Brood X is about to invade the nation’s capital. Brood X is not, alas, something dreamed up by Grant Morrison (or a cheap Alien knockoff by Chris Claremont). Brood X is the largest population of periodical cicadas to hit the eastern seaboard; the cicadas are entirely harmless and vulnerable to predators, so they’ve developed a unique strategy for ensuring that they survive to make the next generation of baby periodical cicadas. They spend the vast majority of their lives underground, and when they surface en masse they do so in such quantity, often in densities of over a million per acre, that predators simply get overwhelmed. There are twelve seventeen-year broods, each locked to a different cycle, and Brood X, the tenth, is the largest, which means people will be sweeping vast quantities of discarded cicada exoskeletons off their stoops and dogs will be eating themselves sick. (Some people may eat themselves sick, too, although I doubt the comparison to soft-shelled crabs will convince the general public.) And they’ll be loud, too; Bob Dylan may have enjoyed their song when he experienced it two cycles ago in 1970, but he didn’t have to sleep with ten thousand cicadas outside his window. If the 1987 brood is anything to judge by, it will be maddening. But it’s hard to begrudge them their moment; they hide underground for years, drinking from plant roots, only to emerge upon a hidden signal when the time is right. If they were called Barbarossa bugs and were released when the nation was in danger, maybe they and their brethren would get a little respect. But then again, their name alone may do that; not dead which eternal lie, and fear for your sanity when Brood X wakes.