News outlets here in the United States have been buzzing in recent weeks in preparation of the emergence of periodical cicadas in the eastern states this spring and summer. The Brood II Magicicada will be out in force in states like New York, Virginia, North Carolina, and Pennsylvania. After spending most of their lives underground, feeding on the juices of plants, these black-bodied flying insects emerge every 13 or 17 years to mate, lay eggs and die.
In 2004, I witnessed a cicada emergence first hand while I spent a summer home from college in Columbus, Ohio. Large parts of the United States (including the Buckeye State) were occupied by Brood X cicadas. At the time, I was a hopeless romantic 19-year-old who had recently moved from Chicago and was begrudgingly employed at a local ice cream shop. I can still remember eating my lunch every day in the park behind shop listening to the deafening drone of those lovesick bugs performing their ritual of reproduction.
While I dined and dreamed of imaginary girlfriends, I would guard my turkey sandwich as the carcasses of dying cicadas fell from the air. I had to admit I was quite jealous of the boisterous bugs. They have spent almost 17 years underground in anticipation of their 4-6 weeks of fun above ground.
Cicadas were everywhere. Not only did disturb my moody lunches, there were cicadas on the front page of the newspaper when I work up, cicada reports on the radio when I drove to work, and extended cicada coverage on the local T.V. news when I got home. Everywhere I turned there was a constant reminder that these incessant bugs were having the time of their life and I was stuck making Butter Pecan ice cream.
Eventually, the song of the Magicicada died away and when August rolled around, I retired for life from the ice cream business and headed back to college. As I look back on my Cicada Summer, there’s a certain sense of nostalgia I feel and I can’t help but welcome the next brood of cicadas from the soil. Who’s ready for Cicada Fever 2013!?
Find everything you need to know about periodical cicadas on this news article about this year’s Brood II emergence.
Do you have any fond or not-so-fond memories of cicadas? Share below in the comments!