Every seventeen years, the Brood X cicadas emerge from underground in the billions to swarm across many Eastern states, including Virginia, of course. While many people may fear their beady red eyes or dread their loud songs, Fairfax County insect biologist Andy Lima is here to remind us of the magic of these fleeting bugs. Lima, also known as MC Bugg-Z, created a rap called “Brood X Periodical Cicada Rap (Brood X-ellence)” on YouTube which has garnered thousands of views. Lima wrote the lyrics to the rap while his fellow Fairfax County Health Department coworker, Kelton Williams, created the beat and produced the final product to be posted just as the creatures rose from the ground.
With other hit bug raps including “Zika 101” from 2016, “Tick-Check 1-2” in 2018, and “West Nile Story” in 2019, the rapper certainly does not wait every seventeen years for his time in the spotlight. Lima specifically works for the Fairfax County Health Department’s Disease Carrying Insect’s Program but wants people to know that cicadas do not carry disease like the insects of his other hit songs. He ends his rap with a posted message of: “Cicadas are harmless! These amazing wonders of nature will only grace us with their presence for about a month. Please be nice to them,” says the entomologist.
MC Bugg-Z’s cicada rap is not only catchy but provides scientific facts so the public can better understand their new neighbors for the next four to six weeks. With lines such as “my life cycle is egg / five nymphal stages / adult playin’ that super long game” learning about the cicadas is fun and catchy. Lima could not be reached for a comment, but he told Reston Now: “It’s more about the rhymes than the beats. I love to convey the knowledge about the things I love and the world I know…by putting it into hip-hop song form,” says Lima.
While some people may not be as excited about the emergence of billions of cicadas from the ground, taking a positive note about the rare occurrence from Lima can certainly help. His line: “embracin’ the spectacle cause the emergence is fleeting” is helpful to keep in mind as these rare bugs take the spotlight after living underground for seventeen years. While the song is catchy and meant to be entertaining, Lima wants people to focus on the positive of the occurrence: it’s rarity and fleeting nature.
With cooler average temperatures than normal for this time of year, some of the bugs have not yet exited their underground homes, meaning more are to come over the next few weeks. While this may be a concern to some, MC Bugg-Z wants everyone not to be afraid. Lima told the Fairfax County Health Department: “Cicadas are big and noisy, but they are harmless to humans, and actually benefit the environment,” the bug biologist says.
So take a listen to “Brood X Periodical Cicada Rap (Brood X-ellence)” on YouTube and remember: the cicadas will not be here for long.