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Raindrops or cicada pee? (Yes, that’s a thing)

A 17 year Cicada from brood X 2004 - Princeton, NJ. (Pmjacoby)
A 17 year Cicada from brood X 2004 - Princeton, NJ. (Pmjacoby) (Pmjacoby/Wiki)

ANN ARBOR – Is it raining, you ask?

Over the next few weeks, if you’re outdoors in the Ann Arbor area and hear that ear-splitting noise made by periodical Brood X cicadas, those “raindrops” might actually be insect urine.

According to Paula Shrewsbury, an entomology professor at the University of Maryland, the droplets trickle down lightly on unsuspecting targets.

“It feels like when a rain just starts, and you get a small drop or two and say, ‘Is it starting to rain?’” Shrewsbury told the Washington Post. “Instead, now you say, ‘Is that cicada pee?’ So little specks of wet, and it never gets any stronger than that.”

Read: 17-year cicadas to emerge in Michigan this spring: Everything you want to know

Perhaps worse? The red-eyed bugs are peeing on you on purpose.

Experts say the cicadas squirt fluids at other males, animals and people as a defense mechanism.

Cicada -- more like sick-ada -- sightings have been reported in Dixboro, Burns Park, Cherry Hill Nature Preserve, Pittsfield Township and more.

Why do they pee so much? They drink tree fluid to cool down on warm days, which causes them to pee excessively.

Cicada pee, like the bugs, is harmless.

Have you spotted them in your area? Submit your photos to our Cicada Photo Challenge for a chance to be featured in our newsletter.


About the Author:

Meredith has worked for WDIV since August 2017 and was voted one of Washtenaw County's best journalists in 2019 by eCurrent's readers. She covers the community of Ann Arbor and has a Master's degree in International Broadcast Journalism from City University London, UK.