March 11, 2021

Brood X: A Drug-fueled Cicada Orgy

by Science Vs

Background show artwork for Science Vs

Parts of the U.S. are about to see a surge of cicadas — masses of flying bugs, popping up all over the place. After 17 years underground, a crap ton of Brood X cicadas will emerge for a giant chorusing orgy — and it’s all for sex and drugs. So what does this cicada storm mean for us? Should we be bugging out? We speak to biologist Dr. John Cooley, ecologist Dr. Louie Yang, mycologist Dr. Matt Kasson, and evolutionary biologist Prof. Chris Simon. 

Check out the transcript right here:

  • You can help scientists map out the 2021 Brood X emergence by snapping photos of the cicadas with your smartphone! – To join in, check out the Cicada Safari app at 
  • To learn more and see if Brood X is going to pop up in your area, check out:

This episode was produced by Michelle Dang with help from me, Wendy Zukerman, as well as, Nick DelRose, Taylor White, Meryl Horn, and Rose Rimler. We’re edited by Blythe Terrell. Fact checking by Erica Akiko Howard. Mix and sound design by Bumi Hidaka. Music written by Bumi Hidaka, Haley Shaw, Peter Leonard, Marcus Bagala, Emma Munger, and Bobby Lord. A huge thanks to all the researchers we got in touch with for this episode, including Dr. DeAnna Beasley, Prof. Donald Steinkraus, and Prof. Marten Edwards. And to all folks we spoke to about their cicada experiences: Martin, Carrie Engel, Maureen Hoffmann, Ryan Hampel — and thanks to Brad Bolton for the cicada recording. And special thanks to Emmanuel Dzotsi, the Zukerman family and Joseph Lavelle Wilson.