Just Buggin

Has It Been 17 Years Already?


Cicadas To Invade Tri-State Area

After a 17-year slumber, cicadas will be making their unwelcome debut throughout the Tri-State Area in about a month.

Experts said the cicadas will not be out until mid to late May.  ...  scientists said the spring and summer will bring record numbers of the noisy insect.

“In places where they’re going to be present, it’s going to be spectacular. There could be as many as one billion cicadas emerging per square mile,” Michael Raupp, a professor of Entomology at the University of Maryland, told 1010 WINS. “This is really a spectacular opportunity for children, for adults, for students to go out and learn about one of Mother Nature’s rarest, most interesting events.”

That’s one way to look at it. Another way is ... egad, great giant bugs all over everything, making a bloody great racket. The upside is that we’ll soon thereafter have some very well fed birds, racoons, and even fish. Cicadas make great bass bait, and can even be nearly self casting if you set them up right.

After the cicadas have counted 17 years—"we really don’t know how they count the years,” Kritsky said—they are ready to emerge, which usually happens in late spring when the soil reaches a temperature of about 64 Fahrenheit (18 Celsius).

When twilight of their emergence day hits, the one-inch-long (2.5-centimeter-long) nymphs crawl out of their holes and up just about anything vertical—trees, barbecues, walls, tombstones.

Firmly latched onto the surface of their choice, the nymphs begin their overnight transformation into adults: youthful skin breaks open, milky-white cicada emerges, wings flush out, and the body darkens as its outer shell hardens.

This emergence also marks the beginning of a huge feast. “It’s well known that pretty much everything starts chowing down on cicadas,” Clay said. Dogs, cats, birds, squirrels, deer, raccoons, mice, ants, wasps, and, yes, humans make a meal of the insects.

According to Kritsky, the best time to eat a cicada is just after they break open their youthful skin. “When you eat them when they’re soft and mushy, when they come out of their skin, they taste like cold, canned asparagus,” he said.

Some scientists believe the mass emergence of the cicadas is part of a survival strategy. With so many of them, they collectively satiate their predators within a few days. Then the billions left uneaten are free to mate.

A bit of quick research shows that we’re actually going to get off easy here in the east; this group of bugs is known as Brood II, which is much smaller than Brood X which won’t come up until 2021. Oh, lucky us!

Magicicada is a genus of periodical cicadas known for emerging in massive numbers in 17 or 13 year cycles/periods. The cicadas emerging in 2013 have 17 year life-cycles. Magicicada are also organized into broods. There are 12 broods of 17 year cicadas, and the brood emerging in 2013 is Brood II (Brood Two).

There are 3 species of 17-year Magicicada: M. septendecim (aka “decims”), M. cassini, and M. septendecula. The adults of all three species have black bodies with orange markings, and almost all have red-orange eyes (some have white or multi-colored eyes.

So there you have it. We get some of the bugs every year, from different broods. This just happens to be one of the larger ones. And folks all over are gathering their ingredients, getting ready for the big feast. Yeah right.

Posted by Drew458    United States   on 04/05/2013 at 10:52 AM   
  1. Well at least they didn’t say the taste like chicken.
    show_tits  angel  angel  angel

    Posted by Rich K    United States   04/05/2013  at  12:41 PM  
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