Thursday, May 27, 2004

They’re Everywhere! They’re Everywhere!

Awakening from their underground slumber of 17 years, periodical cicadas are emerging in staggering numbers in an area stretching from the Mid-Atlantic to the Midwest. Their abundance across the Mid-Atlantic region does not appear to be uniform. They are present in immense numbers in Arlington and Fairfax County, Virginia, for example, but seem quite spotty in Berkeley and Jefferson counties, West Virginia. At my office in Arlington, the building management has taken to vacuuming up the cicadas, both dead and alive, but litter the surrounding sidewalks; what an ignoble to end a life–even that of a lowly bug–after waiting 17 long years for a chance to procreate! Joel Achenbach provides these insights into the fleeting (above-ground) life of a cicada.

And yes, cicadas are a beneficial source of protein for birds, although they may be repelled by the loud noise produced by some day-singing cicadas.


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