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Old 05-13-2004, 06:31 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Location: USA
What's the Buzz? (Cicada Invasion)

Any day now, we'll be surrounded by billions of animals that weren't here the day before.

Actually, they've been here all along, but underground. Soon they'll climb up out of the earth and engulf our senses.

................


Billions of cicadas set to plague US


NewScientist.com news service

A widespread resurrection, orgies on a biblical scale, and births and deaths numbering in the billions will all soon be on display in the eastern US as a uniquely enormous population of insects known as 17-year cicadas bubble up from the ground.

As their name suggests, these insects are famous for emerging from their subterranean nurseries on a predictable, but oddly-spaced schedule. Some species have a 13-year life cycle, others appear every 17-years.

Different broods of the insects emerge almost every year in some part of the US. But 2004's crop of red-eyed, winged insects, ominously referred to as Brood X, is special, says Michael Schauff of the Agricultural Research Service's Systematic Entomology Laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland.

"Brood X is the largest single emergence of the species," he says. "When they come out they are literally everywhere. It's impossible to ignore."


Skin crawling


This huge generation of cicada nymphs will begin to emerge in earnest by mid-May. They were spawned in 1987. They push out of the soil, forming tiny dirt mounds at the base of trees, and then literally crawl out of their juvenile skins.

What follows is a frenzied few weeks of feasting off plants, mating, egg laying and death. But before the end of the summer, the next generation will settle in for their very long dirt nap.

It has long been a mystery how cicadas mark time without any reference to the Sun or other seasonal signals. The current leading theory was developed by Richard Karban's team at the University of California at Davis. His experiments suggest that cicadas somehow count the yearly surges of nutrients in roots that they suckle on in their underground lairs (New Scientist print edition, 16 September 2000).

Once the appropriate year rolls around for their revival, the slight warming of the soil probably tells them spring has sprung and drives them to the surface. Scientists are now using genetic tools to try to understand how the cicada clock works on a molecular level.

Males of the species call out to their mates with an infamous love song that to human ears is as sexy and sometimes as loud as a lawn mower ripping through tall grass. The 17-year cicada also endears itself to humans by making backyards uninhabitable, pelting windshields and clogging machinery. But the insects do little actual damage to crops or people.


Tasty treats


The imminent burst of cicadas has triggered a burst of research. For example, Mike Raupp's team at the University of Maryland, College Park, are planning to study how the sudden appearance of so many tasty treats affects aquatic ecosystems, how cicadas choose trees to snack on and methods to prevent cicada damage to young plants.

There also remains the mystery of why these creatures evolved such an odd lifestyle. Schauff endorses the idea that their extended life cycle gives them an edge over predators at the surface which breed on an annual or more frequent schedule .

He points out that the enormous size of the brood also is an effective adaptation. "Their predators, such as small birds and mice, get so full of cicadas, they literally can't eat any more. They are just overwhelmed."

Even a few human cicada connoisseurs take the opportunity to sample a buggy buffet. Most popular are the animals who have just moulted from their underground skins. "They are quite soft and take on the flavour of whatever you cook them in," Schauff reports. "They are not quite like a piece of meat, more like a small white potato that's been cooked."
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:36 AM   #2 (permalink)
No. It's not done yet.
 
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I am just waiting for them to apper. Any day now....
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:40 AM   #3 (permalink)
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that's cool ... I'm glad I live in the UK!

13 and 17 are both prime numbers... interesting eh?
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Old 05-13-2004, 06:52 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Location: Alexandria, VA
I've seen a few dead ones lying around already - but the real invasion has yet to begin, and I'm not too sure I'm looking forward to it.
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Old 05-13-2004, 07:14 AM   #5 (permalink)
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Location: Northeast Jesusland
They started on the south lawn of my house last night, just a couple dozen. The nymphs give me the blue willies when they crawl on me (and with as many popping out of the ground as there were, a couple decided I was a likely vertical surface - gaaaaah!), but the imagoes are beautiful, and the adults are pretty too (in a totally different way.) I'm really looking forward to this. I am going to head out tonight with a digital camera and a flashlight.

I want to brew a Barley Wine to last 'til the next batch (a good barley wine can last 17 years) and call it "Brew 10".

As long as I am going stream of conscious on this, I was putzing about on GIS th'other day and discovered that there are something like <a href="http://www.zen.uq.edu.au/entomology/ins-info/">60 species of these buggers</a> in Eastern Queensland and New South Wales, Austrailia, and some of those are stunning.

<img src="http://www.zen.uq.edu.au/entomology/ins-info/index_files/image003.jpg">
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Old 05-13-2004, 07:20 AM   #6 (permalink)
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yep, thanks TH - they are awesome robot-like creatures.

I heard the first two on our lawn yesterday.
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Old 05-13-2004, 08:30 AM   #7 (permalink)
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Location: tentative, at best
We get em every year in Houston - it's an annual ritual to go around the house with a broom, knocking the shells off of the sides of the house.
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Old 05-13-2004, 09:07 AM   #8 (permalink)
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Yes, there are many species - this one, Brood X, is the big kahuna - they are on a 17-year cycle. This is the year.

http://news.independent.co.uk/world/...p?story=520364
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Old 05-13-2004, 09:16 AM   #9 (permalink)
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Have fun. Those turds are loud in addition to being big and ugly.
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Old 05-13-2004, 09:56 AM   #10 (permalink)
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We've been waiting for Brood X to pop up for a couple days now. Supposedly when they do hit it's gonna be nasty, but they supposedly taste pretty good.

