View Full Version : There's a buzz in the air...

03-12-2004, 06:30 AM
By DAN LEWERENZ, Associated Press Writer

STATE COLLEGE, Pa. - After 17 years of relative quiet, Mother Nature is bringing the noise. Periodical cicadas, a species of the grasshopper-like insects best known for the scratching, screeching "singing" of the males, will emerge this May, filling forests in more than a dozen states. Almost as abruptly as they arrive, they'll disappear underground for another 17 years.

There are at least 13 broods of 17-year cicadas, plus another five broods that emerge every 13 years. This year, it's time for Brood X, the so-called "Big Brood," to surface. Its range stretches from Georgia, west through Tennessee and to isolated pockets of Missouri, north along the Ohio Valley and into Michigan, and east into New Jersey and New York.

"This is one of those years we kind of dread," said Paris Lambdin, professor of entomology and plant pathology at the University of Tennessee. "We had an emergence a couple years ago around Nashville, but nothing like what we expect this one will be."

No other periodical cicada covers so much ground. And with hundreds of them per acre in infested areas, the noise will be hard to miss.

03-12-2004, 06:37 AM
I still remember the time years ago when we arrived at a state park near Cleveland, opened the doors of our air-conditioned rental car, which had blocked out the noise, and heard the sound of the cicadas. We were startled and confused by the intensity. "Buzz" doesn't do it justice. It sounded like a jet engine. We actually looked up to see if an airliner was making an emergency landing on the road.


03-12-2004, 07:44 AM
I can put up with the Cicada's - Bring sback memories. What I don;t want to deal with is another population of Elmspan worms like the populatoin crash that occurred in 94. NE PA was decimated. everywhere you hiked you were wlaking into hiundreds of these things hanging off tress and small silk webs.
You'd stop for breaks and pull 1/2 dozen off you and your pack.

Same with the Gypsy Moth population - Their population crash was around 1995. Hundreds of them alighted on your tent or tarp, pack, clothelines and clothes. You'd shine a light on them and see back twice as many tiny glowing flourescent eyes....

03-12-2004, 08:24 AM
Not wishing to be picky, or to bug you, but when you refer to a population "crash" don't you really mean "explosion?"

I've always associated the term, crash, with decline.


03-12-2004, 09:14 AM
This is an amazing experience of nature. I was in college at the University of Cincinnati, Ohio when, back in 1985 or 86 the cicada's came out and I'll never forget the experience! People with bug aversions may not enjoy them too much but they really don't affect us humans badly at all. Now, black flies every spring in the Adirondacks...THOSE suck!

g o
03-12-2004, 11:19 AM
hey deadfred,

i went to uc also (graduated in '83).

i was still there in 85/86 and it was like being in a horror movie. there was so many of them i just could not beleave it. they caused many accidents from flying into moving cars and freaking out the drivers. it lasted about two weeks if i remember right. towards the end, when they started to die off, the streets were lined with thousands of dead bugs. unreal!

Rob S
03-12-2004, 11:31 AM
Back in the early 80's, (1980 or 1981, I think) on what was my first backpacking trip, we ascended the Appalachian Trail (northbound) from Lehigh Gap. Anyone who is familiar with this area can tell you how surrealistic the landscape is, it is so bizarre, like an alien planet. I think the mountain had been mined at one time, I forget the story behind the landscape, but combine the very wierd-looking surroundings with the loud "hum" of hundreds of thousands of cicadas or locusts or whatever they were. Man! It was very strange! You could hear them distantly from the parking area, but as you ascended they just got louder and louder. And these bugs were huge, and flying all around on the top of the mountain. It was really cool.

03-12-2004, 11:44 AM
Hey g o,

I started at UC in 84 in Architorture and tranferred away in 87 to finish at SUNY Buffalo, thus I can't really say I'm a UC alum. But those were some of the best years of my life! Yeah, when those cicada's came out it was UNREAL! I too, remember all the accidents and all the people freakin' out about them. I just found it curious and fascinating from a nature lover's point of view. I do remember a fellow student who played some practical jokes though. He worked at a pizza shop across from Calhoun Hall and made cicada-topped pizzas for people he disliked and sent them a "free" pizza (gross). I would have loved to be the proverbial fly (cicada) on the wall when those pizzas were opened up! I thought the cicada thing was really cool though and would love to live in an area that would experience them again. Don't know how many we'll see in Albany, NY. But I'll still keep my ears attuned for the cicada roar.

03-12-2004, 12:20 PM
Grumpy - I meant Explosion, but wasn't thinking straight.

I12 Climb - I live 25 minutes from the Lehgh Gap and stumble there often when I hike. It was a Zinc Factory directly NW of Blue Mountain on the skirts of Palmerton and the prevailing winds from the last 100 or so years turned the mountain into a desolate, wasted land form, but it is very cool hiking through there. Like being on then moon (No, I haven't been there yet.)

DeadFred - I am a UB alumni as well. Course, I can't tell a crash from an explosion, so maybe I needed a semeseter at UC.


03-12-2004, 12:25 PM
Just a friendly reminder to keep your cicadas leashed. ;)

03-12-2004, 08:45 PM
i think you guys are all buzzed up! what are you smokin?

03-13-2004, 08:06 AM
CICADA'S MAN!! And they really give ya a great buzz!