More often than not, you don’t actually see a periodical cicada bug invasion, you hear it. Even one of these noisy flying insects can be annoying, but when they number in the … wait for it … millions, they can be more irritating to your ears than the honking and yelling you hear during rush hour traffic.
Okay … maybe not that bad. But it’s still pretty terrible.
Below are a few cicada bug invasion facts that you should know, plus a couple of fun facts just for the heck of it.
They won’t hurt you.
Cicadas won’t sting or bite. They aren’t poisonous, nor do they carry disease or any of that other nasty business you have to worry about with some insects. These bugs simple make a lot of noise.
They will number in the millions (at least).
This is why a cicada bug invasion really gets under a person’s skin. Millions of flying insects — and in some cases, billions — can create quite a racket. Sometimes, you’ll see clusters of these insects flying around that number in the tens of thousands, and sometimes a lot more.
They don’t come around very often.
The reason you don’t see these types of cicadas too often is that they spend years underground. How many? 17, to be exact. As you can see, they have an extremely strange lifecycle. They’ll stick around for around six weeks, while they shed their skin to become adults and start looking to reproduce, and then disappear until 2030.
They help the trees.
When the cicada bug invasion begins, the cicada females will lay her eggs in the form of clusters that will strip the trees of excess branches. This is the same effect as pruning, which leads to healthier trees.
They taste pretty good.
Although eating insects hasn’t exactly caught on for most of the United States, people who have tried cicada delicacies have enjoyed them quite a bit. They’re related to shrimp and lobsters, believe it or not, and some people — especially those in the Southwest — have been known to sautee them, dip them in chocolate, or even bake them into desserts.
They aren’t good for dogs.
The cicadas form hard exoskeletons during their life cycle. If your dog eats them, they could become a choking hazard. Plus, although dogs can digest cicadas, the chitin in their shells can cause vomiting and constipation if too many are eaten.
They are the subject of a Bob Dylan song.
Story has it that Dylan was inspired to create “Day of the Locust” after an especially loud night of listening to the bugs buzzing outside his window. Of course, cicadas aren’t true locusts, but we’ll let that slide this time, Bob.
Photo Credit: tony_redink2000 via Flickr