Cicada Mania

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June 4, 2008

Where are they now, and what is that smell?

Filed under: Brood XIV,FAQs — Dan @ 8:52 am


Folks wondering where the cicadas are now should take a look at the ‘Where Are They Now’ page on The Mount’s Cicada Web Site or the ‘See a map of 2008 Periodical Cicada sightings’ page on You can zoom in on the maps and find public spaces (like parks) which you can visit to experience the event. You can report your sightings to these websites as well.

Also, folks are posting locations on our message board — these sightings are less precise, but interesting none the less.

What’s that smell?
The one aspect of these cicadas that most cicada sites don’t discuss is the odor that their rotting corpses produce, to paraphrase John Cooley. Cicadas can get real funky, and by funky I don’t mean Parliament Funkadelic funky, or even Red Hot Chilli Peppers funky — I mean “someone filled running sneakers with cheese and pork fried rice and left it in the trunk of their car in July” funky. Cicadas do stink, especially when their bodies pile up at the base of trees, and get soaked with rain, and then baked in the late-spring heat. They smell like a rotten pork roll, bacon and cheese sandwich to me. They really do. They’re fleshy insects — get a pile of them together, and it’s just like having a rotten pile of meat and fat in your yard.

So what can you do about the funk? Clean up before they get funky. Be proactive. Just get a shovel and dispose of them with your garbage, bury them like a Soprano, or put them in your compost pile (they are very, very mineral rich and will make great fertilizer for trees and shrubs). I don’t recommend burning them, and that might increase the stink, nor do I recommend grabbing handfuls of rotting, wet corpses and throwing them at your friends. Bad idea.

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