The great cicada awakening is upon us and, unfortunately, with it comes a light shower of cicada pee. Hate to be the one to have to tell you this, but cicadas pee a lot. Courtesy of a distressing report from the Washington Post, “When thousands of cicadas are perched overhead on tree branches, their pee falls to the ground like a gentle rain shower.” So, on one hand, cicadas are gross and will be everywhere this summer. But on the other hand, they will piss on our heads. Sometimes both hands are bad and covered in bug pee.
If it helps, cicada urine is the consistency of “watery tree sap.” Does that help? To know that someone touched cicada pee and thought, Hmm, kinda like tree goo but more liquidy? Well, the terrible news does not end there, as chances are good you’ve already been peed on by a cicada. “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, a University of Maryland entomology professor, told the Post. “Instead, now you say, ‘Is that cicada pee?’” Actually, professor, now I say, Hot Vaxx Summer is canceled until someone figures out how to put tiny diapers on all the cicadas.
Why all the pee? I’m so glad you asked. Like other animals, cicadas cool their bodies down through evaporation of moisture. “Just as humans sweat and dogs pant,” Daniel Gruner, another professor at the University of Maryland, explained to the Post. Instead, cicadas pee to stay cool.
If it’s any consolation, the Brood X cicadas making their 17-year emergence only pee “in sprinkles,” per the Post, while “other species of cicadas can make it rain.” That’s not an exaggeration. I watched this video of dozens of cicadas peeing like a barrage of tiny squirt guns and, unfortunately, now you have to, too. Let it be a disgusting reminder that it could always be much, much worse.