Friday, June 27, 2008


In 2004, my part of the country, and much of the east coast (New York to North Carolina and inland to Illinois and Michigan) was inundated by the Brood X of cicadas. These harmless insects spend most of their 17-year life cycle under ground, then emerge together to create a ruckus with their mating calls. They are loud. Some cicadas produce sounds up to 120 dB "at close range", among the loudest of all insect-produced sounds. Imagine millions of them in your trees for several weeks during the summer. It can be deafening.

Fortunately, we only have to put up with Brood X here every 17 years. Folks in Kentucky, Pennsylvania and Massachusets are currently experiencing Brook XIV:

Get up to date cicada news at Cicada Mania.

These bugs don't bite. They don't spread disease. They just make a lot of noise, make some babies, then die. Low in fat and high in protein cicadas could actually make a healthy snack! However, during their swarm they can be annoying as they fly about, then leave their carcasses to crunch underfoot. An enterprising entrepreneur in 2004 attempted to cash in on the cicada craze by "inventing" the Cicadanator:

I don't know how well he cashed in on the fad, but the website is no longer functioning.

Thanks to Hunter for the Cicadanator images!




At Friday, June 27, 2008 , Anonymous Patrick Ottenhoff said...

I was fly-fishing in central Pennsylvania a few weeks ago and it was cicada city. They were so damn loud, and worst of all, they were dropping into the creek and providing a buffet for the fish.

At Saturday, June 28, 2008 , Blogger Michael5000 said...

The thing I miss second-most about living in the Midwest is the cicadas. Number one is the storms.

At Sunday, June 29, 2008 , Blogger Cartophiliac said...

LOL! I'll bet those fish were not very hungry for your fake dancing bugs on a string...

You don't have storms in Portland? I do enjoy the sound and feel of good old fashioned "boomer" thunderstorm on a warm summer night (as long as I'm inside), but I think the midwest has had enough of the flooding...


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