If you’re scared of bugs, you might want to look away, dear Pandas. 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).

People are sharing photos of what it’s actually like to go outside in some states, and Bored Panda has collected just a sample of the best ones to show you just how powerful nature can be. Have a scroll down and, if you’re currently in the eastern US, we’d absolutely love to hear your own experiences with Brood X in the comments.

I wanted to learn more about cicadas, so I reached out to Michael J. Raupp, an Emeritus Professor of Entomology at the University of Maryland and a Fellow of the Entomological Society of America. In a phone interview with Bored Panda, Professor Raupp told me that 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.

Read on for the full interview with the professor and to find out how to deal with the cicada mating season if you're a tad afraid of bugs.

#1

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

PleaseBugMe Report

Night Owl
Community Member
11 months ago

At least someone had a positive experience with them and loves them

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#2

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

BethanyAdamec Report

Llewella
Community Member
11 months ago

I have cicada trouble.... Just imagining this scenario is hilarious

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#3

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Cicadas Underneath Of An Old Tarp That We Pulled Away

Sufficient-Dream4579 Report

third molar
Community Member
11 months ago

And made new tarp with design

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Professor Raupp explained to Bored Panda that these cicadas have a very strange life cycle which makes them an untrackable species, safe from most predators. The fact is that what would normally be cicada predators—squirrels, raccoons, birds, etc.—don't live as long as the bugs which stay buried underground. It's a tactic that ensures better survivability.

According to Professor Raupp from the University of Maryland, some ground-dwelling mammals may snack on the cicadas while they're below ground, however, living underground for 17 years is still far safer and relatively predator-free than staying on the surface. In fact, many other kinds of bugs live underground and it's a very common tactic to stay safe.

The professor reiterated that cicadas are harmless: they don't bite or sting. However, he noted that we still shouldn't let our dogs eat too many of the bugs while out on walks. Cicadas themselves are "tasty and nutritious" when prepared properly, but anyone with an allergy to shrimp should avoid them, as both of their exoskeletons are the same. So fair warning, fellow gourmands.

#4

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

TwinDadLifer Report

third molar
Community Member
11 months ago

Alternatively- Imagine if they are yummy!!

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#5

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

tbilb Report

third molar
Community Member
11 months ago

I think they are just tickling him

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#6

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

bradonlongwx Report

LesAnimaux
Community Member
11 months ago

WHY ARE THEY SO BIG

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I was also curious to find out how those Americans who are very much afraid of bugs should react to the current events. Professor Raupp told me that there are three main approaches that people could take. "Learn as much as possible," he told Bored Panda, highlighting the importance of educating ourselves about the natural world.

Second of all, the professor suggested that anyone who's incredibly worried and living in fear could seek professional counseling, whether that means speaking to your local clergyman, social worker, or psychologist. That way, you can work through your fears.

However, if that doesn't work, you can always take what Professor Raupp called a "cicada vacation" and get out of town for a few weeks. This doesn't necessarily mean flying to the West Coast to escape the billions and billions of cicada (unless you want to, of course!)—there are plenty of cicada-less areas nearby in the east, too. All it takes is a bit of research.

#7

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

LizCinciBiz Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
11 months ago

NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE NOPE

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#8

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Live From The Front Lines. Aka, My Backyard. Brood X Showing Up Strong In Mount Vernon.

randofreak Report

PandaPanda
Community Member
11 months ago

ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww

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#9

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

East Coast Cicadas decided to all come to my house

ms_ziggy Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
11 months ago

Oh my god if this was me i would go into isolation until they all went away

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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.

#10

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

KTKNichols Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
11 months ago

*shudder*

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#11

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

ange_le_pange Report

Night Owl
Community Member
11 months ago (edited)

Not just corona keeping families temporarily apart this year :D

#12

bforte22 Report

third molar
Community Member
11 months ago

These BP posts are trolling us with the play button!

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For instance, the Cicada Crew of the University of Maryland notes that one hypothesis for how cicadas track time is by sensing the seasonal changes in the quality or quantity of nutrients or plant hormones in the xylem sap that they use for nourishment.

Meanwhile, another theory is that they have an unknown molecular clock inside their bodies that works like a calendar. Whatever the exact reason might be, on the 17th or 13th year, cicadas emerge from the ground en masse once the soil temperatures reach around 18 degrees Celsius or 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

#13

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

ThatJohnnyKguy Report

Night Owl
Community Member
11 months ago

Get some ear plugs (so that you hear them less and that they don't get in your ears)

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#14

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

SashMoon83 Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
11 months ago

Cicadas scare the hell out of me. So creepy

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#15

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jockamo3 Report

Vicki Perizzolo
Community Member
11 months ago

cool - now light it with some strobes

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After emerging from beneath the earth, male cicadas get together in chorus centers and attract the loves of their lives. Afterward, the females lay eggs in the stems of woody plants. Unfortunately, that’s where the lovey-dovey romance ends, however. Having completed their prime directive in life, going forth and multiplying, the adult cicadas die off. However, they’ve seeded an entire new brood and the circle of life continues.

One last thing before we end things: did you know that more people eat cicadas than you'd expect? Enjoy that thought while I try and get my appetite back before lunch.

#16

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

phuffdaddy Report

Eva the Egg
Community Member
11 months ago

How can you be so calm over that cicada on your leg. I would've shrieked and ran three houses away

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#17

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

pouchedrat Report

Panda-riffic
Community Member
11 months ago

Ohhhhh YIKES! Red eyes to boot!

#18

Y'all Got Cicadas Too?

Y'all got cicadas too?

DementedCentaur Report

Mark Berry
Community Member
11 months ago

Yuck. Reminds me of PE in junior high.

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#19

Cloudy With A Chance Of A Billion #cicadas. Not #outdooreating

ilanaahh Report

Dorothy Cloud
Community Member
6 months ago

I read the hidden comment and I cannot understand why it was hidden. Not offensive in any way!

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#20

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raehenig Report

John C
Community Member
11 months ago

Brown, definitely brown.

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#21

More Cicadas

katamarilvr9000 Report

•𝕪øu𝒓 g𝒓𝕖𝒂𝕋𝕖s𝕋 𝕖n𝕖𝕞𝕪•
11 months ago

Nancy grab me the.....BROOM

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#22

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

KristineMetter Report

Vicki Perizzolo
Community Member
11 months ago

so much love for you!

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#23

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

SaladZombie Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
11 months ago

Invest in one of those beekeeper suits.

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#24

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

KatyCiola Report

Hollysmom
Community Member
11 months ago

Why are you molting?

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#25

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

aSashaJones Report

Amelia
Community Member
11 months ago

Maryland? More like Cicadaland

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#26

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

mscholesyoung Report

vicious_circle
Community Member
11 months ago

It looks like leaves if you look a it quickly

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#27

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SylviaBurwell Report

#28

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

HMcdoolittle Report

Vicki Perizzolo
Community Member
11 months ago

traffic jam ahead on pole #3

#29

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

geocruizer Report

Hollysmom
Community Member
11 months ago

Disgusting

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#30

Cicadas-Emerge-After-17-Years

ksandlin10k Report

Raven Sheridan
Community Member
11 months ago

Surrender.

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Note: this post originally had 33 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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