The Cicadas are Coming
I heard the first one yesterday…
They are coming.
The 17 year cicadas are emerging.
I knew when I heard that distinctive, singular loud hum in the woods, that it was too early for the annual insect hum to be starting.
There seems to be a tipping point in summer, when the temperatures are warm enough, that the constant surrounding sound changes from bird song to insect hum. When I heard the hum on June 6, I knew something was up…
It is time for the 17 year cicada brood V. This insect occurrence only happens in eastern Ohio, Pennsylvania, northern West Virginia and Virginia, and western Maryland. The last occurrence was in 1999.
We have the annual cicadas and locusts and crickets that make up the day and night summer insect hum. This cicada spend 99% of their life underground. They feed on the sap of the roots of the deciduous forest, living as much as 2 feet underground. The 17 year cicada is the longest living insect in North America. One acre of forest can have 1.5 million cicadas.
On a warm spring night, the cicadas emerge, where the last nymph stage is shed, and the ‘singing’ begins. The males congregate in ‘chorus centers’, in the effort to attract the females. The cicadas are active for only 4-6 weeks, completing the mating and laying of eggs.
The female lays her eggs in slits that she makes in tree branches, laying about 2o eggs in each slit, for a total of about 600 eggs. In 6-10 weeks the eggs hatch, the nymphs drops to the ground and they then burrow back into the ground to spend most of their life. We will not see -or hear- them again for another 17 years.
Cicadas pose little threat to vegetation, mostly young trees are effected. Mature trees recover easily from the little feeding. They also pose no threat to humans, other than it being very scary if one should land on you. They do not sting or bite or transmit disease. But they are VERY noisy!
I can remember the last 17 year cicadas-when we would drive through a forest area where they were congregating, to me it sounded like a freight train was coming through.
Such an interesting world God has given us!
“And it shall come to pass,
that before they call,
I will answer;
and while they are yet speaking,
I will hear.”