Thursday, May 5, 2011
The Woods Will Be A-Buzz'n
Guess what's coming back this year, thirteen years since we last visited? Yes, cicadas. The big, ugly, thunderously noisy clumsy flying insects that will hang from your deck rails and shed their exoskeletons all over the place. And it really, truly, looks like this: (scroll down)
They start their "singing" early and go until dark. It lasts a couple of months. The last time, in 1998, it was so loud that you couldn't hear each other speak. The sound, en mass, is similar to a science fiction spaceship sound. I've never heard anything else exactly like it.
They are about 1 1/2 inches long and can't fly well, worse than June bugs. Their eggs are deposited inside tree branches. After they hatch they move underground and become grub like for the next periodic cycle, some being 13 and others being 17 years. When they come back, they crawl out of the ground and attach themselves to the trees. Since they have an exoskeleton, they have to molt, all in one piece.
While my kids thought they were gross the dogs believed God was tossing puppy treats from heaven. We didn't have to buy much dog food that year. I hear some people cook them up for a meal. For now, I'll pass.
So . . . What do you think? Do you get cicadas?
University of MO Extension Periodical Cicadas link