Cicada Mania

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May 31, 1998

Cicada Mail from May 1998

Filed under: Brood IV | Brood XIX | Mail, Comments & Social — Dan @ 8:45 am


Get a spoon and hold your nose…

Thank you for this website. It makes The unbearable din that The millions of cicadas that have decided to live in our trees just a little bit easier to bear (just a little bit). In my town of Charleston Illinois (population 20,000, give or take 10,000 students) they have chosen my street as their village, and my yard as their meeting and mating ground. The sound Is too much to bear (if a tornado siren were to sound, I do not think I could hear it over The screaming cicadas), and The smell of dying cicadas Is vile.

I wish for some element of nature to eat them, but The local birds do not seem to flock to our yard (they might even be driven away–like we would be if we could leave). Who eats these creatures once they are no longer grubs?. Has The elimination of The Midwestern swamp caused species that would be feasting now to become extinct? If you have an answer please let me know! It would at least make me feel a bit better. [Ed: There are probably too many Cicadas for The birds to deal with. Try a large, stupid dog. They love to eat cicadas.]
–Elaine F (5/28)

13 or 17

Can you tell me what year cicadas we are currently having in Northeast Missouri.? I have heard that they are The 7-year, 13-year, and The 17-year. Also, how long will they continue to emerge? They have been emerging for about 2 weeks currently. Thanks for your help. [Ed: East Missouri. = 13 Year Cicadas]
— Tammy (5/28)

Mystery Cicada

The cicada I found many years ago was 3 inches long from nose to anus , and 5 inches long from nose to wingtips. Big one Huh.
— Marc

This cicada was found in Georgia. If anyone can ID this cicada, Please email Cicada Mania.

Cicada Blanket

The cicadas made their debut as scheduled and have made their presence known, all day and into The night. Their fondness for light became apparent as they ‘blanketed’ my screen door when The porch light was turned on. The sound Is.
— Rubbie M (5/26)

Mail for Jay…

Hello Jay, I just read your question on The Cicada Mania page. If you have time, would you let me know what your find out? [Nothing] Did The cicadas, in fact, have a P on them at their previous cycle? [Don’t know yet] I just moved to Carthage almost 2 years ago knowing next to nothing about cicadas As as I sit here their whirring sound Is audible outdoors. Quite phenomenal. [Ed: We’ve been getting a lot of responses regarding The W/P question. The W/P Is based on The vein structure of The cicada’s wings. If you look long enough you’ll find just about every letter in The wings. It’s like looking for shapes in The clouds. It makes for good lore.]
— Ray M.(5/26)

17 or 13?

I thought they were on a 17 year cycle???? Around here they call them 17 year locusts!!! (Michigan) [Ed: It all depends on The brood, but for The most part, Magicicada in The south emerge in a 13 year cycle.]
— Pete (5/26)

How far will they go?

Do you have any info on how deep into The soil these larva go? We live in a newly constructed home and they are coming up everywhere, even in areas where The soil Is total fill for many feel down. [Ed: They’ll keep digging until they find a root, or they give out.]
— Pat G (5/26)

Chicken Feed

This Is awful all these cicadas all over The place. One even tried to get in my mouth! I hate them, and I wish they would go back to where they came from! Our chickens love them and so do our nephews! I think they are too loud,ugly,and good for nothing but to scare you when you are outside landing on you! We have a million so anyone who wants them we will give ’em away….we may even pay you to take them!!!(o: thank you for this web sight….(Around beautiful yet loud lake of The Ozarks)
— Susan and John B (5/26)

St. Louis

I’m in St. Louis and I’ve never seen as huge of an emergence as this. These are periodic cicadas, black with red eyes and 1-1/2 inches long. There are literally hundreds of them laying around here flying, buzzing and dying. I’m just glad Cicada Killers aren’t around to mop them up. I’d probably step on a cicada killer and get stung.
— Kelly C (5/26)

They do “own The place”.

Just for your information, it Is an adventure to get near any of my relatively young trees (new subdivision in west-central Missouri. – Sedalia to be exact) when mowing the grass or watering. The masses think they own the place and are not the least bit bashful about voicing their opinion. It is the stuff nightmares are spawned of!
— B Bryant (5/26)

Hey, Nineteen…

Encountered a couple zillion of these this weekend….southern St. Louis county through central Jefferson county. Really made felling a dead 50-foot willow in a friend’s back yard in Pevely, Mo a unique experience. Glad I haven’t encountered them in northwest St. Louis county, where I live (near Lambert airport). Sound like the right species/brood to you? Just been doing a bit of web-searching. They even made the local news tonight (KSDK channel 5 in St. Louis at 10:30pm Memorial Day). [Ed: The answer is in the title, although brood IV should emerge this year too. Species, I’m not sure of, it’s either tredecim, tredecassini or tredecula.]
— A ‘ja (5/26)

A Good Question

Please, could you direct me to a resource that would answer the following … ??

Why don’t we have periodical cicadas every year??

