Every 17 Years…

Have you ever heard of the 17-year cicada? These terrifying, ugly looking bugs (in my opinion, of course) are large, brown, and have orange-veined wings. (1) The tell-tale sign that you have cicadas is their loud, annoying sound. There are three kinds of cicadas: perennial, 13-year, or 17-year (1). As I was doing my research for this post, I noticed that in almost every single article I read, the author kept saying that the entomologists have no explanation for cicadas always coming out at their destined time. (1) The 13-year cicadas come out every 13 years, while the 17-year cicadas come out every 17 years. And they don’t ever miss a year, either! The good thing about this is that we can predict when they will come out. While the entomologists keep looking for an answer, the Bible tells us exactly why it happens on a set schedule:

“To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven:”

-Ecclesiastes 3:1

This verse tells us that there is a season and a time for everything. God installed an alarm clock of sorts in these bugs (and it’s set to go off every 13 to 17 years, depending on the kind of cicada). Just look at how the life cycle of these annoying bugs is designed. There’s no way it could happen by accident! There’s a time for everything – including these bugs that come out once every several years.

This year, in some places in the U.S., the 17-year cicadas are starting to emerge, due to their internal “clock”, which tells them it’s been way too long since we saw them last (2). After mating, female cicadas use their blade-like “ovipositor to make elongated openings in new growth sections of tree branches.” (1) She usually lays 20-30 eggs in each opening, and on average, lays a total of 400-600 eggs during her time above ground! (1)

Because of all the eggs that they lay in small twigs, chaos can ensue. While this doesn’t do much damage to larger, mature trees, it can certainly “stunt the growth of young trees and vines, or even kill them.” (3) This is not good news for the farmers who make their living off of growing food, or anyone else for that matter. As new plants are trying to grow, they’re being hurt by the cicada’s egg-laying habits. 

Here’s the thing that baffles me. We knew that they were coming, right? If they come every 17 years, then we can go ahead and mark on our calendar that 2020 is the year when they’ll be showing up (likewise, they’ll be back in 2037). So, if we knew they were coming, why were some state governments having farmers destroying/plowing under crops during the beginning of the coronavirus? (4, 5, 6) Now, any new food that is being grown (like any kind of fruit tree and vined fruits and vegetables) may likely have a very hard time protecting themselves from the 17-year cicadas. Of all years for the 17-year cicadas to come back…

But that’s okay because God has set a time for everything (including the Wuhan virus, civil unrest, and cicadas). This too shall pass. Remember Romans 8:28:

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

-Romans 8:28

If you are not 100% sure that you’ll go to Heaven when you die, now is the time to repent and put your trust in Christ Jesus. If you have any questions or doubts about your salvation, click here to learn how you can be saved!


  1. Stevens, Jane. “What’s the Difference Between The 13-Year and 17-Year Cicada?”. Scientific American. July 6, 1998. https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/whats-the-difference-betw/ (accessed June 18, 2020)
  2. Slotkin, Jason. “They’re Back: Millions of Cicadas Expected To Emerge This Year.” NPR. May 23, 2020. https://www.npr.org/2020/05/23/861582233/theyre-back-millions-of-cicadas-expected-to-emerge-this-year#:~:text=In%20parts%20of%20Virginia%2C%20West%20Virginia%20and%20North%20Carolina%2C%20cicadas,dubbed%20this%20grouping%20brood%20IX.&text=As%20summer%20nears%2C%202020%20has%20another%20trick%20up%20its%20sleeve.&text=As%20many%20as%201.5%20million%20cicadas%20could%20emerge%20per%20acre (accessed June 18, 2020)
  3. Cramer, Maria. “After 17 Years Underground, Cicadas Stage a 2020 Southern Invasion.” The New York Times. May 24, 2020. https://www.nytimes.com/2020/05/24/us/17-year-cicadas-virginia.html (accessed June 18, 2020)
  4. Jeffrey, Adam & Newburger, Emma. “Wasted milk, euthanized livestock: Photos show how coronavirus has devastated US agriculture.” CNBC. May 2, 2020. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/05/02/coronavirus-devastates-agriculture-dumped-milk-euthanized-livestock.html (accessed June 18, 2020)
  5. Kesling, Ben. “Coronavirus forces farmers to destroy their crops.” FOX Business. April 27, 2020. https://www.foxbusiness.com/industrials/coronavirus-forces-farmers-to-destroy-their-crops (accessed June 18, 2020)
  6. CST Editorial Board. “When farmers plow under crops in a nation of bounty, the tragedy of COVID-19 becomes all the more vivid.” Chicago Sun Times. April 15, 2020. https://chicago.suntimes.com/2020/4/15/21222121/coronavirus-food-supply-covid-19-pork-vegetables-grocery-stores-milk-eggs-chickens-restaurants (accessed June 18, 2020)

Cicada photo taken from (2) because there ain’t no way I’d get that close to take a picture (and I certainly wouldn’t touch it)!

Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, King James Version.

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