Cicada Love

I am here today to defend the poor cicada. I believe I am the only one on the planet who appreciates their dogged determination to live 17 years underground, emerge to have sex, and then lay eggs for the next generation. I find them fascinating and don’t think they are “gross,” the adjective I’ve been hearing a lot to describe them. They aren’t gross at all. They are harmless. Did you know they have five eyes? That right there makes them quite special, I would think.

But, no. My facebook friends, in general, do not share my love of these winged monkeys. I don’t know why. You can pick them up and pet them. This little guy in the photo below hopped onto my leg, wanting to be picked up. You can’t have too many friends, even if they only live about 6 weeks.


When I was young, everyone called them “locusts.” I believe they were even called locust the last time they emerged in 1999. “The year of the locust.”  But, just to be straight, cicada is a member of the cricket family, where locust is a member of the grasshopper family.  Regardless, people aren’t afraid of crickets, so why should they be afraid of cicadas?  Could it be their red eyes?  One facebook friend said they were creepy looking.

Brood V made their appearance last week and I couldn’t wait to find one. Finally, one morning, I watched their arrival. They crawled out of the little lair and climbed up the tree from whence they fell 17 years before. They then struggled to get out of their bug shell, and once they did, clung to the tree bark for a few days to get ready to test their wings.

I had to laugh at a poster who took a picture of a cicada that just emerged and wrote, “omg, an albino cicada.” You have a lot to learn, Grasshopper. Cicadas all look like the photo below after emerging from their shell.


Today was the first day I heard their chorus. It was loud, and sounded as if there was a spaceship hovering above the ground a la the movie “Day the Earth Stood Still.” It made me smile. I like the sound. It’s like the sound of spring peepers, but not really.

So, imagine my surprise (not really) when friends began posting on my facebook page  links to sites where people are making cookies out of the little fellows to sell at local Memorial Day festivals. What the hell, bakery guy?

Cicada abuse.


In the end, I hope all of you will step out of your comfort zone and approach a cicada and wish him well. He is only here for 5-6 weeks. He won’t bite you . All he wants to do is fly around, sing, and have sex.

And what’s wrong with that?


5 responses to this post.

  1. The first time I ever remember seeing cicadas was in 1986 when it was a year of the 17 year cicadas. I am thinking that there are different groups of them on different timelines, because this should NOT be a 17 year year. (2003, 2020)

    Anyway, I thought they were cool, interesting. Fascinatng, even. But they were so numerous that you couldn’t walk on the sidewalks without crunching. They were everywhere. I don’t mind cool bugs, but it was just too much. We came back from Europe just in time for me to have the 2003 repeat although they weren’t so bad here where I live now. But closer to DC, it was truly disgusting!

    But you’re allowed to like them. I won’t hold it against you!


  2. Posted by Suzi Phillips on May 28, 2016 at 3:18 pm

    “All he wants to do is fly around, sing, and have sex.” And really- isn’t that what we all should be doing? I garuantee you the world would be a much happier more peaceful place!


  3. Some nice pictures you have of them! We must be of like mind – when they arrived here in 2013 I felt the same way. When I was a kid my mother told me the sound they made was actually the electric lines humming. I believed her until I was an adult –


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