click on the images for magnification
I was a teenager in 1990 when the cicadas last appeared in Southern Wisconsin. What a sight they were and even until a few years ago my family reminisced about them…”Remember the cicadas?” While a few stragglers hatched a year too soon (last year) they’re definitely out in full-force this year. The pictures (above) show adult cicadas (which are just over an inch long). I took these over the Memorial Day weekend in Williams Bay, Wisconsin. There are hundreds of them all hugging the trunks of trees and bushes…mainly around the majestic oak trees. At first it’s a little creepy, but when you realize that they don’t move very fast, don’t bite or sting they become very interesting! To understand the third picture you have to learn a bit about them. For the past 17 years, the young cicadas have been burrowing underground. Once the soil temperature warms on the seventeenth year, they pop out of the ground leaving dime sized holes all over the ground. Once they’re out of the ground they shed their skin, revealing an adult cicada with wings. Once their wings are all dried out, they are ready for flight. The cicadas then fly up to the treetops and begin singing. Only the males make noise…in order to attract a female. Once they reproduce, the male dies…and the female lays her eggs in the tree. Once the young hatch, they fall to the ground and burrow in the ground for exactly seventeen years. Seventeen year cicada broods are shown as blue on the map above. Thirteen year cicada broods are shown in red.
If you don’t have any of these buggers in your yard this week, perhaps you should think about taking a trip up to the Lake Geneva area. But hurry! They won’t last but a few more weeks. -ERIC
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