I walked outside this morning and heard birds singing. So cliche, right? If you had the surge of Cicadas 2021 in your yard, you understand. It’s truly the first time I have heard several birds sing at once this month. While I am happy to have the birds and bees back in our yard, I honestly have learned a lot about cicads this time around. Follow along for the buzz on cicadas ….and maybe some really goofy videos!
The first thing you hear anyone say about the cicadas is, “Gross!” They are such an annoyance as well as being so very ugly…and THOSE CREEPY EYES!
Put those thoughts aside and what you actually have is a pretty cool phenomena! Think about it! These little critters are underground for 17 years! Contrary to popular belief, they are not hibernating. Cicadas keep busy feeding off the sap of trees, digging tunnels and aerating the soil while we cannot see them. Isn’t it intersting that just as we are emerging from our homes after COVID, they too are emerging from their homes?
Nutrition for Nature ~
Aside from the noise, one of the biggest things I have noticed is my bird feeders have been empty. Not empty of birdseed, but empty of birds. It took me a couple of days to realize that my seed isn’t quite the delicacy that the cicadas are. I’m assuming that after they fill up on that special appetizer they just don’t want dinner at the feeder anymore. Now we know why parents always tell us not to ruin our appetite on chips and snacks before dinner! 😏
Basically almost every wildlife creature you can think of feasts on cicadas. Heck, even while they are underground, “rodents” like moles eat them as well. Afterall, while moles may be considered a rodent to many, they are actually insectivores (thus eating insects!) As you can see, cicadas are a postive benefit to society right there just as food alone!
Slug feeding on dead cicada
Nutrition for Humans ~
Seriously? People eat those nasty things? The astounding answer is yes! In this Keto diet loving world, cicadas appeared just at the right time. They are high in protein and low in fats and carbs. Did you create any fun cicada recipes this year? While I think these little guys are pretty awesome, I will admit that my family had NO interest in chomping on them!
Cicada Life Cycle ~
- Rice shaped eggs are deposited in small grooves of tree limbs
- Young cicadas feed on tree fluids of those grooves they are in
- Cicadas crawl from groove and fall to ground
- 17 year cicadas are active underground for the whole amount of time
- Cicadas emerge by digging up through ground and creating small holes
- The outer shell of the cicada is shed
- Wings of the cicada are inflated with fluid
- They live their very short lifespan above ground
- Wash, Rinse, Repeat as the saying goes!
Can you even imagine working for 17 years with no credit? No awards, no pay raise, no pat on the back with a “good job!” When I think of it that way, I start realizing that cicadas are pretty awesome creatures! Keep in mind that this is the 2021 Brood X cicadas I am talking about. There are other cicada broods, some come out every summer and some every 13 years.
90 Decibels ~
The buzz on cicada sound is that they reach up to 90 decibels. If you did not get to experience it, let me tell you, with a yard full of cicadas, it is LOUD!
The following video was taken a week before they got to their loudest. You will notice you can hear one or two birds in the background. Our backyard is usually filled with the melody of many birds. TURN YOUR VOLUME UP and listen to the video ➡➡Cicada music at 90 decibels.
So what makes that sound? These guys are pretty big as far as insects go, but how are they SO LOUD? I was surprised to hear that only the males make the sound. Obviously, this is a mating call. They flex organs in their abdomens, just under their wings. Pretty cool!
Cicada Attack ~
What is not cool, is if you make a loud sound similar to their mating call, they will FLOCK to you! Seriously! I figured that out by accident. I am a gardener and yard person by nature so I am outdoors a lot. While cutting the grass I would have to swat away a crazy flying cicada every once in awhile. However, when I started the leaf blower to clean up the grass clippings, I was SWARMED! Kid you not!
I have to assume now that it was all females coming at me since I have learned that only males make the noise. Mind you, they do not sting, but when there are bunches of them flying at you at once, you get a little stinging feeling as they all hit you at the same time. I truly felt like I was in a new version of the Alfred Hitchhock movie, The Birds. If only someone had been home to video me.
I immediately turned the blower on the little buggers to get them away from me. Have you seen how long the attachments on most leaf blowers are? They are pretty darn long, thus making it hard to get at the cicadas that are already all over me. I turned the blower off thinking I was insane (and secretly hoping none of my neighbors were watching me!) They all flew away.
Next, I did what everyone laughs about when watching scary movies. You know what I ‘m talking about. The lady walks by herself down the long dark hallway where she knows someone is hiding out to kill her. Everyone watching the movie is saying, “You idiot, don’t go down the hallway…run!” Well, I turned that lovely blower back on…yes I did! Guess what happened?
The Buzz on Cicada Aftermath ~
Ok, I will tell you what happened. Yes, they returned. I was the idiot we all scream at and I paid the price. However, I promptly turned it back off and the grass clippings remained on my driveway until a storm hit.
June 2021 is coming to a close and the cicadas have almost disappeared from our area. I have to admit I actually kind of miss the little creepy guys. Afterall, it is truly a a pretty miraculous lifecycle that is fun to learn about and teach to your children and grandchildren. We can use their story to teach children about “coming out of their shell.” Maybe even, “make noise when you need to be noticed.”
Some of the houses around me that got hit pretty hard may not miss them quite as much as me though. Some of my neighbors were literally using snow shovels to clean off their driveways. And the smell of rotting cicada carcasses leaves something to be desired.
So yes, they are creepy and loud, but they are really pretty amazing, regardless of the downside. Besides, haven’t we always learned to look at the glass half full? Find the beauty in all of God’s amazing creations!
The Promised Goofy Video ~
I’m letting you all in on the goofy side of Mimi….well those of you who know me know I’m usally always pretty goofy. I decided we needed a little update to The Birds movie with my version of The Cicadas 2021…click the link and enjoy! Cicadas attacking
And if you want to have a little memento from this special time, Check out these cool cicada earrings!💚