As if their cacophonous melody wasn’t oppressive enough, reports have surfaced of the newly emerged Brood X cicadas urinating on innocent bystanders.
“It feels like when a rain just starts, and you get a small drop or two and say, ‘Is it starting to rain?’ ” Paula Shrewsbury, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland, told the Washington Post of the revolting phenomenon.
Fellow university entomologist Daniel Gruner explains that this happens when the cyclical insects consume an excess of the “watery xylem fluid of deciduous trees” to cool down, which forces them to “pee liberally.”
This micturate monsoon will likely become increasingly common as the pee-riodical cicadas surface by the trillions in 14 US states after awakening from their 17-year hibernation.
Worst of all, these red-eyed bugs are likely whizzing on people on purpose.
“They will squirt fluids at other males, birds or people,” Dr. Gene Kritsky, the dean of behavioral and natural sciences at Cincinnati’s Mount St. Joseph University, told WLWT5 of the bizarre form of chemical warfare. “They are not urinating on you but trying to ward you away.”
It may sound disgusting, but this skunk-esque defense mechanism can prove life-saving as critters from raccoons to dogs — and even certain foodies — gobble these guys up like a terrestrial crawfish boil.
Fortunately, Shrewsbury assures us that periodical cicada pee generally amounts to little “specks of wet, and it never gets any stronger than that.”
Not only that, but the urine actually contains sugary honeydew, leading us to predict insect chefs employing this cicada nectar in a bug-based confection in the near future.
In the meantime, experts advise people to wear a hard hat or bring an umbrella when venturing into Brood X territory, the Washington Post reported.
One could recommend bringing earplugs as well, as the cicada’s siren song can reach a deafening 100 decibels — which has prompted Georgia residents to call 911 after mistaking it for an alarm.