It's a bird, it's a plane, nope, it's just Brood X cicadas Coming to America by trillions to swarm their airspace and create a nuisance again. At the heels of barely coming out of the last Brood IX Cicadas infestation in 2020 that was localized to parts of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina, Americans will be swarmed by another infestation of Cicadas - Brood X - which emerges every 17 years. Cicadas are insects that emerge as adults after spending years developing underground.

There are theories buzzing around that there are 17 different generations of 17-year cicada.  Each generation is linked to a different geographic zone and they come out in different years. Naturally, people are curious and/or worried about the sudden emergence of these insects this month. In this article, we'll try to answer all your questions assuage your fears regarding the insect that is relatively harmless.

Are Cicadas Dangerous?

That's an emphatic no. Cicadas merely crawl out of their holes,  they quickly move to trees and usually, in 90 minutes they shed their outer shell, and then turn a dark colour. A new shell will form in about four or five days. So mostly the only thing you should be worried about is cleaning out the discarded dried shells from your driveway.

How many Cicadas are coming? 

Last year, it was estimated to be about a trillion and scientists predict this year will be no different.

Where are they coming?

Historically (2004, 1987)  the Brood X has appeared as far west as Missouri, as far south as Georgia, as far north as Michigan and as far east as Long Island, New York. Michael Raupp, an insect expert who teaches at the University of Maryland said this year cicadas will likely appear in parts of New Jersey. However if you've had an infestation in your town 17 years ago, it is more than likely that you'll have it again.

Do Cicadas bite people or animals? 

Experts say that they don't. As we said, it's a relatively harmless species. They are not poisonous or toxic. However, they might try to suck on your skin. This is because they like to suck fluids from woody shrubs and trees and they might take you for a tree.  Mostly because they're stupid like wasps (who keep flying into the open flame) If that happens just remove it and you should be good.

What are Cicadas good for?

Do they serve any purpose other than buzzing the living hell out of people? Why, yes they do! Cicadas aerate the soil and once they die, they become an important source of nitrogen for growing trees.

Are Locusts and Ciacada the same? 

No, they are not. But it is quite common for people to think they are with all the buzzing and swarming around your place. However, Locusts are mere like grasshoppers while Cicadas are akin to Crickets. Locusts in a swarm feed on agricultural crops and can be quite bad for farming. While Cicadas just stay above the ground and feed on woody shrubs.

We hope we've answered all your burning questions about the Brood X Cicadas said to swarm your neighbourhood in a week. Lest you thought these were the end of times, the answer is they're definitely not.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on May 11, 2021 12:16 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website