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2021 Cicadas


By — Joey Hudson

Eastern states have seen the emergence of the Brood X cicadas over the past few days. The sounds of their buzzing, which are actually their mating song and are also able to reach 90 to 100 decibels, can be heard throughout the majority of the day and they are easily spotted outside.

The cicadas made their last appearance in 2004. The cicadas emerge from the ground every 17 years due to the change in temperature and also tree sap, a source of food for cicada nymphs to help them develop and grow. The cicada’s appearance is commonly a black body with piercing red eyes, however their appearance changes to albino once they shed out of their exoskeleton. They also have very large wings which are also quite durable against water and are 1 to 2 inches in length. 

While many are freaked out by these insects suddenly emerging, many bug-enthusiasts are also excited to study them and be a part of a situation that only presents itself every 17 years in a limited part of the world. Farmers, however, are concerned about the destruction that cicadas could bring to their crops. Despite the preconception that the cicadas are also going to terrorize crops, the cicadas actually won’t do any harm to them. Associate professor Paula Shrewsbury, who’s also in the entomology department, said that there is very little evidence that the Brood X cicadas do any damage at all, so they are basically harmless.

While many people are using this chance to study the cicadas, others are also using this opportunity to experiment with them in the kitchen. Many people have gone to social media and have posted videos of them collecting the Brood X cicadas and making some sort of meal out of them, some of the recipes being popcorn cicadas and tacos. If you’re curious to try some cicada tacos, you can find them right here in downtown Leesburg at Cocina on Market. 

According to many people making these cicadas a part of their meals, the cicadas contain a good amount of protein and can be easily replaced with other proteins in recipes. While the idea of eating bugs may seem obscure to many people in North America, bugs are actually a delicacy in other places and cultures around the world such as China and Zimbabwe.

The cicadas aren’t here to stay outside forever. In fact, the wait for them to go back underground isn’t a long one. The cicadas also only live for four to six weeks max, meaning that we will start to see a decrease in them in late June to early July. Once that time limit comes and the cicadas go back to their home in the ground, people living on the East coast won’t see them again until 2038.

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