Monday, May 20, 2024

Cicadas Everywhere

Well, it's been 17 years since the last cicada invasion, and they're back again. Actually, there are usually a few every year (maybe they've lost their way or their little cicada clocks don't work properly). The two summers before this one, there was actually a decent smattering of them, but this year is the big one. I live in the area of Brood XIX, and fortunately not in that small overlap area of my state where two broods (a 17-year and a 13-year) are emerging the same year. That would be both amazing and crazy insane, just for the noise alone.

I've been seeing their holes for weeks now. They begin digging holes early and then wait until the ground is warm enough before they emerge, but in my area, they only started showing their big red eyes during the past few days.  They're not at full strength yet, and the noise is still relatively low, but already they're making themselves known. 

With holes in my garden where I just planted dahlias:

I find them or their shells on the garden fencing, on the garage siding, on the trees, and climbing a shepherds hook.

They also seem to love clinging to and leaving their shells on the lily-of-the-valley plants along the driveway. Today I found one with those unmistakable red eyes inside one of the tomato cages.

And, of course, they're a bit noisy. In this clip, you can hear birds, but also a bit of cicada chatter. It will get noisier as more and more of them emerge.
Still, they're good food for the birds. In the past, once they really got thick, we had seagulls flying in to eat them, and I'm outside Chicago. Not exactly seagull country. 

And despite the fact that their somewhat awkward flights sometimes end up in collisions with people (my husband had one dive bomb his head and another one get down his shirt the other day), they're harmless and easy to flick away. I almost feel sorry for them. What a life, spending 17 years underground developing and then a brief (very brief) trip to the surface to (hopefully) mate. But so many of them spend all those years getting ready and then end up smashed by cars or feet or eaten by birds or animals before they even get to make it to the finish line. We end up sweeping their remains into big heaps and then they're gone again until the next time, seventeen years from now. Amazing and weird.

And noisy. Did I mention how noisy they are? I did. I'm sure I'll do it again. Because they are. Really. Noisy.

Thanks for reading. Enjoy whatever book you're into this week!



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