Monday, May 14, 2007

Singing Males Annoy Me

It's about that time...........

Well, 8 days actually..........

Until the emergence of the dreaded singing bug-eyed love bug-the 17 year old Cicada.

A cicada emergence is something to behold. The trees around your Midwestern home will soon be littered with shells of these pesky cicadas. The ground will be covered with tiny holes from which they left their terrestrial homes and began an arboreal existence. At night, as you lay peacefully in your beds, try not to think about what's going on outside. As these lovely creatures will begin their journey, coming out of the ground in droves.
If you listen closely you may be able to hear them cracking out of their shells, as they emerge as white, ghostly aliens, and slowly morph into eerie black creatures, some with demon red eyes. They'll crawl up any upright object, including your legs, to molt into adulthood.
They may lose their footing from the trees, and begin pummeling you like dive-bombers as you walk to catch your train early in the morning. The air will be filled with an ominous humming which most likely will be heard for miles around.

"The emergence of periodical cicadas or 17-year locusts of the genus Magicicada has been observed in the eastern woodland areas of the United States since 1633 or 1634 when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony first encountered them. At this early date the cicadas came out of the ground in the spring and made the woods ring with their 'singing', according to Moreton. The colonists had never seen such insects but the Amer-indians had, and predicted that pestilent fever would follow. The cicadas 'sang', mated, laid their eggs, and died, and as the hot summer wore on the fevers came, killing many of the colonists and Indians alike. In the autumn the pestilence abated, but it reappeared the following year. The Pilgrim 'flies' or 'locusts', however, were not seen again until 1651. They have since appeared as if regulated by clockworks every 17 years down to the last recorded emergence in 1974. Fortunately, the last correlation with pestilent fevers has not proven constant."
(Frank Young and Gene Kritsky, 1987Indiana Academy of Science)

Did you know, that no other insect in North America excite as much curiosity and wonder as do the periodical cicadas when they make their sudden appearance every 13 or 17 years? These cicadas are widely distributed in the United States east of the Rocky Mountains, but occur nowhere else on earth.

After years of living in underground tunnels, thousands of these skin crawling cicadas emerge from the earth, as if by a predetermined signal, shed their nymphal skins, and spread out through the nearby trees and bushes.

Up to 40,000 can emerge from a under a single tree!
From morning till night the males fill the air with their loud, droning song.
The males- the only ones doing the singing -as they prepare to mate with many of the rather silent female cicada's.

A bit of interesting facts on these buggers are that these cicadas spend 13 or 17 years buried 18 to 24 inches deep in the soil feeding on sap from tree roots. They dig their way out of the soil during late May and June and climb up tree trunks to molt into adults. The adult insect is about 1.5 inches long with a black body, red legs, and red eyes. They have piercing and sucking mouth parts and will feed on a variety of woody vegetation. Each adult may live five or six weeks. They will mate and the female will pump her egg into slits of small twigs and shrubs, using her sickle-like ovipositor. The eggs will hatch after six to seven weeks and the newly hatched nymphs (about the size of an ant) fall to the ground and burrow until they find a suitable tree root, where they settle down to feed and wait for another 13-17 years.

Thankfully it's only every 13-17 years that I have to face hearing the constant sound of singing males getting their freak on.
Every 13-17 years that the nightmares will re-surface from the subconscious of Bigdogg. Of him walking to the train station every morning, getting covered by the swarms of 40,000 cicada's.

I think this would be a good time to take our vacation to Greece.

Welcome to Crustybeef~
The sound of stepping on those shells that will be littering our yard makes me want to vomit in my mouth.

1 comment:

singlewithcats said...

ewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww, I'm glad I live out west where all these damn fires are right now.