Here in Kentucky, it is cicada season. Think of those plagues of locusts that you've read about in the Old Testament. The Year of the Cicada here in Wilmore is an actual representation of what I've often pictured the plagues of locusts being like.
This morning I left my house and had to make a mad dash for my car so that they wouldn't attach themselves to me. Seriously. One cicada literally CHASED me to my car. I think Alfred Hitchcock could have made a great movie about this. Forget about birds. "The Cicadas" would have made for a much better film. They're gross. They're in large numbers. They literally fall from the sky. And they scream. Right now I'm all closed up in my house with the TV on. I can hear the cicadas screaming in my front yard. It's insane.
My friend Lindsay did some research on these little creatures. Their story is below. But before you get to the story, I'll include a photo of these critters so that you can picture them as you read about them.
These cicadas do not emerge every year, apparently. They emerge in 13 to 17 year cycles- When they do emerge, it is in huge numbers. They are sometimes called "17 Year Locusts". Although, they are not related to locusts.
While the Cicada life span may be as long as 17 years, they spend almost all of their lives underground. Cicada nymphs emerge from the ground in periodic cycles. They climb up trees and quickly shed their skins(molt). An adult, flying cicada emerges. The adult Cicadas' entire purpose in life is to mate and produce offspring. You can hear the males' mating "song" from early morning to nightfall. In heavily infested areas, the noise can be quite disturbing. About five to ten days after mating, the female lands on twigs of deciduous trees, cuts slits in them, and lays her eggs in the slit.
Adults do not eat. Rather, damage to trees is caused by the adult female as she cuts slices into twigs to lay her eggs. Shortly after mating, the male Cicada dies.
The eggs hatch, producing tiny nymphs that fall to the ground. These nymphs burrow into the soil and feast on underground roots. They remain there for years, slowly growing, until their periodic cycle calls them to emerge again as adults.
Gross, right? Well, apparently, we have the perfect cicada tree in our front yard. I wish it would get struck by lightning. Here is a photo that Billy just took of the trunk of the tree in our front yard. If you don't see me for a few days, or notice that I haven't emerged from my house, you now know why. I'm in hiding. Until every last cicada is gone. 17 years from now, I won't be living in Kentucky. So I figure if I survive this summer, we're in good shape.