The recent emergence of the cicada swarm has got everyone with even a mild case of entomophobia in a panicked fuss. The thought of the thousands of these buzzing, red eyed creatures crawling all over our towns seems to have stirred up creepy crawlies in the skins of millions and has made us dread the day we step out of our front door only to be greeted with the discordant crunch of cicada bodies strewn about everywhere. This new found hysteria alone has given birth to numerous cicada fearing website such as cicadaphobia.com, and is causing many employees to ask if they can work from home as they barricade themselves indoors until the swarm is over. Between the fear and annoyance with our 17 year old visitors, people have large lists of complaints about Brood II which is causing a droning among us humans that is about as incessant and annoying as the cicadas’.
I think this is all ridiculousness, mostly because I’m going to have to hear the same old gripe over and over again for weeks, but more so because I think everyone is being a bit too over dramatic about this whole situation. Cicadas aren’t really as bad as everyone is making them out to be, I actually find them to be kind of adorable in their own way. I’m sure the second I suggested that these six legged, crunchy critters could be any way cute it invoked a gag reflex in most reading, but hear me out before you reach for the insect spray. I insist this horrifying experience can be turned into a positive one with a little attitude change. It may save you from some mental strain as well as your wallet from the impending cicada themed horror flicks.
REASON 1: THEIR DEMEANOR IS ADORABLE
Cicadas have a certain charm about them which begins from the moment they emerge from the ground, the first stage of their life in which they are gathering their senses. Most would just bluntly categorize them as stupid, but it’s this innocent lack of experience which makes them comparable in demeanor to our own young which we instinctively fawn over. Cicadas that have matured more will even cry out like a scared child when you try to pick them up. As they crawl about mindlessly, flutter about clumsily and squirm about after falling flat on their back from a leaf, you can’t help but feel sympathetic and slightly amused by them. Cicadas can be very clumsy and silly, which is what I think makes them adorable. Even their big red eyes with those tiny little off center pupils give off the air of a slightly dim witted charm.
REASON 2: THEY AREN’T AS SCARY AS YOU THINK
Most people fear insects for the fact they think they may catch a disease or be harmed by the insect in any way. Even the “they’re gross” reason for fearing insects has links in human’s natural instinct to be wary of potentially disease carrying creatures. With some specific insects this is a valid response, but to cicadas it is completely unnecessary. With their as per mentioned dim witted nature, they don’t have much of a mind to harm people. If you let one onto your hand, all it will do it mindlessly crawl up your arm thinking its a tree. No stingers, no poison, no grime, slime or fangs. Maybe they’ll tickle a bit, but that’s because they have a grip that is made to get them up bark. Cicadas are so safe, in fact, you can eat them. According to an article about eating cicadas written by Vince Lattanzio, they taste like shrimp. If people not only have handled them, but have eaten them without problem, you can rest assured that being near them won’t kill you.
REASON 3: THE DRONING IS SOOTHING TO LISTEN TO
People in midst of the cicada swarm are also monitoring the sounds they hear outside with intent paranoia. This is the complaint I understand the least. Yes, sure, thousands of buzzing cicadas might be annoying if they come out of nowhere, but since the noise will be gradually building and heard only in the background, you should be so used to it that you won’t think twice about it. The robotic hum of cicadas buzzing is only another track to add to the list of summertime sounds. Between all of the background noise we encounter on a daily basis, between aircraft going overhead, trucks and cars barrelling down the street, kids screeching, dogs barking, wind blowing, birds tweeting, bees buzzing, music playing, various party going and so forth, we already have so much noise going on in the background that any noise the cicadas make shouldn’t be so much of an inconvenience to us that we fail to perform our daily activities. Yes, it’s not a common sound for us to hear, but the more we get our pants in a bunch about it, the more we will notice it and be negatively affected by it. That’s also granted that you still have a negative mindset regarding cicadas. If you feel as positively about them as some people do, noticing the sound of them buzzing as you walk through the park will be a refreshing reminder of how much you love nature.
REASON 4: JUST DEAL WITH IT
As far as the dead bodies and empty shells all over the place, think of them as remnants of the memories you had this summer with your cute and cuddly little friends. When you think about it, they are about as disgusting and offensive as the dead leaves that cover your yard come fall. You’re going to have to either clean them up or let them rot on your property. For most humans who are naturally opposed to the idea of rotting, suck it up, bring out the scooper, put them in a bag, and appreciate the beauty of nature’s cycles. For the more creative folk, you can even preserve the empty shells and create a lovely work of art that serves as memorabilia to how you got over your fear of cicadas. Easier than trying to tiptoe around them every few feet or stepping on them so many times they become ingrained into your front porch.
Considering that there are multiple broods of cicadas which come every few years, even a larger than usual run in with a brood of cicadas shouldn’t be causing so much distress among us. Most of us have heard or seen cicadas at least at some other point in our life, yet here we still stand. This whole problem is more of a matter of how society likes to portray such events, and how we like to drag each other into the fad of fearing and hating on cicadas. So, while all others may believe the apocalypse has come in the form of the sun being blotted out by a cloud of cicadas, the smart shall survive with knowledge that the only thing that will harm them is overexerting yourself having a mental breakdown about some harmless bugs.