Watch Out, N.J., this May Bug You: The Cicadas Are Coming Back | State | -- Your State. Your News.

Apr 18th
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Watch Out, N.J., this May Bug You: The Cicadas Are Coming Back

cicata_optBY PAM LOBLEY

Now that it’s spring, there’s an animal ready to come up out of the ground … and it’s not a groundhog.  It’s the cicada.  Or rather, it’s thousands of cicadas.

Yes, 17 years has gone by that fast!  It seems like just two years ago I was crunching the giant dead bugs under my feet when I walked.

As reported in USA Today, the cicadas are set for a major emergence all along the East Coast.  The next few weeks will see the bugs coming up in the Carolinas, and as the temperature increases, so will the presence of cicadas everywhere up the Atlantic coastline.

Even New York City should see a lot of the insects.  They have been seen in the Bronx in previous years, and this year, a bumper crop might lead them to be seen all over the city.  The cicadas emerge primarily to mate, and they have about four weeks to do so before they die.

No wonder they’re heading to the city.  Everyone knows that’s where all the single ladies go when they want to meet and get busy.

Cicadas are harmless bug, but they look scary.  At least, they do to me.  And they sound scary, too.  Especially when they buzz right in your ear and you feel them clumsily bump into your cheek or get kind of caught in your hair.  Then you shake your head and wave your hands around, and then scream, and then maybe you even run around in a zig zag pattern waving and yelping until you’re sure the poor bug has left you.

I have never done that.

Their buzz, which the males make to attract females, can be really loud.  In fact, a bunch of males together can be as loud as 90 decibels – about as loud as a lawnmower.

Cicadas are food for many creatures including, deer, squirrel, dogs, cats, and yes, people.  Through the ages certain cultures have added cicadas to their menu.  If you would like to try eating some, someone at the University of Maryland has put out a cookbook.    You can also learn more about cicadas by going on Cicada Mania, a website that tells lots of great facts about the insects and shows tons of super-close up pictures of their spindly legs and bulging red eyes.

The bugs don’t have the best life.  They spend most of the 17 years underground and have just a few weeks to fly around, meet, mate and die.  The last time they were here it was the Clinton Administration.    The bugs coming out this year don’t know anything about Osama Bin Laden, or Kim Jong Un or Honey Boo Boo.

Maybe their life isn’t that bad after all.

Pam Lobley writes the “Now That’s Funny” column.  Check out her blog:  Better Living Through Chaos! Follow her on twitter @plobley.


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