Hitchcock. 5 of 10
    The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    Here's a great idea for free family fun!  The cicada invasion is your chance to re-enact Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds -- it's like Mother Nature is giving you all the props for free. Obviously, you get to be Tippi Hedren. Now go pop some tags at the thrift shop and get yourself a cool belted suit. 

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto/JoslynGray)

  • Or, re-enact literally every Charlton Heston movie ever made. 6 of 10
    The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    Not a Hitchcock fan? Then choose from any Charlton Heston movie; they all seem to work.

    Soylent cicadas.

    The Ten Commandments: It's a plague...of cicadas.

    Airport 1975...a stewardess is flying the cicada!

    Planet of the Apes... I don't know, maybe the apes eat cicadas? Oh, wait--I have it! The scene where Dr. Zaius says to the humans, "You are a menace. A walking pestilence."

    (Photo Credits: Rotten Tomatoes,Know Your Meme, Cinema de MerdeSodahead,)

  • Magicicada! It even *sounds* like a Harry Potter curse! 7 of 10
    The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    The cicadas that are coming are called magicicadas. I guess because, if you completely ignore math and science, they come out of the ground like magic. Now I'm not suggesting that you should put an imperio curse on a live cicada or anything, but all those gross shells would make awesome potion ingredients, don't you think?

    (Photo Credit: Harry Potter Wiki/iStockphoto/Joslyn Gray)

  • Cicadas are a business opportunity just waiting to happen. 8 of 10
    The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    Sure, you're about to be inundated with cicadas, but what about all those people who don't live in the Brood II zone? How will they make their spells and mojos? How will they change their reality? Obviously, the only rational thing to do is to collect as many cicada shells as you can, and sell them. Even better: stockpile all the cicada shells until after this invasion, and then you'll be able to charge sky-high prices. It's called supply and demand, people.

    (Whole Cicada Skins available on Etsy, $2.00 for 5 skins)

  • Fun Family Activity: Make a small-scale model of Planet Mustafar. 9 of 10
    The Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    Cicadas have five eyes--three little ones on top of their heads, and two larger ones that are more obvious, says Cicada Mania. The two larger eyes can be white, yellow, green, brown, or multi-color, but they're usually red. I believe we can safely assume that the ones with yellow or red eyes are Sith. Hopefully, someone (and by someone, I mean you) will make a stop-motion YouTube video with a Sith-cada playing the part of Whiny Anakin. 

    Anicada Skywalker: "You turned her against me!"

    Obi Wan Cicada: "You have done that yourself."

    Anicada Skywalker: "Nooooooooooooooo."

    Then Padme Cicada has 400 baby cicadas, names them all something that starts with L, and dies. Seventeen years later, the brave young cicadas learn what a tool their father was.

    End Scene.

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto/Joslyn Gray)

  • SURE, you can keep one as a pet, Honey! 10 of 10
    10 Reasons the Cicada Invasion Is Going to Be Awesome (via Babble)

    There is no doubt that my children will attempt to name every last blessed cicada in our yard. It's what they do; when we garden, they name the worms and make little worm houses. These are what we call "outdoor pets." From a mom perspective, cicadas are the very best kind of pets: they're free, they're noisy and active for a few short weeks, and then they die right around when my kids were going to lose interest anyway. (Cue "Circle of Life" music.)

    (Photo Credit: iStockphoto)

Read more from Joslyn on Babble and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow Joslyn on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

Recent posts: 
Mole Patrol: 10 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Dermatology Appointment
Sad Cat Diary: Because Being a House Cat Is Hard, Yo (Video)
Social Media and Memory: I Can’t Handle Facebook on Mother’s Day
Exotic Pets: Capybaras (‘Giant Hamsters’) Aren’t for Everyone

Article Posted 3 years Ago

Videos You May Like