Procrastination Destination du Jour: Magicicada Brood II — The Locusts are Coming!

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Yaaaaaaawn. Just another boring day in Middletown, Connecticut. Parents pull their cars up to WestCo, packing up mini-fridges and bedding as frosh frantically try to hide their drug paraphernalia. A chalked message is half washed away; only the word “bourgeois” is still legible. Red solo cups litter the sidewalk like insect corpses. But…  suddenly…  a noise breaks the silence on Andrus Field. bzzz. It grows louder. BZZZ. And that’s when… Brood II arrives.

What is Brood II, you ask? Brood II is the 17-year periodical magicicada clutch that will emerge this spring. Every 17 years, once the soil temperature at eight inches deep hits 64 degrees, the cicadas that have been gestating underground crawl to earth’s surface to reproduce. And then they die. And there are a lot of them. Billions of cicadas!

Nobody is exactly sure when this extremely disgusting and thrilling plague will hit — experts are estimating late May to early June in the Middletown area. With any luck, Brood II will seek fresh air in the days leading up to Reunion & Commencement (May 26th).

Check out all of these cool Brood II related links and prepare yourself to bow to our beady-eyed, ultra-horny insect overlords:

  • If you can’t beat them, eat them! Here are two links with all sorts of cicada recipes. Remember, Weshop won’t be open over Senior Week, so you’ll surely be happy for these “shrimp of the land” by the time they come out.
  • Track the cicadas! WNYC and Radiolab have a great website that helps you build a thermometer to track the ground temperature and report bug sitings. Check it out to keep on top of cicada sitings and maybe even contribute your own reporting!
  • Read the Onion’s hilarious articles about the cicadas: 17-Year Cicada Horrified to Learn about 9/11 and Billions of Cicadas Begin Swarming East Coast.
  • Check out these comic twitter accounts about Brood II: Brood II, Brood II Cicadas and Cicada Mania.
  • The cicada-enthusiast website Cicada Mania is a great resource for basic information about periodical magicicadas, the different broods, what to expect, where to expect them, and how to deal with them. Check out this map with red signifying confirmed sightings of Brood II since 1979.

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  • The Middletown Patch is also covering the oncoming plague, including an article quoting Wesleyan’s own professor of biology Michael Singer. The patch also covered pet safety during the swarm.

Wes students have already started chirping about the cicadas on the interwebs: allydanbroodii


Does anyone remember Brood II’s last visit in 1996? Were you underclassmen even alive in 1996? Leave us a comment!

(This post was a joint venture with Ally Bernstein ’13.)