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How local businesses are celebrating the arrival of the Brood X cicadas

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Posted at 4:20 AM, May 12, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-12 12:14:42-04

They’re back!

After living underground for the past 17 years, the Brood X (10) cicadas are re-emerging in May so they can reproduce.

And while most of us who remember their last appearance in 2004 would rather not go through this again, others are really embracing the arrival (invasion?) of the Brood X cicadas.

“This is their year so we thought, why not celebrate their existence?” said Hal Martin, the founder of Cicada Nation 2021.

Martin, who is a self-proclaimed super fan of the the cicadas, started the online merchandise site, which sells t-shirts, coffee mugs, even face masks to mark the 17-year-emergence of the Brood X cicadas.

“I think its been a tough year for everybody emotionally, financially, and health-wise so anything that anybody can do to put a smile on their face I think is good,” he said. “And if you can’t smile at these little bugs, what can you smile about?”

PHOTO GALLERY: Cicada-centric products sold at local stores

Tiersa Sullivan, the office manager at Open Works in Baltimore, also agrees with Martin’s sentiment, even if she doesn’t share his enthusiasm about seeing the cicadas return.

“Its been a heck of a year in general so find a little joy somewhere where we can find it!” she said.

Open Works is selling 3D cicada puzzles for $10. The pieces come on a thin, flat piece of wood that is laser-cut. Customers can decorate them, punch out the pieces and display them like artwork.

For the dessert-lovers, Sweet Cascades Chocolatier in Old Ellicott City and Savage Mill has you covered. Owner Susan Whary created Choco-cadas made out of milk or dark chocolate and are filled with rice crispy cereal (not cicadas) to give the candy some bug-like crunch.

She also has chocolate-covered strawberries that look like cicadas with dried fruit for the wings.

“The past couple of weeks its making everyone smile and laugh and giggle and say Cicada-tastic with me, so its been great,” she said.

“I know its going to be loud, and I know there’s going to be a lot of them but its a cool thing.”

Other local businesses are also getting in on the cicada craziness. The Queen’s Ink in Savage Mill is selling t-shirts with a cicada print created by owner Patti Euler.

Silver Branch Brewing in Silver Spring created an IPA called Brew’d X to pay homage to the Brood X cicadas. According to their Instagram page, they are sold out of the cans but you can try the beer in their taproom.

And if you want to mark the Brood X’s arrival in 2021 permanently, why not get a tattoo? Waverly Tattoo Co. in Baltimore's Remington neighborhood has several cicada tattoo designs. Email them at to make an appointment.