As someone who has a childlike fascination with insects — tempered with a tendency to scream like Ned Flanders when they come anywhere in my vicinity — I have very mixed feelings about the 17-year cicadapocalypse that will soon be taking place. Friend or foe? In my mind, they’re like tiny, determined zombies, crawling out of their holes to fulfill their existential crisis before dying a stinky, crunchy death — but the 17 year cycle is very Sleeping Beauty, no?
Needless to say, I’m captivated by the cicada’s invasion of our collective imagination. And as far as the 24 hour news cycle is concerned, I’d much rather hear about cicadas than Kim Kardashian’s pregnancy. (Though her floral gown from the Met Gala was pretty boss.) Here are a few stories I’ve been reading.
- If cicadas are the “shrimp of the land,” then flies are “pre-plucked micro quails.”
- Bug Music: a forthcoming book on the role of insects in teaching humans about music.
- Cicadas have a hash tag: #swarmageddon
- 10 Things Cicadas Have Missed Since 1996: “Social Media; Reality TV; Tiger Woods”
- Cicada recipes. Bugs are low-carb, gluten free. ”Right now, craft cocktails are a big deal, so a cocktail with a candied cicada in it would be a good update.”
- Trade in dead cicadas, get a discount on a computer.
- Bratty Teen Cicadas Arrive, Set New Entitlement Threshold For All Species; “Early reports indicate that cicadas use iPhones to Instagram photos of tree sap before ingesting it.”
- David Rothenberg makes music with the cicadas: “The Septendecennial Sing-Along”
- An animated GIF, for yo’ pleasure.
- Help Radiolab track cicadas in your area.
- A look back at 150 years of cicada explainers in the New York Times. “Journalists had to reassure readers that the bugs were not the wrath of God, they don’t bite babies, and they don’t prophecy war.”
- Invest like a cicada.
- The cicada’s love affair with prime numbers.
- Inspired by the cicadas’ song, Bob Dylan wrote a song titled “Day of the Locusts,” which included the lyrics:
And the locusts sang, yeah, it gave me a chill
Oh the locusts sang, such a sweet melody,
Oh the locusts sang, their high whining trill
Yeah, the locusts sang, and they were singing for me