After 17 years, they're coming back. And they'll be lonely...
"All of the East Coast cities are in the path of the cicadas."
Which is Latin for ugh, yuck, and eeuuww.
The unappealing, yet rather amazing, periodical cicadas will be ubiquitous from Virginia northward by May, as billions if not trillions emerge from the subterranean lairs where they've been sucking juicy roots for the last 17 years.
Within a couple of weeks, the cicadas molt, search for mates (the boys make all the noise, naturally), do the wild thing, and die. Their offspring then head back underground until their next date with destiny -- 2030.
Sounds like a nasty, brutish and short existence, but these big, red-eyed bugs don't bite, sting, or spread disease. They also have plenty of fans: A website called cicadamania.com includes an online store offering cicada-themed mugs and T-shirts; Missouri musicians recorded a "Cicada Summer" compilation in honor of their local brood in 2011; and some self-described "cicadamaniacs" at the University of Maryland put out a cookbook in 2004.
That booklet includes recipes for cicada stir-fry ("serve over whole-grain rice and add soy sauce to taste"), cicada dumplings, and "Maryland" cicadas. Seasoned, needless to say, with Old Bay.