The Weird Way CICADAS Can Become Zombies

Parts of the US midwest is getting ready for Cicada-apocalypse 2024!

Cicadas are getting ready to take over parts of the United States… 

A once-in-a-lifetime double brood emergence across the Midwest and a good chunk of the country means they are likely going to be sweeping dead cicadas off of our sidewalks this summer.


Cicadas defend themselves by squirting pee at what they perceive as enemies, which can often include humans.


Cicadas Can Become “The Walking Dead”. That cicadas are prone to a “sexually transmitted zombie disease”.

This fungus is absolutely bonkers. It makes birds hallucinate if they eat it. Basically, the way it works in cicadas is this: the white fungus takes over the male, rips off their gonads, and forms chalky spores in its place that spread to other cicadas. They’re sterilized but not killed.


Scientific American says that the fungus infects Brood X, which is one of the broods emerging this spring. When a female is infected, she too loses her reproductive parts and the male that infected her takes those with him.

Once infected, the cicadas don’t care about eating, sleeping, or any other normal functions. They are only focused on spreading the fungus, which is called Massospora cicadina. 

One chemical in the STD fungus is the same one that’s in hallucinogenic mushrooms.

While not every cicada we see this spring and summer will be walking around on a months-long trip, it’s a good bet that we could hear one that is lowkey listening to Grateful Dead.