This is a difficult question for me to articulate in writing. I am looking for the information that explains the “initial cause” or mutation or natural selection mechanism that causes the periodicals to present in totally discrete 13/17 cycles. Another way to pose the problem is this: why don’t we have 13 year periodicals that mate in 1997 and in 1999 (and every other year aside from ’98, ’85, ’72, ’59, etc.)?

I understand the nature of the life span, I just can’t figure how they all got in synch? any help is much appreciated as this has become a hotly disputed subject between myself and my wife.

— thanks David (5/22)

Cicada Poetry

I love the cicadas. Have never seen them until I moved to TN this year. The exact right year to get to see and hear them, and I feel privileged. I’ve rescued many of the deformed ones, and some that were washed out by the summer storms. They seem to come to my door and sit on the steps when they need help! And I love the cicada cursor! So I wrote this poem for them:

Cicada’s Song
Red wings,
my crawlie things.
Amber eyes,
you clumsly flies!
Beauty behold,
your songs of old,
the songs you sing for me.
Summer cries,
and a cicada dies,
cradled in my hand.
Buried black,
but you’ll come back,
together once again,
to sing your song,
two months long,
the songs you sing for me.
I won’t forget,
your chirping tone,
for when you sing,
I’m not alone.

by LoNeLyGirL (5/22)

Kanasas City Cicadas

I’m fascinated by periodical cicadas and they just started emerging here in Kansas city This is one of the most spectacular emergences ive seen. I went out about 11:30 pm and found about 6. I went to the same tree an hour later and found at least 100 maybe more heading up the tree and covering the ground. Its going to be a loud loud summer.
— Steve K (5/22)

Desperately Seeking Cicadas

Hello, i am a resident of granville, ohio, (near columbus) and was wondering where and when the closet place to experience the cicada awakening would be. i am very interested in this, for i just read the recent backpacker with an article in it.
— thanks Dave B (5/22)

Song of the Cicada

Here’s a song to the tune of Tom Lehrer’s “Pollution”:
If you visit American city
you will find it very pretty
Just one thing of which you must beware
All the cicadas flying in the air!

Cicadas, cicadas,
you can run but you can’t hide
You can still hear them, even when you’re inside.

You might have studied the birds and the bees
They are nothing compared to these
The noise can be quite irritating
When all those little bugs are mating.

Cicadas, cicadas,
you can run but you can’t hide
If they make you crazy,
you can eat them broiled or fried.

-Karen Daniel, Nashville, Tennessee Land of the kamakazi screamers (5/22)

“Red Eyed Monsters”

“Yesterday as I was leaving our office building, one of the sweet little Cicadas flew down the back of my dress. I was fortunate enough to be walking with another woman who tried her best to remove said cicada. Unfortunately she was too squeamish to grab it and get it out! I told her not to worry, that I would “squish” it when I sat down in my car. As we parted in the parking lot, she came running back to me saying she couldn’t stand the idea of me trying to drive home with one of the “red eyed monsters” half dead on my back. She gathered all her courage, reached down the back of my dress, and grabbed that critter. With great elation, she flung the harmless cicada onto the tarmac to a sure death. I thanked her and went on my way. The smile on her face of a job well done was enough for me!”
— Jane Anne G (5/21)

“Behold, A Pale Cicada”…

“The Cicadas in Nashville, Tn. have a W on their wings. I was told that the W stands for War?!!! When they were here 13 years ago, they had a P on their wings.(P stands for Peace). Can you help us on this matter?” [If someone can help send Us an e-mail]
— Jay B (5/22)

Watch out for falling cicada larvae!

“You don’t talk much about the hatchlings. Now I know why. The outside world has turned into a sea of wigglely maggot-like Cicada babies. Our Black Chow-Chow Mixed Dog looks he has been in the garbage cans after some one hasn’t cleaned them and it’s a 110 degrees outside. They cover your feet as you walk, and you need to brush your hair out, so no one will think you have lice. Up until now, I had been kind of enchanted with the whole thing. How long does this stage last?” [Ed.: It should last as long as the adults have been laying eggs.]
— Trudy (5/21)

New: Gerber Cicada Pudding!

“Everyone will probably think I’m loony, but I have a question…when will these cicada’s stop shedding their skins? When will they go back where they came from? They have taken over a large tree at our house, and my 18 month old son is quite intrigued by them (he keeps wanting to eat them). So it’s a big hassle to keep him away from them. Also, are they toxic or anything? What happens if he gets a hold of one? Of course, the thought of him eating a “bug” or even just the shell makes me quiver, but are they dangerous? I just want to know when they will be gone. I live west of St. Louis. There are thousands and thousands on our tree….no kidding… please help!” [Ed.: Don’t let your kids eat cicadas. They can choke on them.]
— Thanks! MUESIC (5/21)


“The cicadas are out in full force here. Their skins are all over my gardens, they’re hanging from all the trees, and dead ones populate the roads. They sing so loudly that you can hear them with the house closed up and the air conditioner on. These things are awful!”
— Durham, North Carolina

