Discovery’s Cicada live camera immerses you in the heart of Brood X country
Yesterday, a CNET colleague in Louisville, Kentucky, described a choir of cicadas buzzing outside his window. The most bug action I usually get here in San Francisco, on the other hand, is the bee or both that I spot outside my home office window. Yeah, I kinda feel left out over the eastern United States for the first time since 2004.
Fortunately, Discovery has launched a 24-hour live cicada camera to relieve the cicada-FOMO of those of us.but not located in Brood X country.
The cam, available on Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and the Discovery site, broadcasts from Alexandria, Virginia. Yesterday he was erected on a tree filled with pupal exoskeletons left behind by insects after they climbed from the basement, inflated their wings and started bustling with making babies. (“Come on, someone is shaking a leaf,” wrote one annoyed YouTube commentator.) The action isn’t much more exciting today, but it picks up at night, with night vision cameras there for the to catch.
Meanwhile, the noisy mating calls of the insects – punctuated occasionally by a bird call or a– create fascinating white noise.
In case you haven’t kept up with the cicadas of 2021, periodic cicadas spend most of their lives underground, living on the sap of tree roots. Then, in the spring of their 13th or 17th year, depending on the type, they dig tunnels, synchronously and in large numbers, for a brief (and extremely strong) mating frenzy between adults. It is believed that so many periodic cicadas emerge at once so that enough can escape predators and survive to mate and start the cycle over again.
Brood X, also known as Great Eastern Brood, is one of the largest broods of 17-year-old cicadas, and this year it is appearing en masse in 15 states, plus Washington, DC. The last time Brood X appeared, George W. Bush was president, the last episode of Friends had just aired and Mark Zuckerberg had launched Thefacebook, the precursor of Facebook, a few months before.
The live stream of Discovery’s Cicada will be active until Sunday, May 30 at 8 p.m. PT. After that, it’s back on Netflix for most of us. Unless you are, who’s about to head straight for the insect melee with a few entomologists for some serious close-ups of the cicadas. Stay tuned.
Emergence of the cicada Brood X in photos: what it looks like as billions of bugs appear
See all the pictures