The Return of Brood X


Illustration by the Scientific American


2021 has started off so far a little bumpy, but with the COVID-19 vaccine getting distributed to millions now, there was a light at the end of the tunnel. However, there might be a vague shadow covering that bright light. And that shadow is the return of the Brood X Cicada species.

Cicadas emerged from the ground in numbers up to the billions, ready to swarm the nation. Since the Brood X come out every 17 years, and the last encounter was 2004, that means this year is when we will see billions of bugs crawl out of the ground. So, what exactly is the Brood X Cicada species?

The Brood X is a specific species of Cicadas that has exactly one purpose: to mate. Every 17 years, this species enters the light of our sun and begins their mating call. They find a partner, and reproduce. By the end of the swarm, there are millions of Cicada nymphs that fall into the ground and burrow into the dirt. They spend years feeding on roots and other underground things, all in preparation to emerge in 17 years to reproduce and form the next generation.

It seems as if there is going to be a lot of chaos from billions of bugs making their way out of the ground. Those who are trying to enjoy a nice glass of lemonade outside by the pool may be brutally interrupted by a swarm of cicadas flying by. Once the swarm passes, their mating call may be heard, which is incredibly loud due to the numbers. For some, summer might just not be the same in the first few months.

Junior Keeleigh Devitt decided to share her complaints on why she is not excited for the return of Brood X.

“I have a pool in my backyard and I am terrified that I’m not going to be able to use it,” Devitt said. “I hate bugs, and I am really hoping that they are not too distracting, however, based on the numbers I am hearing about, I fear that it may be pretty distracting and gross.”

Evidently, Devitt is worried about her summer plans, and she is certainly not the only one. Some students have assumed that birds, who are a natural predator of cicadas, will exterminate them. However, due to their overwhelming size, not even birds can do the job. There will still be millions of nymphs leftover, waiting to produce the next generation.

Some students feel that there could be a way around the annoying emergence of Brood X. Junior Josh Silva is one of these students.

“As long as we attempt to ignore them, and not let them scare us, I think there might be a way to not let it bother us,” Silva said.

So, even though scientists have predicted that there will be mass numbers of cicadas, students are still hopeful that they will have an amazing summer, and don’t want to let these nasty bugs get in the way of that.