What has wings, sings, and only comes up from hibernation every seventeen years? They’re called cicadas and they’re coming, they’re coming! Wondering why we here at Xyza are so excited about cicadas? It’s not often that cicadas emerge from underground to find their mates and lay their eggs, so when it does happen on that seventeenth-year cycle, it’s a fascinating natural phenomenon that people rarely get to witness. This specific type of cicada can only be found in the eastern United States and while there are other species of these insects, there are only two groups that are specific to the United States and who emerge either on a seventeen- or thirteen-year cycle. Scientists predicted that the Brood X group will emerge in early May, so they’re due to come out from hibernation any day now. How do scientists know? Well, what’s interesting is that although scientists have studied and tracked the hibernation cycles of these insects, they’re still not 100 percent sure when these little critters know when to poke their heads out from under the soil. The running theory is that cicadas are intelligent little insects and keep track of the seasons by the sap that flows from the trees into the ground. What scientists do know is that when they’re about to emerge, there are finger-sized holes near the base of trees. When they do emerge, people will be treated to the male mating call. Unlike crickets, cicadas do not rub their wings together to make that buzzing sound, they have a special organ, called the tymbal, that helps them produce that choral buzzing sound that people often associate with these fascinating insects. While scientists are anxiously waiting to see the billions (yes, we said billions!) of cicadas and this amazing natural phenomenon, farmers are less than excited. Despite the fact that scientists state that cicadas don’t necessarily ruin crops, they can be a nuisance to farmers when they’re swarming and landing on trees to find the perfect place to lay their eggs. If you live in the eastern United States and you’ll be witnessing the cicadas emerge, take a picture and share it with the Xyza community! Send your picture to firstname.lastname@example.org.
May 17, 2021