Cicada Double Dose | God's World News
Cicada Double Dose
News Shorts
Posted: April 03, 2024
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    A periodical cicada nymph sits on a finger. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
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    Periodical cicada nymphs can survive for decades underground. (AP/Carolyn Kaster)
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They have pumps in their heads. They have jet-like muscles in their rears. And they’re about to emerge in massive numbers.

They’re cicadas—but not just any cicadas. These are periodical cicadas. Some types of cicadas emerge once per year. But periodical cicadas pop out of the ground much less often. They fill the air with loud buzzing. Their shed exoskeletons turn the ground crunchy.

As the name suggests, these bugs follow a strict schedule. Some broods hatch once every 13 years. Other broods arrive once every 17 years.

On rare occasions, these schedules line up. Both broods arrive at once. And by the way—that happens this year.

The largest brood, Brood XIX, will emerge in Georgia. Shortly after, Brood XIII will surface in Illinois. In central Illinois, the swarms will overlap.

Exactly how many cicadas should folks expect? The cicadas will average around one million per acre. They will cover 16 states. That easily means trillions—maybe even quadrillions.

The last time this cicada double dose happened, Thomas Jefferson was president! It was 1803. In his Garden Book, he mistakenly called them “locusts.”

But don’t worry. These cicadas don’t harm people. They don’t even cause major crop damage like actual locusts.

“It’s like an entire alien species living underneath our feet,” says biophysicist Saad Bhamla. “And then some . . .  years, they come out to say hello.”

Cicadas aren’t just pests. They’re a weird and wonderful part of God’s creation. They use pumps in their heads to suck moisture from tree roots. This keeps them alive underground for over a decade! But all that moisture has to go somewhere. Studies have found that cicadas urinate stronger and faster than any other animal. Experts call it “cicada rain.”

Researchers aren’t the only ones interested in cicada-geddon. Birds will feast. Fat, slow, juicy cicadas make a perfect bird snack. No matter how many cicadas they gobble up, more remain. Even some humans munch on these crunchy crawlers. Would you give them a try?

Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? — Matthew 6:26