535829147

535829147

cicada singing on a tree in the summer sun

Photo by: piermichelemalucchi

piermichelemalucchi

Cicadas: An Early Invasion

By: Leah Weber

Match point, 2020. Early cicadas are here to ruin your quiet outdoor moments.

June 09, 2020

It is 2020. We’re currently living through a global pandemic, civil unrest all over the world, and don’t forget the threat of murder hornets, among other radically tragic events and occurrences that in any other year would be an entire feature. But this year, on top of everything, the cicadas are coming early. Yeah, you heard right.

The Early Shift

In the late spring and early summer months, you’re likely to have encountered these massive flying insects with distinguishably large eyes. They are on a mating and life cycle of 13 or 17 years—meaning, they don’t plague the human population annually, but when they do show up, they make it a summer to remember. Though it may seem like they do show up every year, they are more or less on shifts with lifecycles that occur rotationally.

Many entomologists spend their life’s work dedicated to tracking cicadas globally by observing their mating and growth cycles. And it looks like we’re set to get a large group of these prehistoric and noisy winged pests show up earlier than anticipated.

Early Brood Catches the Worm

958992742

958992742

Cicadas alight on a plant in Virginia, U.S. Photographer: Julia Schmalz/Bloomberg

Photo by: Bloomberg Creative Photos

Bloomberg Creative Photos

Classified by brood, or breeding group, the Chicago suburbs are getting an early invasion, four years ahead of schedule. A likely explanation for this is climate change. The fluctuation of temperature throughout the seasons—warmth at Christmas, snow on Memorial Day, which are traditional signs of a warming planet, also have implications on the lifecycle of cicadas.

So this year, when you are taking an evening stroll and hear a buzzing sound louder than the person standing directly next to you, assume your conversation is being infiltrated by an adjacent swarm of cicadas. Their resilience is astounding, but who knows, maybe we should keep an eye on the ones that show up during 2020.

Next Up

Wild Animals Explore City Streets Amid Pandemic

In 2020 anything is possible, and the animals are taking back the streets.

The Battle to Save California Mountain Lions

California is considering protecting mountain lions in certain parts of the state through the Endangered Species Act – but not everyone is happy about it.

Environmentalists Who Changed (and Continue to Change) the World

Here are five women who made it their life's mission to make the world a better place through environmental activism.

Scientists in Antarctica Get the Giggles from Penguin Waste

King penguin poop is causing some issues for scientists in Antarctica. This flightless bird's guano releases nitrous oxide, a gas that is known commonly as laughing gas.

Experts Say Plan Now for Pet Separation Anxiety

For many people, the silver lining of the pandemic is the time we've been able to spend with our furry friends. But, as places begin to open up, the separation will be hard. Here are a few ways to get your pet ready for the time when you go back to work.

Penguins Roam Art Museum in Kansas City

Penguins from the Kansas City Zoo took advantage of the lack of people in the The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art and spent the morning taking in the masterpieces. They loved Caravaggio. Monet, not so much.

Zoo Miami Tests Gorilla for COVID

Zoo Miami is taking every precaution to protect its gorilla population from COVID-19.

California’s Ocean is Neon - and It’s All Natural!

The California coastline is glowing and it’s not a trick of the imagination. Nature is putting on a show and it’s all thanks to some of the smallest organisms on the planet.

An Underwater Adventure From the Comfort of Your Couch

The Georgia Aquarium is live streaming from some of their epic habitats!

Bronx Zoo Tigers and Lions have Tested Positive for COVID-19

Nadia, as seen on Animal Planet’s THE ZOO, has tested positive for the novel coronavirus along with six other large cats—all are expected to recover, according to zoo officials.