“New Friends” for Kitty

“Hey! I just wanted to write and say thanks for all the information and such a great page. I actually like cicadas. When I was younger my dad and I used to tie thread to a cicadas body and fly them around the yard- like kites or something. LOL. I think they’re cute in a weird way- yeah, they have weird little “alien” faces. (awww) heehee— I absolutely loved you humor page! The “cute names..” had me rolling in the floor. =-) Right as I was about to start this letter, I heard one right outside. My cat wanted to bring his “new friends” in, I guess. He had a cicada in his mouth, but it is unharmed. I have it with me- in a little critter cage. Anyway, I live in Georgia and cicadas are hanging around in swarms downtown. Why they pick that place when there’s plenty of woods around, I will go on wondering. Oh- these kind are the Magicicadas. Well, I’ll go. Thanks again for your cool page!!!!”
— Holly S (5/20)

The X-Cicada-Files

“I am in Mississippi and I first noticed the eerie sound in the woods on May 15. We were visiting a popular lunch spot on a lake and we thought we had been invaded by a UFO. Of course everyone at work argued over what they were but I was excited that I found your page so that I can inform them that we are being invaded by Cicadas. Your web site is great and I look forward to reading everything. Unfortunately I haven’t seen one yet but I’ll still looking cause I hear them outside my apt. door.” [Ed.: they’re hiding in your basement]
— Mississippi (5/20)

Disappearing Cicadas

“I remember the Cicada invasion of 1972, when I was in junior high in Natchez, MS. I wasn’t there in 1985, but my sister in Natchez says she doesn’t remember hearing any then. I’m in Nashville, now, where they’re starting to crank up. My sister in Natchez says there aren’t any there now. What’s the deal?” [Ed.: pollution, pesticides, tree removal and new construction]
— Nashville (5/20)

Hitchcock Presents: the Cicadas!

“You mean to say you like these things? Evidently you don’t live in an area like Washington, GA! We have oak trees, Bradford pear trees, and red-tipped photenia bushes in our yard. These must be their favorite stomping grounds! There are thousands covering every piece of bark and trunk on these trees and shrubs. They aren’t on the pecan trees or pines. I have been tolerant and really fascinated with the cicadas until Sunday morning (this is the 4th week we’ve had them) when I swear a swarm of them attacked my daughter and I trying to get in our car. It was really scary because of the number and the noise they made because we disturbed them. I am old enough to have been scared to death by the movie “The Birds” and these things are beginning to give me the same creepy feeling!! How much longer??? I also believe they are harming some of our plants, they look a little wilted. I’d appreciate some info.” [Ed.: They’ll kill a few branches, but they won’t kill the plant; they need the plant to survive.]
— Thanks, Debbie Wells Washington, GA. (5/19)

Attack of the Cicadas

“Thank you for your website, which I just found because the noise outside our office door is so bad that I got curious. It’s enough to drive you mad! One attacked me as I was coming in the door today. Anyway, thanks for the cursor and I’d love to have a T-shirt when they’re available.”
— Healthdemographics Nashville, TN (5/18)

Can’t Stand It!

“They have begun in Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s so noisy outside that we’ve closed the windows and turned on the air conditioner. I don’t know if I can stand it for another 3-4 weeks!!!”
— Peggy M (5/18)

Obviously their eyesight isn’t that good…

“I really enjoyed your web page. Here in Middle Tennessee, we’re in the midst of an invasion. I saw the first one last Sunday, a few more on Tuesday, and by Friday there were thousands everywhere. At midday, the racket they make is amazing. They make it hard to mow the lawn, because the females mistake the lawnmower noise for a male, and you get pelted by them.”
— Barbara H (5/17)


“The Cicada’s are invading here in Manchester, MO outside St. Louis. I have several hundreds if not more climbing out of the yard and onto several trees and signing. I mean hundreds. It is amazing at the shear numbers of the insects.”
— Richard B (5/17)


“We live in Butler County, just north of Poplar Bluff, MO. Last weekend we found one shell, on Wednesday, the noise began. Saturday it was deafening. We are surrounded by national forests, the shells, the holes are EVERYWHERE!!!! Since we are not native MO, nor were we here in 85, this was amazing to us. The numbers of cicadas are astounding.”
— Trudy (5/17)

Another report from Missouri:

“Just wanted to say that the periodical cicadas are beginning to emerge in central Missouri. I found a few in my yard this morning. There have been reports of cicadas emerging from Fulton and Linn, Missouri.

The fun is just beginning”

Jim Jarman, University of Missouri/Lincoln University Outreach and Extension, Central Missouri Region

Agronomy Specialist

The first emergence (reported by Sandy Pouncey, 5/4/98)!
“Professor L.L. Hyche has announced the emergence of the 13-year Periodical Cicadas. They began emergence sometime on Thursday night and could be heard singing Friday May 1, 1998 down around the Goat Rock Dam area just below Lake Harding (Chattahoochee River) in Lee County, Alabama. They will more than likely be singing for the next 3-4 weeks before disappearing for another 13 years.

1 Comment »

  1. Donna Grippin says:

    We live in Atchison,KS which is in NE Kansas. We have the sacadda shells all over and under our maple trees.

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