Cicadas

These insects don’t do much besides providing nutrition for other animals and because they are so defenseless to their predators, they are considered manna from heaven.  Their sheer numbers help them to survive as a species, as eventually everything gets tired of eating them.  Thus, no matter how many cicadas get eaten, there will still be millions left to reproduce.  Some cicadas appear each summer, and then there are the ‘periodical cicadas’ which emerge on a regular schedule every 13 or 17 years, depending on the species.  Male cicadas make a hypnotic buzzing sound, which is their love song used to attract females for mating.  Cicadas can be annoying to some people, but this is one of the most amazing phenomena that occurs on our planet and it doesn’t last long, so people should enjoy it while they can.

Periodical cicadas spend almost their whole lives being only a foot or two underground, living on sap from tree roots.  When the mature cicada nymphs emerge, they mate and then die, and their newly hatched offspring drop to the ground and burrow in for the next 13 or 17 years.  The periodical cicadas emerge nearly simultaneously in great densities numbered in the trillions to spend a few weeks of life in the open air where they molt, buzzing males call for a mate to copulate with and after they have mated diligent females will deposit their fertilized eggs in nests.  The periodical cicadas begin life above ground as nymphs once they hatch.  These rice-grain sized nymphs immediately fall to the ground, where they burrow their way into what will be their home for the foreseeable future.  The years that follow are spent feeding on the juices of plant roots and slowly maturing in preparation for the upcoming emergence.

Evidence suggests that they don’t feel pain the way other creatures do, so if you are brave enough to try and eat these critters, you can celebrate a victory for being able to do something that makes others cringe, while you are enjoying a feast on these bugs.  There are plenty of cicada recipes that you can try like dry roasted or air fried, but I think the best way is to prepare them to be crispy and crunchy, but you may have to eat them with your eyes closed, otherwise you may have trouble swallowing them.

Groups of cicadas that share the same emergence years are known as broods.  This spring, bugs belonging to one of the biggest broods of 17-year cicadas, called Brood X or the Great Eastern Brood, are making their appearance.  So, love is in the air this spring in the eastern United States, where billions of cicadas are appearing in the biggest emergence event since 2004.  The Brood X cicadas will stretch from Tennessee to New York.  Bob Dylan was given an honorary degree by Princeton University in 1970, which was a year that the Brood X cicadas emerged.  He was moved by the experience to write the song ‘Day of the Locusts’, which was included on his eleventh studio album New Morning.

Written for FOWC with Fandango – Diligent, for June Monthly prompts – Crispy and crunchy and for Word of the Day – Victory.

19 thoughts on “Cicadas

    1. Thanks Linda. I wrote two posts on music and then this one on cicadas. After this I switched to blood pressure and I just finished my post of bra sizing. Cicadas are some cute little buggers.

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  1. When I was a kid we used to call them the 17-year locusts and I enjoyed chasing and catching them and peeling their shells (or whatever they were) from the trees and shrubs.

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