It finally happened, a thunderous “whomp-whomp-whomping” filling the air just outside my window. Thinking they were finally here, I flew out the back door, head cocked to the sky. It turned out to be nothing more than a military helicopter. Not a cicada in sight.
For weeks now, we’ve been warned they’ll tear apart the digestive tracts of dogs, which will, as you probably know, eat pretty much anything. We’ve been advised that they’ll make more noise than a 747 buzzing the tower at an airport. There was also a piece with two entomologists, who, brimming with enthusiasm at finally getting the attention they so richly deserve, provided a recipe for cicada cookies, with a giant bug baked into the center of each one. “Save the cicada for your last bite,” they advised, so that you can savor and distinguish the bug’s unique flavor and texture. It only makes sense. The reporter actually ate the damn thing. I later learned that some folks like them deep-fried.
I’m getting really tired of being warned about the big bug invasion of 2021. I’m not even sure it’s gonna happen, at least not right here. After watching repeated reports on the evening news, featuring full-screen blowups of the bugs, which makes for a great graphic, I have now learned about cicada mating habits, the horrible noise cicadas make, their 13 and 17 year cycles, the potential danger they pose to dogs that eat the big bugs, and so forth and so on.
The media, loves these things, so I have been getting more information than I ever needed, apart from the one piece of information I really did need but had no idea was out there. The most significant information of all. The fact that there are different “broods” of cicadas. Which may account for the fact that there was a significant cicada hatch when we got here in 2015, and another, much smaller, just two years back and then yet another, a little bigger, last year. And now we are supposedly going to be confronted by this most current “brood” hatching in 2021. How is all of this possible with 13 and 17-year cycles? Confusing, isn’t it?
“How did this happen?” – Jean-Luc Picard
Well, apparently, there is some overlapping of the broods. According to a brood map I finally found – after learning that there actually were broods, and not all the 17-year cicadas would pop up at the same time – it would appear that our location here in Maryland, is right on the edge of the 2021 media-event cicada invasion we are hearing about three or four times a week. So, hopefully, we won’t get anything at all. Hopefully, we had a couple of broods popping out here just last year and the year before and the really big blowout of 2021 will be happening up in Pennsylvania. Not that I’d wish that on the folks up in PA. It’s just that it appears the brood thing won’t be in their favor this time around.
Please understand that I have no credentials in entomology whatsoever, so everything I’ve written on this subject needs to be carefully vetted by someone with credentials. Someone who understands cicada brood maps. I only felt a need to react in some small way to the ongoing media reports that made me feel that much of the northeast was about to be invaded by millions of giant bugs. Which hasn’t happened. At least not right here. That’s not to say that it won’t. What do I know?
Good luck and God bless you. Together, we’ll probably get through this. The biggest news since the murder hornets arrived. And almost as photogenic.