By Sean Zucker –
They were waiting for so long. Must have felt like a lifetime, patiently holding off on their return to the world. Then, after so much time in isolation, the moment finally arrived to return to public life. No, not horny twenty-somethings reactivating their Tinder accounts to re-emerge in painfully obnoxious bars following a year-plus of pandemically sanctioned lockdown. We’re talking, of course, about cicadas. It was their time. The long-awaited hot cicada summer was at foot. But just as Robert Frost predicted, nothing gold can stay. Unfortunately for cicadas, their gilt wings helped them fall under this category all too literally.
Not unlike their sozzled post-grad counterparts, these frisky pests long anticipated their return to the party scene. 17 years to be exact. Cicadas remain subterranean, tunneling and feeding beneath the soil, returning above ground just every 17 years. And as part of a group known as Brood X, they fittingly only leave home for XXX desires.
“All they want to do now is mate and have babies,” says Dr. Samuel Ramsey, an entomologist with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. So, they’re not so different from those human contact-deprived young people after all.
Also known as the Great Eastern Brood, the latest round of cicadas resurfaced and spread out from Tennessee to New York chasing tail and causing a ruckus. Their loud, buzzing moans of freedom and pleasure were heard from state to state across eastern America disrupting crops and causing nightmares.
But like all overly intense relationships, the cicada’s summer of love burnt out as quickly as it bloomed. As scientists predict these hyper-procreating bugs will disappear by July.
Dr. Ramsey notes the morning after has created quite the scene, stinking of the unique recklessness shared only by young folks, who lost their inhibitions during a yearlong lockdown, and promiscuous insects who never had any to begin with.
“They’re piling up on the sides of roads. They’re all over people’s gardens,” he explains. “These dead bodies as they decompose—they’re all kinds of microorganisms that release quite a pungent odor.”
While the literal party animals have begun to fissile, set to enjoy another decade-plus hangover, it’s important to remember the good times. The lessons they taught us on life, love and the pursuit of breeding.
They left us with a hopeful reminder to live each day as if it were your last for 17 years.