The return of cicadas!

– National Pest Management Association

Sunday, April 21, 2013

There are certain watershed events in your life you will always remember.  The landing of the first man on the moon… Prince William’s marriage to Katherine… and of course, what you were doing when the cicadas emerged.  Okay, so perhaps the latter is not quite as significant as the first two, but if you talk to those who have lived in areas plagued by cicadas, they can absolutely, definitively tell you with alarming detail, what they were doing (and in some cases what they did not do) during the last cicada swarm!

In case you have been under a rock, or perhaps more analogous, underground for the past 17 years, you might not have heard that the Brood II periodic cicadas are re-emerging this spring after living beneath the earth’s surface for the past decade and a half.  They last emerged in the Mid-Atlantic in 2006 and they are again expected to appear from the Carolinas to Connecticut once ground temperatures eight inches below the earth’s surface hit 64 degrees. 

Periodical Cicada

With billions of cicadas arriving, the din they will create from the male’s mating calls will reach 90 decibels. For those who missed the sound lesson in science class, that compares to a jackhammer or approaching train!  If the sound’s not bad enough, their creepy touch is. These insects fly wildly in search of mate, not concerned about who or what they land on in the search for love.  Wedding planners and distraught brides will be forced to move long-anticipated outdoor nuptials indoors and those responsible for outdoor graduation ceremonies will have to resort to “plan B”.  Those who are phobic of insects in general, or cicadas in particular, are already planning on how to make their gas go further and their groceries to last longer to minimize the need to be outdoors during the height of the season.  Perhaps the only ones eagerly anticipating their return are dogs and wildlife who relish this delicacy for the added protein afforded.

The best advice I can offer in anticipation of the cicada-frenzy is to relax and enjoy.  There’s absolutely nothing you can do to prevent them and they will only be out for about six weeks in total.  Fortunately, these nuisance pests don’t cause any harm to people or property and quite frankly, they are an incredible phenomena.  I’d love to know your stories – past or present – about cicadas.  Did you have to bring a party or wedding indoors during the last cicada swarm?  Have you signed up for a grocery delivery service to minimize your outdoor exposure this year? 

Eagerly awaiting the first emergence…..

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