Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes

Invasion of the Zombie Cicadas


Cicadas come out in the summer. It happens every year in Tennessee. They are best known by the high pitched buzz created by the male vibrating their abdomen over 120 times per second. This sound can reach 100 decibels. They make a lot of noise and start flying around looking for a mate. You can see the evidence of Cicadas since they shed their exoskeleton a couple times while growing. You will see the empty shell attached to the bark of a tree. Every thirteen or seventeen years a brood of cicadas, which have lived under the soil near a tree, will emerge and finish their life process by mating and dying. This year, the first time since 1803, the broods will co-emerge in the same year and populate in the trillions. If that is not enough, a fungus has infected the cicada, turning them into zombies.

The Massospora cicadina fungus attacks the bugs and takes over their body and behavior. The Cicada emerges from the soil with the goal of procreating, but the fungus makes them unable to achieve this objective. This fungus grows as a spore in the abdomen of a Cicada and causes them to swell up and burst releasing a white chalky substance. In the process their genitals fall off. The fungus causes them to become hyper sexualized yet unable to produce.

If that hasn’t got your attention yet, the fungus also has a hallucinatory effect on birds which eat them. Baby Copperheads congregate around trees and feed on the Cicadas because it is an easy and plentiful food supply. They haven’t figured out what the effect is on snakes yet. On top of that the Cicada holds the title of king of the animal kingdom peeing contest. The Cicada has muscle that pushes waste though a tiny hole, like a jet. The flow rate is triple that of humans and elephants, reaching ten feet per second. If you thought it was raining on a clear day, you were just getting soaked in Cicada urine.

So you have trillions of frustrated Cicadas flying and trying to mate with other Cicadas while peeing from trees, stoned birds zooming around under the influence of the zombie fungus, a whole brood of vipers growing up on hallucinatory fungal spores and a constant high pitched whine in your ears day and night. The greatest hatch of Cicadas seems to be located between northern Tennessee and southern Illinois. Even if the fungus doesn’t affect the Copperheads, a bumper crop of the serpents is anticipated for 2024 from the plentiful food source, which will increase the number of snakes hatching young next spring.

They call it Cicada-geddon and some folks complain that it is too noisy to stay outside. A chef in New York City has offered Cicada cuisine in his restaurant featuring various types if insects. An entomologist has recommended that people skip the Cicada dish until the threat of the infected bugs has gone. For the rest of the world it just looks a little like the plagues have returned.