If you’re scared of bugs, you might want to look away. However, if you’re a nature-lover or simply curious to learn more about the world, then we’ve got an exciting story for you. There’s love in the air in the eastern United States, and billions, possibly even trillions, of cicadas are putting the moves on one another by showing off their musical skills.
After spending a whopping 17 years buried underground in an immature nymph state, these cicadas—collectively known as Brood X or the Great Eastern Brood—have finally emerged for everyone to see them in their full glory. The spectacle is awe-inspiring (and a tad terrifying if I’m completely honest).
What's currently happening in the eastern US is something that people experience only a "handful of times in our lives." It's a "totally natural phenomenon that doesn't happen anywhere else" on Earth, and it's a spectacle of birth, death, life, and romance in the trees.
Even though they’ve spent so much time below ground, these cicadas won’t be around above it for much longer. Their mating season will end by around mid-June, by which time, that particular new generation of cicadas will wait years and years to surprise future Americans.
Here’s the thing, though, periodical cicadas don’t necessarily emerge only on the 17th spring of their lives. Some choose to emerge on the 13th year, sometime between late April and early June, depending on the area.
They do this in sync and in massive numbers, but scientists are still baffled as to how the cicadas know to do this. Nature, you’re wonderfully weird, and I love it. There are some theories, however.