Cicadas finish life cycle, Oxford sightings end


Photo by Stella Beerman

The buzz is fading away as the Brood X cicadas near the end of their life cycle. They won’t return until 2038.

About a month ago, the Oxford Observer reported the emergence of the Brood X cicadas in Oxford for the first time in 17 years.

Throughout June, the bugs have made their presence impossible to miss. Despite being completely harmless, citizens of Oxford could hardly step outside without being bombarded by the clumsy fliers. 

For weeks residents covered young trees, swept the insect carcasses and exoskeletons from the sidewalks and nature enthusiasts enjoyed their stay. 

Until June 15, when Oxford resident Jacob Friemoth posted on the “Oxford Talk” Facebook group, “Has anyone noticed a distinct lack of cicadas?” 

The post received more than 100 comments, mostly in agreement that the bugs seemed to have disappeared, almost overnight. So, what happened to them? 

To put it simply, they are at the end of their life cycle. They emerged, mated (thanks to all the buzzing noise which are actually insectoid love calls), and then the females laid their eggs in the tree branches. For a cicada, that’s all that needs to be done in a lifetime. 

According to the National Park Service, once the eggs are laid, the adults will die and the eggs will hatch. The larvae will fall straight down, where they will make their way underground to hide from predators like ants and other insects. 

Those larvae will begin feeding on sap from the tree roots, and slowly start maturing- getting ready to do it all over again in 17 years. We should see them again in 2038.