Sunday, November 20, 2016

Year of the Cicada

The ground was covered with finger-sized holes where the
Cicadas had returned to the surface.
This was the year of the cicada, or at least when our paths crossed.  In some places the sound of their songs were incredibly loud.  We were riding along with the windows closed and the A/C going when Jean said there was something wrong with the truck.  It was making a strange sound.  With the paranoia we were already experiencing over engine concerns, this was not good news, and demanded an immediate stop to check it out.  As soon as we opened the doors, the overwhelming din of cicadas from trees along the highway resolved our concerns.  The truck was still doing fine.  We are well acquainted with cicadas, but this was a level of sound we had never experienced before.  Overwhelming is a good word, even deafening.

This one didn't know the difference between a
tree and a tire.
There are over 1,300 species of cicada, which are a type of locust.  They live underground, staying buried for 13 to 17 years to give their predators time to starve to death.  After a warming rain and the subsoil warming to 64-degrees, normal for spring or early summer, the conditions signal the great exodus.  Then the nymphs emerge in such hordes that they can gorge remaining predators and still have sufficient numbers remaining to sustain their survival.  Finding a nearby tree or other vertical surface, they attach themselves and shed their outer shell to emerge in adult form to lay eggs in cracks in the tree bark.  There are different broods which emerge at different times in staggered areas across the country.  The site to follow will enable you to identify when they will surface in your neighborhood.

This was just between two roots of the tree, but the surrounding
ground all around was covered with a blanket of dead cicadas.
The price of gas has gone up 70 cents/gallon since leaving home.  Over ten hours, we managed to make 424.9 miles, and stopped in Barkcamp State Park in Eastern Ohio, just before the W. Virginia state line.  Barkcamp is not only a nice park, but a very interesting historical site.  I did a detailed article on the camp during a previous visit, which you can find in the archives in the right margin.  The date to seek is 11/29/15.

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