jump to navigation

Bugs On The Way May 20, 2007

Posted by Michael in News.


That’s a cicada, a species with a fascinating survival strategy. Every 17 years a “brood” emerges from the soil in numbers so great that they simply overwhelm the ability of birds and other predators to eat them. In 30 days, they mate and then go back underground for another 17 years — a time period long enough to ensure that no other species gets used to eating cicadas.

CHICAGO – Coming soon: Brood XIII. It sounds like a bad horror movie. But it’s actually the name of the billions of cicadas expected to emerge this month in parts of the Midwest after spending 17 years underground.The red-eyed, shrimp-sized, flying insects don’t bite or sting. But they are known for mating calls that produce a din that can overpower ringing telephones, lawn mowers and power tools.

Brood XIII is expected across northern Illinois, and in parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Cicadas live only about 30 days as adults, and their main goal is mating.

They don’t harm humans, although they are clumsy and might fly into people. Birds, squirrels and pets, especially dogs, love to eat them, and they are high in protein.

We had a brood emerge in my area a few years ago. They are slow, fat and ugly. You were almost sure to have one land on you if you tried to sit for long on my back deck. The noise was unbelievable. Fortunately they get quiet after dark.

They did provide some entertainment, however, because they arrived at the same time as the Memorial Golf Tournament, so it was fun to watch something harass PGA tour members. Also several funny moments watching folks in the gallery deal with a cicada that got inside their blouse or shirt.

Swarms of cicadas emerging in Midwest



1. Retired Geezer - May 20, 2007

I remember when those things hatched in Las Vegas. I would climb up in the tree and catch them and throw them down to the dogs (minus one wing).
The dogs were delighted.

We called them “Buzzer Bugs”. Man those things made an annoying sound.
I bet that’s what’s making Lipstick, Sobek and Enas Yorl so crazy.

In other Bug News, I came home to a Bee Swarm on my Pussy Willow.
Big drooping masses of bees hanging on the leaves…
I’m going to try to get some pictures without getting stung.

Wish me luck

2. Michael - May 20, 2007

they are clumsy and might fly into people

Actually, they will definitely fly into people. They seem to be attracted to your hair. If you’re in a area where Brood XIII is about to emerge, you can expect to be picking cicadas out of your hair. Just grab them and toss them aside. They really are harmless, even though they look kinda big and scary for an insect, with those bright red eyes.

3. Michael - May 20, 2007

I would climb up in the tree and catch them and throw them down to the dogs (minus one wing).

They were so thick in my neighborhood that I could just grab them out of the air on my deck.

4. BrewFan - May 20, 2007

I came home to a Bee Swarm on my Pussy Willow

I’ll bet that left a mark!

5. Michael - May 20, 2007

Bee Swarm on my Pussy Willow

In Texas, I actually got attacked by a swarm of Killer Bees from Africa. I was operating a yard vacuum around the pool, and the sound attracted bees from a hive that had just settled into a tree in the neighbor’s yard. They get excited by the sound of machinery. I ducked into the house with just a few stings. You could not go out the back door for about half an hour.

The neighbor’s dogs almost got killed.

6. kevlarchick - May 20, 2007

They are not harmless Michael. They are terrifying creatures.

The worst is when I’d get off work, I’d get into my sweltering car (can’t ride with the windows down–they fly in–they have caused serious wrecks) and do a “sound check.” I’d hear that ominous clicky/scratchy noise and know that one was lurking in the car. I wouldn’t drive until I’d found it and splattered it on the parking lot.

And the smell! Truly a plague.

On a happy note, I saw the first lightning bugs last night. Joy!

7. Retired Geezer - May 20, 2007

Mission accomplished!

Actual Unretouched Photos of a Spudder Bee Swarm.

Best of all…. No Stings.

8. daveintexas - May 20, 2007

I used to grab lighting bugs and squish em, and put the glow stuff on my face, and run around like a maniac.

But I quit doing that last week. Neighbors looked at me funny.

9. TattooedIntellectual - May 20, 2007

Worst bit about those stupid things is trying to do a specimen collection for a class. First you catch the nasty things and they have to go into separate containers b/c they are extremely territorial and will fight w/ each other. So now you have this bag of bzzzing containers. Then you get to stick them in the freezer (humane insect euthanization) but they don’t shut up! My flatmate checked the freezer every 10 min for hours (probably not but it seemed liked it), only to report that the stupid cicadas were still bzzing. Yes, thanks I can hear it in my room. Okay, so maybe the worst part wasn’t the insects but the flatmate 🙂

10. Beth - May 20, 2007

Holy shit–those things are a nightmare!!!

I remember when I was a little kid and that plague hit–NASTY fucking shells all over the place, crunch crunch crunch, the loud fucking buzzing all the time…OMFG I’m gonna have nightmares tonight!!!


11. kevlarchick - May 20, 2007

Beth, they only swarm in the Midwest. We get em every 7 and 17 years. Heinous.

The regular green ones come every year, but the RED ones are a horror.

Let’s hope Geezer’s bees are the sweet honey-making kind.

12. Tushar D - May 20, 2007

We had a Cicada season in Maryland about 5 years back. Those bugs got into everything. I think even the dogs were a bit wary of them.

