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'They're heeerrreee': Social media reacts to the return of the 17-year cicadas

Billions of the Brood X insects are expected to make a big return to the East Coast and the Midwest within the next week.
A periodical cicada in Chevy Chase, Md., on May 17, 2021.
A periodical cicada in Chevy Chase, Md., on Monday.Mandel Ngan / AFP - Getty Images

Cicadas are back in a big way, and people have taken to social media to share their reactions to the insect invasion.

After a 17-year hibernation, billions of the winged creatures are expected to make a prominent return to the East Coast and the Midwest, with sightings already having been reported in Virginia, Maryland, Georgia and other states.

The bugs are just beginning to emerge from underground, but already the sound of their familiar alien-like mating call can be heard outdoors across several states.

Rebecca Keenan shared a video on Twitter of her 12-year-old daughter's reaction to a cicada's shedding its exoskeleton, spotted in their front yard. Children like Keenan's daughter will be experiencing the cicadas for the first time this summer.

Pablo Vidal-Ribas got a close-up of some newly above-ground cicadas in Bethesda, Maryland, and announced in a tweet, "They are here!"

"It's such a unique experience, because they really take over for a month or so," said John Cooley, an entomologist at the University of Connecticut. "There may be trillions of ants around, but most of the time you don't pay any attention to them. These are big, loud, funny-looking, charismatic and active insects, and you really can't ignore them."

Video from Fairfax, Virginia, captured one of those "big, loud, funny-looking" bugs as it shuffled around on the ground.

Similarly, another Twitter user in Maryland shared video of a cicada sighting with the warning that, in just a few weeks, there will be "tons of these guys."

To drive home that you'll have to watch your step in the coming weeks, Linda Hosler of Fort Hunt, Virginia, tweeted this video of a sidewalk littered with cicadas, adding, "They're heeerrreee."

The cicadas emerging this cycle are known as Brood X, and they will have just a few weeks to find mates and lay eggs before they die, meaning it will be a busy summer for the insects.

Regions with cicada surges should expect plenty of noise coming from the billions that will eventually make their way to the surface, but the insects are harmless, and they will be here for only a short time before they make their descent back underground for several more years.