Monday, May 16, 2016

They're Coming!

This spring, we expect to see the emergence of the 17 year cicada brood V in our area.  It should happen any time...reports I've read say that the ground temps need to be at 64* for emergence.

photo by Billy Tesh, NBC

These insects are among the strangest ones I've ever encountered:  they are huge, with red eyes, and they make a racket!  In 1999, JP and I witnessed this emergence when we were living not too far away from here.  He was working on an outdoor project, and the sound of his power tools seemed to be similar to the mating call of these buggers, because he got completely swarmed. 

Our little dog thought they were mighty tasty, and would gobble them up until he made himself sick.

They are also LOUD!  Their calls have been measured up to 90 decibels!  Relaxing out of doors may not be so relaxing for a while.

These insects do not do any damage to foliage, but can be extremely destructive to the trees.  The females cut slits into the underside of small branches with her ovipositor to lay eggs.  These openings often cause infection and/or death to the branch.

Yesterday afternoon, JP, L and I headed out to the orchard to try to protect our little trees against cicada damage.  We used mosquito netting and fishing line to create what appears to be a field of ghosts.


Speaking of ghosts, I spotted this gorgeous Luna moth last week.  These beautiful moths do not even have a mouth, so they live only one week.  What a life!


1 comment:

Kimberly Long Cockroft said...

Oh poor Luna moths 🙁. Cicadas are so weird-like ring wraiths of the insect world. Their screams close to your ear are startling. I remember them well from visiting my parents in Maryland when summer – totally bizarre, and yes, incredibly destructive. I hope everything you love survives, Especially those wee trees!