13. Russ from Winterset - May 20, 2007

I think the ones we’ve got here in central Iowa are on a different timetable. I remember them coming out back when I was a youngun, and distinctly remember an article in the formerly adequate Des Moines Register talking about how the bugs that are about to infest Iowa were last seen when JFK was president. If my math is correct, that would mean that the 17 year locusts appeared in Iowa in 1980 (along with campaign workers for Jimmy Carter). That would mean that they were back in ’97, and will be back in 2014 (unless the Mayan calendar is correct and the world will end in 2012).

I certainly did my part in ’80 to stem the tide. My trusty Daisy BB gun must have killed thousands of them that year. From 10 or 15 yards, it wasn’t even a hard shot to make on those sedentary bugs. I can remember wandering around the timber with Skipper the Wonder Border Collie shooting cicadas & drinking Mountain Dew, in between chores.

For those who have never experienced the 17-year locusts, it’s like living next to the airport. An airport right next to the interstate highway. An airport right next to the interstate highway & downwind of Pete Townsend’s special concert speaker testing range.

14. David Dalka - Creating Revenue and Retention - Chicago GSB MBA - May 20, 2007

Cicada Emergence Map for Brood XIII Chicago and Lake County 2007

The Cicadas are coming! This neat, interactive map put together by the Lake County Forest Preserve District allows you to report the amount of cicadas in your area!
This is a great example of a government agency collecting data through user generated c…

15. mesablue - May 20, 2007

In parts of the midwest every square inch of everything is covered with those things. I remember as a kid not wanting to go outside because you couldn’t walk anywhere without crunching with every step.

Anyway, I thought it appropriate to compare the modern moonbat to the cicada today.


16. Wickedpinto - May 21, 2007

I saw cicada’s when I was a kid, but I never developed a fear for them until I was in the MC.

I think I told this story before.

We were standing in formation, at the position of attention, I was sexy as always, and cicada’s were flying all around, I don’t know why, the guy right in front of me had a cicada land on the bill of his cover, and I admire that man to this day cuz he didn’t flinch.

I swear to GAWD! when that ugly bug landed on my buddies cover, you could hear it “thwap” and I started to raise up into my hackles worried that one of those chitenous pricks might DARE invade my personal space.

He stood still, at the POA without moving and me watching nearly jumped like a little girl cicada’s are completely disrespectful pricks who don’t care that we can whipe them out as a species, they just wanna screw with us JUSE enough.

Cicada’s are EVIL!

I was gonna make a post about it, but I couldn’t do it, I needed my banky, and wubby, if only I still had my bahbah I might have found comfort.

17. Don Carne - May 21, 2007

On L.I. we get cicadas every year. Several different broods live here and some are bigger than others. Every July/August they come out and start screaching, although I admit I like cicada screaming. I also like plucking them off trees and throwning them aginst walls. It’s just fun. They’re big slow bugs and there are millions of them. Even the seagulls can’t eat them all, and seagulls eat everything.

18. sandy burger - May 21, 2007

How do you pronounce “cicada”?

19. Don Carne - May 21, 2007

cicada: si-kay-da

20. sandy burger - May 21, 2007

Thanks, Don.

See ya latah, cicada.

21. Don Carne - May 21, 2007

In a while crocodile.

Or would that be more appropriate for Sobek?

22. Dave in Texas - May 21, 2007

Michael, those bees came from Brazil. Scientist in the 50s bred African bees with a local honey-making South American bee and produced this mean aggressive strain. Someone on his team made a mistake and let them loose, and they began a 30 year migration.

They’re bad down here (as you learned). Unlike average honey bees, they attack in swarms and don’t stop.

23. Russ from Winterset - May 21, 2007

The Bees From Brazil? Great movie. Olivier & Peck really made a great combo.

24. Don Carne - May 21, 2007

Nazi bees. I hate nazi bees. I bet they’re the ones responsible for the current bee die-off.

25. Michael - May 21, 2007

I think I read that the bee die-off is caused by some kind of parasitic mite.

26. Retired Geezer - May 22, 2007

The Bee Dude came to get the swarm in my front yard.

Of course I have photos… why do you ask?

27. Wickedpinto - May 22, 2007

If cicada’s surfaced every evening that a husband was working late, into a tube, then women would love cicada’s, but thats not how it works.

They are nearly terrifying chitanous creatures who make WAY too much noise, and can’t stop flapping their damn wings.

I HATE cicada’s.

28. compos mentis - May 22, 2007

I love the sound of cicadas. They’re music reminds me of summer nights as a child, playing outside knowing there was no school but only freedom for the next couple of months.

I like the camo colored ones. They’re bigger too. I had never seen the black/orange kind until we had the 17 year swarm here a few years ago.

Yes, they are menacing looking. But that’s another part of what makes them so cool. Because they are absolutely harmless. My littlest used to like for me to find and hang as many of their shells on her shirt as we could find.

If you ever get a chance to see one of the camo colored ones emerging from it’s shell, it is really a cool thing. Actually, I have pics of that very thing from last summer. Will see if I can find them and post them.

29. Retired Geezer - May 22, 2007

Here’s some important information for LauraW’s squirrels.


30. mesablue - May 22, 2007

botflies are nasty.

31. Linda - June 13, 2008

I never seen these before till 2 weeks ago, there in my sisters neighborhood sounds like alarms going off like ya driving into the twilightzone, We are in Massachusetts-Cape Cod so its not just the midwest…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: