Tag Archives: anxiety

Here’s How to Survive Cicada Season

If cicadas make your skin crawl, you’re luckyfor about 17 years, that is. That’s how long the “Brood V, Magicicada periodical” cicada lies dormant in the ground, pretty much out of sight and mind.

But then that 17th year happens and watch out! Billions of them crawl up out of the earthto mate, swarming and singing and flying helter skelter, landing on porches, in trees, in the back seat of your car and maybein your hair. And if one bug bugs you, the hordes that are Brood V will probably throw you into a tizzy.

Unfortunately, 2016 is the year when the cicadas, of the order Hemiptera in the Cicadidae family, are supposed to show up. And it won’t be just a few. They can reach a density of 1.5 million cicadas an acre in some areas, reports the Washington Post.

And man, will they make a lot of racket. With so many insects on the loose at one time, they generate what the Post described as a “menacing hum-whistle.” Think of the normal nighttime din you’re used to from a relatively low population of crickets and other bugsand magnify it by about 1,000. You can listen to a cicada “sing” herebut keep in mind, that’s just one. When a few million of them start flexing their tumbals, the drumlike organs found in their abdomens, the noise can be overwhelming.

The good news is, these cicadas are completely harmless. They don’t chew leaves, so while they may alight en masse on branches and bushes, they won’t devour them.

They don’t actually stick around very long, either. While we’re plagued with mosquitoes and flies from early spring until the first frost, these cicadas will only last about six weeks. They emerge and mate. Then the female lays fertilized eggs on live small twigs. Six weeks later the eggs will hatch and nymphs will emerge. The nymphs then fall from the trees and burrow into the ground to a depth of between six and 18 inches. There they’ll stay for the next 17 years, feeding on the juices they find in plant roots.

Here’s another benefit: cicadas don’t sting or bite, so unless they freak you out because they’re so big and garish-looking, you have nothing to fear from them.

But…if flying, noisy insects do give you the heeby-jeebies, here are some suggestions to help you tolerate the Brood V onslaught:

Take a vacation. Brood V cicadas are mostly restricted to the eastern seaboard. This year, reports Cicadamania.com, they’ll be primarily in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia. If you live in these states, and the cicadas really freak you out, temporarily relocate, or vacation in the south, Midwest, Great Plains or Rockies if you can. If you’ve always wanted to visit California, now may be the time.

Minimize your exposure. Keep doors and windows closed, including those of your car, so the cicadas can’t fly into your space. If a cicada does get into your house, put a jar over it, use the top to push the cicada inside, then take the jar outside and dump it out. You can also keep a jar in your car in the event you need to get the bug outside. NOTE: It’s less traumatic to trap and release the insect than to kill it and clean up the mess. I know this from personal experience.

Wear earplugs to sleep. If the noise of a billion cicadas singing becomes intolerable, close your windows and wear ear plugs to bed.

Drown them out with the radio or white noise. Keep a radio playing or use a white noise app on your mobile device to help mask the cicadas’ singing.

Tackle your phobia head on. Psychology Today recommends a five-step process: read about cicadas until they become familiar; look at their pictures; get a toy cicada and keep it around you; go to an insect zoo or natural history museum where you can observe cicadas either in real life or on display; if possible, hold a live cicada. This kind of “behavior therapy” can help you overcome the anxiety you feel when you see a cicada.

One thing Cicadamania recommends you DON’T do is eat cicadaseven though millions of people in Asia and Africa regularly dine onthese creatures. The insects bioaccumulate mercury, so ingesting them could give you a concentrated dose. Plus, they’ve been down in the dirt for 17 years, where they may also have been consumingpesticides and fertilizers, warns The Atlantic. Lastly, you could choke on their body parts, which can be hard and sharp.

Far better to enjoy cicadas for what they are: a phenomenon of Nature you’ll only have the chance to witness once every 17 years, if that.

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Here’s How to Survive Cicada Season

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Studies Show: Marijuana Does Not Make You Stupid

We’ve all seen those old Public Service Announcements on the dangers of marijuana: poor decision making, laziness, stupidity general uselessness. Further stoking this ideology, stoner stereotypes in film and television show us drooling teens and college studentslaughing over nothing, stringing together incoherent lines of thought and binge eating very, uhm, interesting food choices.

However, not one but two new studies have furthersmokedthe notion that smoking pot makes you dumb. One Journal of Psychopharmacology study focused on a large group of British teenagerswhile the other, perhaps more interesting, focused on the cognitive function in sets of identical twins one using marijuana, and one drug-free. Twin studies tend to be more reliable as they focus on subjects with identical genetic makeup, offering up more conclusive results.

While methods differed, results in both studies were the same: Marijuana use has no impact on overall levels of intelligence.

While marijuana fans can use these findings as an excuse for a celebratory toke, it’s important to note that this has been an ongoing discussion, and that these findings are not ground-breaking.

A study published in 2011 led by Robert Tait at the Australian National Universitylooked at the long-term cognitive effects of marijuana use in 2,000 subjects between the ages of 20 and 24. The scientists followed participants for 8 years, at the end of which they concluded weed consumption had no concrete measurable impact on cognitive performance.

A similar 2014 University College of London study showed that marijuana use does not impact your IQ. However, while the London study showed no ill impact on overall smarts, it concluded that marijuana use can affect your ability to actively learn; Scientists in that study found a 3 percent drop in test scores on school exams taken at the age of 16 among the test group. (Interestingly enough, the study also noted that alcohol usenot marijuanawill indeed impact your overall levels of intelligence.) However, way back in 2001 Harvard researchersnoted that learning impairments among marijuana users diminish within 28 days of smoking cessation.

So if it doesn’t make you dumb, what does it do? Aside from medical treatment for ailmentslike glaucoma, epilepsy, anxiety and more,the plant has been shown to improve creativity, relieve stress and promote alternative ways of thinking you can thank weed for that aha! moment.

It’s important to note that weed isn’t merely for teenaged stoners. The age range of cannabis users is as vast as the reason they use, and the country-wide consumption of the plant impacts everything from politicsto the housing industry.

While you don’t necessarily need to smoke the plant to feel its benefits (apparently you can juice it, too), news of cannabis’ non-effect on intelligence has many fans lighting up.

Should Medical Marijuana Be Legalized For Pets?
10 Health Benefits of Marijuana
Masturbation: The Sexy Meditation Alternative

Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of Care2, Inc., its employees or advertisers.

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Studies Show: Marijuana Does Not Make You Stupid

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13 Surprising Uses for Honey


13 Surprising Uses for Honey

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