Tuesday, May 08, 2007

"And They Were Creepin' and-a Crawlin'...
Movin' and-a Groovin'..."

Yes, from what everyone has been telling me, the cicadas are coming!

Brood XIII, or the 17-year Plains cicadas are due to arrive in the Chicagoland area in less than two weeks for their little bug orgy. My husband is stoked! All I hear from him is how those demon-eyed bugs are going to crawl up out of the ground and cover every surface within a matter of days. I am NOT looking forward to it, I can tell you.

I remember seeing cicada shells as a child. My sister and I would find the brittle exo-skeletons all over my grandfather's cedar tree during the heat of the summer. Interesting things, cicadas. But these, my husband insists, are nothing like what I have seen in the past.

According to www.cicadamania.com, "cicadas are insects, best known for the sound made by the males of the species. The males make this sound by flexing their tymbals, which are drum-like organs found on their abdomens."

The site also says, "Cicadas begin life as a rice-shaped egg, which the female deposits in a groove she makes in a tree limb. The groove provides shelter and exposes the tree fluids, which the young cicadas can feed on. These grooves can kill small branches. When the braches die and leaves turn brown, it is called flagging.

"Once the egg hatches the cicada begins to feed on the tree fluids. At this point it looks like a termite or small white ant. Once the young cicada is ready, it crawls from the scratch and falls to the ground where it will dig until it finds a root to feed on. Once a root is found the cicada will stay underground for 2 – 17 years depending on the species.

"After the long 2 – 17 years, cicadas emerge from the ground as nymphs. Nymphs climb the nearest available tree, and begin to shed their nymph exoskeleton. Free of their old skin, their wings can inflate with fluid and their new skin can harden. Once their new wings and body are ready, they can begin their brief adult life.

"Adult cicadas, also called imagoes, spend their time in trees looking for a mate. Males sing, females respond, mating begins, and the cycle of life begins again."

All I know is that I am not looking forward to walking outside of my house that fateful day and crunching these bugs under my shoes as I try to make it to my car.

For ten years I have wondered at the small dirt mounds under my grass in the back yard. I finally got down on my hands and knees last summer and dug on up. There was a mud cap on top of a small hole in the ground. I have been told that these are cicada burrows. If that's the case, my backyard will be literally swarming with these insects. Yikes!

For more information on periodical cicadas, check out these links and don't worry, on May 22nd, I'll make sure and take lots of pictures of the little buggers.

GaZ oo!



Copyright Dana 2005
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Name: Dana
Location: Chicago, and if y'all call me a Yankee, I'll have to cyber-smack ya'!

I'm just a mom of two, a crafter of jewelry, and to keep my sanity among the Yankees (kidding)I write southern-themed poetry, short stories and memoirs. I have been published on the web on sites such as USA Deep South, Southern Humorists, Muscadine Lines - A Southern Journal, Mosaic Minds and Long Story Short. I am also a contributor in Dew on the Kudzu and Weight-Loss Articles.com where I write dieting humor.

And this is my blog... Kudzu, funny family stories, poems, family ghosts, snakes, sun-kissed southern memories all inside! Plus some travel reviews, recipes and more! I also make handcrafted jewelry! Check out my jewelry blog - Colors of the Woods

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