The media (news papers, bloggers, etc.) sometimes use terms to describe cicadas, and periodical cicada emergences, that range from simply incorrect to grossly hyperbolic. It is unclear if they do this to match reader expectations, to get more clicks, to write a more entertaining article, or simply because they don’t have all the facts. It bothers me when the media uses a photo or video of the wrong species, which is why I have the use the correct image page.
What media mistakes have you witnessed? Let us know in the comments.
Professor Chris Simon, of the University of Connecticut Simon Lab, is one of the premier cicada experts in the world. She provided us with her list of Magicicada Media Faux Pas (below). How many of these have you seen? Can you think of more?
Incorrect Descriptive Words
- “swarm” They don’t swarm—i.e. fly around in large groups.
- “invasion” They don’t invade. They have been there the whole time.
They are not a plague like grasshoppers that come in and eat everything–they don’t chew leaves. They suck.
- “overrun” Implies that they are imposing us when in fact we are much more of an imposition on them–clearing their trees and building Walmarts on top of them.
Here are some more funny ones…
- “lurking underground” They are not lurking or threatening, they are innocently feeding on tree roots.
- “hatching out of the ground” They don’t hatch out of the ground, they hatched from eggs in tree branches 17years ago.