THE YEAR OF THE CICADAS
Well, they are here. They are creepy looking. They are annoying. They are on everybody’s mind. Kind of hard not to be. I mean, even if you lived in a cave, every once in a while you would have to come out. If the sight of them doesn’t get your attention, the sound surely will. It’s a constant loud buzzing noise. The only thing that seems to stop the buzzing for a while is a good hard rain. With a lifespan of 17 years, that means that I have lived through four cycles of cicada in my lifetime. The first was around 1965 when I was a teen. This is a disgusting memory, but I remember examining parts of their little bodies on my brother’s microscope that summer. Then in 1982, they returned when my two daughters were very young. I remember a lot of screaming little girls all summer long. I can’t even remember them in 1999, so obviously they did not make a big impression. And now this year--2016. What’s nice about this time around is we have access to the Internet and are able to look up stuff about them. It’s been quite interesting. It is nice to learn that they are harmless, they don’t bite or sting. They just come out of the ground when they reach adulthood, hang around for a few weeks, make their noise, do their thing, reproduce and die. They get their nourishment from the trees and they actually urinate. (I’ll let you think about that one for a moment.) Oh…and listen, some people actually cook and eat them! Oh, gag me with a cicada! I always wondered why their little bodies seem to be attracted us. They love to dive bomb right into you, your face and your hair--which makes walking outside or riding around with your windows down in your car very unpleasant. My daughter, Shannon, told me that she read that they do that because they think we are trees. You would think with five eyes, a couple of which are quite large compared to their body size, they would be able to tell the difference between a warm moving object and a cold stationary one. Perhaps since they have very short life spans making humans flail their arms around like a propeller and do a Mexican hat dance is right at the top of their bucket list of fun things to do before they die!
I was surprised to discover that there are some places in the world that have never heard of them and even some areas of the United States that never get cicadas. The heaviest concentrations of them occur in Kentucky, Indiana and southwest Ohio, southwestern and southeastern Pennsylvania, the western tip of Maryland, northwestern Virginia and most of West Virginia. Lucky us, huh! I can attest to this fact because I was in the northeastern part of Ohio and central Ohio this past weekend and I didn’t see or hear one. When I drove back into Wheeling on Monday my car was bombarded left and right with the little creatures! The buzzing sound was so loud. Wheeling is saturated with them. So happy cicada summer everyone and don’t let them bug you too much!!!!