Post 19/2021 Friday 7 May . . . Have no fear all ye who will soon hear the high decibel chorus of cicadas. After 17 years living underground, trillions of Brood X cicadas will emerge in 15 US states, said Seth Borenstein in an Associated Press story, May 6. Indiana rates among the states that will see these massive numbers appear (X stands for Roman numeral 10). “When the entire brood emerges, backyards can look like undulating waves, and the bug chorus is lawnmower loud,” Borenstein said.
Borenstein interviewed Michael Raupp and Paula Shrewsbury, University of Maryland entomologists, who recently dug up seven cicadas in a square foot of dirt in their backyard, “a rate just shy of a million per acre,” he said.
Raupp: “They’re going to try to best everything on the planet that wants to eat them during this critical period of nighttime when they’re just trying to grow up, they’re just trying to be adults, shed that skin, get their wings, go up into the treetops, escape their predators.”
Raupp continued: “Once in the treetops, hey, it’s all going to be about romance. It’s only the males that sing. It’s going to be a big boy band up there as the males try to woo those females, try to convince that special someone that she should be the mother of his nymphs. He’s going to perform, sing songs. If she likes it, she’s going to click her wings. They’re going to have some wild sex in the treetop.
“Then she’s going to move out to the small branches, lay their eggs. Then it’s all going to be over in a matter of weeks. They’re going to tumble down. They’re going to basically fertilize the very plants from which they were spawned. Six weeks later the tiny nymphs are going to tumble 80 feet from the treetops, bound twice, burrow down into the soil, go back underground for another 17 years.”
He added, “This is one of the craziest life cycles of any creature on the planet.”
Borenstein continued: “This is not an invasion. The cicadas have been here the entire time, quietly feeding off tree roots underground, not asleep, just moving slowly waiting for their body clocks to tell them it is time to come out and breed. They’ve been in America for millions of years, far longer than people.”
Borenstein quoted John Cooley, entomologist of the University of Connecticut: “This is a feel-good story, folks, It really is and it’s in a year we need more. . .. When they come out, it’s a great sign that forests are in good shape. All is as it is supposed to be.”
USA Today (May 6) reported where Brood X cicadas will most likely emerge in the largest swarms, once ground temperature reaches 64 degrees–some weeks earlier than before 1950, given climate change. According to Gene Kritsky, cicada expert and dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University, the largest swarms will emerge in:
“The southeast corner of Pennsylvania, almost all of Maryland, parts of Delaware and New Jersey, and a few areas in New York.
“Ohio, almost the entire state of Indiana, a few areas in eastern Illinois, and northwest and eastern parts of Kentucky.
“Western North Carolina, east Tennessee and a scattering around west Tennessee and the northern part of Georgia.”
Almost all of Indiana? Can’t wait! The emergence of cicadas harks back to a parallel during the years when we lived in another city and were bombarded with May flies on windows, deck furniture, trees, shrubs and house siding. Their massive appearance was evidence that the St Joseph River was in a healthy state; May flies a minor inconvenience given the back story.
Emergences of other sorts
I took these photos of buildings and an abandoned house in recent drives in Elkhart, LaGrange and Noble Counties, Indiana and St Joseph County, Michigan, Marty driving, no stopping, me often with only time enough to shoot through the windscreen or a closed window. What stories these buildings hold. They tug at memories of buildings I’ve known personally, many gone forever.
Emerging on the Greencroft Goshen campus
I wish that people who decline to get vaccinated, free, for Covid-19, had a better grasp of numbers. An article in TheNationalMemo, May 7, by David Cay Johnston in a reprint from DC Report, poses two questions: “1. How many unvaccinated Americans has Covid killed? 2. How many vaccinated Americans has Covid killed? The answer: 577,000 and 74.”
Still, some people persist in thinking vaccines are more dangerous than Covid-19. One or two shots in the arm and not only are you protected you’re protecting those around you. May herd immunity rise from oodles and oodles and oodles and oodles of vaccinations worldwide. It doesn’t take a math genius to figure out the consequences of distrusting vaccines. Count me among those fortunate to have been vaccinated. And one who follows public health protocols. Heaven help us. There’s so much good emerging from the ground up, the waters below and the sky above.
Past, present, future, live it now.