Return of the Cicadas

Even if someone has not seen a cicada up close and personal, its call is familiar to most Indiana residents during the summer months.  In large numbers, the colloquially named “dog-day” cicadas can reach a loud volume, However, dog day cicadas typically do not reach the volumes produced by periodic cicadas which in May 2011 was measured at 85-88 decibels in Nashville, TN, equivalent to the sound produced by a subway or a revving motorcycle
Unlike dog-day cicadas, periodical cicadas within a contiguous geographical area emerge every 13 or 17 years. Periodical cicadas are much darker in color and appear in late Spring instead of Summer.  Furthermore, periodical cicadas sport bright red eyes which many people find to be eerie and unnerving.    Unlike dog-day cicadas, periodical cicadas spend years in their immature form living underground and feeding on tree roots.  The large numbers that eventually emerge can cause an ear-splitting racket in their quest to call for and woo a mate.

The cast skin of a larval Dog Day Cicada

Although Periodic cicadas may be annoying for some bystanders, they pose no real threat to humans.  Their potential damage is limited to young trees that cannot withstand the damage caused by the cicadas’ egg-laying.  The best recommendation for those bothered by these cicadas is simply to wait until they stop flying, a period of about six weeks.  After all, they only come around less than once a decade. This year, Brood I, AKA the “Blue Ridge Brood” will be emerging in Virginia and West Virginia.

This entry was posted in by whitames, Environment. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Return of the Cicadas

  1. Scheky says:

    What is the small insect on the cicada’s wing?

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