Few things make President Biden squirm. Apparently, cicadas aren’t one of them. President Biden can be seen in a widely circulated video rather nonchalantly, flicking a crawling Cicadoidea from his neck during a press interview.
The infestation of cicadas has been very loud and severe in the D.C. area. The pesky bugs infested a press airplane scheduled to follow the president through his European tour and grounded it. Just how bad has it been? Well, the giant swarm is so large that weather radars are tracking it.
Dubbed Brood X, the almost biblical emergency has also been the cause of a car crash in Cincinnati. It flew in through a window, hitting the driver in the face. Losing control, the driver crashed into a utility pole. If you want to help track these annoying bugs check out the following app.
Here’s the backstory
To understand where cicadas come from, you must go back around 17 years. After hatching from a previous lifecycle, the immature nymphs go underground. They stay there for around 13 to 17 years, feeding on roots.
When the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, usually around May, they emerge. Termed ‘periodical cicadas’ for this behavior, the giant swarms can cause massive damage. As days go on, they first pop out in southern states. And later, the emergence happens in northern Indiana, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
According to Cicada Safari, “Brood X is the largest of the 17-year cicada broods, occurring in parts of 15 states.” If you want to know exactly where the swarm is right now, Cicada Safari has also developed an app for that.
What’s the deal?
The app is available for most mobile phones using the Android operating system or Apple’s iOS. Dr. Gene Kritsky created it in partnership with the Center for IT Engagement at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati.
According to the app, people have been recording periodical cicada emergences for nearly four centuries. They were first recorded by the Pilgrims at Plymouth Colony in 1634 but were known to Native Americans centuries before.
The app is rather simple but very effective. By utilizing help from the public and other institutions, the swarm’s emergence and movements are plotted on maps. When you open the app, you will be able to see where they have been tracked.
“These maps have been critical in verifying the cicadas’ long-life cycles and the relationships of the broods to each other,” the app explains.
You can upload your own sightings and photos of Brood X. This will help researchers better understand where they are coming from and where they will emerge around 2034.
Depending on where you live, the cicadas won’t be around for much longer. University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp told Fox 5 in D.C. that they “will be gone within the next two to three weeks — certainly by the Fourth of July.”