I haven't seen any yet, but there's going to be something on the order of 1 million per acre of land. Basically they all wake up, have a giant orgy, then lay their eggs.

Sounds like an ideal life.
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:29 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by DelayedReaction
We've been waiting for Brood X to pop up for a couple days now. Supposedly when they do hit it's gonna be nasty, but they supposedly taste pretty good.

I haven't seen any yet, but there's going to be something on the order of 1 million per acre of land. Basically they all wake up, have a giant orgy, then lay their eggs.

Sounds like an ideal life.
1 million per acre? Jesus christ, call in the national guard.
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Old 05-13-2004, 01:56 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I think I kinda miss their stir.

<embed src="http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/fauna/michigan_cicadas/Periodical/mp3sounds/ndecimCIII.mp3", loop=TRUE>

Last edited by Astrocloud; 05-13-2004 at 02:02 PM..
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Old 05-13-2004, 03:26 PM   #13 (permalink)
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They don't invade South Florida, do they?
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Old 05-13-2004, 03:34 PM   #14 (permalink)
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We get em up in north western PA here, but not invasions, just here and there. Loud lil buggers.
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:13 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by Astrocloud
I think I kinda miss their stir.

<embed src="http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/fauna/michigan_cicadas/Periodical/mp3sounds/ndecimCIII.mp3", loop=TRUE>
Quote:
Originally posted by Astrocloud
I think I kinda miss their stir.

<embed src="http://insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/fauna/michigan_cicadas/Periodical/mp3sounds/ndecimCIII.mp3", loop=TRUE>
This is one of the best shots I seen. Job well done.

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Old 05-13-2004, 05:23 PM   #16 (permalink)
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Location: Philadelphia, PA
Biological Manifestations (The Cicada)

I still call them locust anyway. but I still love collecting these things. I thought they were supposed to come out about 2 years ago as advertised, yet they never did as current predictions are now saying again. Was it an El Nino phenomenon or something?

Can't wait....need various specimens, mutations and an ample supply for pluging some Largemouth Bass this summer on the top water action....OH YEAH!!!


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Old 05-13-2004, 05:50 PM   #17 (permalink)
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I... HATE... THAT.... NOISE
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:54 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Location: upstate NY
I think they're coming out right now........I mean literally right this second. I just took the dog out and in the woods all around us the leaves are rustling. It's kind of like the sound field mice make in the leaves, except it's coming from everywhere, in all directions at the same time. A little eerie, but so fascinating!
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Old 05-13-2004, 05:55 PM   #19 (permalink)
Giggity Giggity!!
 
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Location: N'York
Pestilence, War,...shoot, I'm starting to get hungry and it hasn't rained here in days!
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Old 05-13-2004, 07:55 PM   #20 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally posted by WarWagon
I... HATE... THAT.... NOISE
i agree, fucking took me off guard. lol
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Old 05-13-2004, 08:47 PM   #21 (permalink)
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Location: I dunno, there's white people around me saying "eh" all the time
Quote:
Originally posted by DelayedReaction
We've been waiting for Brood X to pop up for a couple days now. Supposedly when they do hit it's gonna be nasty, but they supposedly taste pretty good.

I haven't seen any yet, but there's going to be something on the order of 1 million per acre of land. Basically they all wake up, have a giant orgy, then lay their eggs.

Sounds like an ideal life.
I'd hit it
Then I'll eat it
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Old 05-13-2004, 08:48 PM   #22 (permalink)
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Location: Alexandria, VA
Saw a couple dozen today, and supposedly in Columbia, MD they're crawling all over the place. They don't seem that bad, but I think it's gonna freak me out to see so damned many bugs.
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:13 PM   #23 (permalink)
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Location: IN, USA
ok.. the noise.. I'm used to it.. they always "chirp" starting about 4-5 PM on summer evenings, but I did NOT need that auto play thingy going. On top of that whoever quoted that autoplay TWICE.. please don't ever do that again. Here I thought my harddrive was making noises.. I was afraid it was about to go bad, then I realize my headphones are on the ground and I have three instances of the noise playing over and over and over again. Arg.

I've completely habituated to most of their noises... hearing their calls just reminds me that its summer time once more... To me their calls is just like seeing a robin in spring time.
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Old 05-13-2004, 10:39 PM   #24 (permalink)
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STOP STOP STOP IT STOP THAT SOund PLEASE!!!!!!! Its driving me insane!
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Old 05-13-2004, 11:48 PM   #25 (permalink)
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Location: Sydney, Australia
Cicadas are so cool. I love trying to find the ones that aren't so common and look absoultely AMAZING.

Just glad they're not around EVERY year.
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:32 AM   #26 (permalink)
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I knew I loved dialup for a reason.

You can come here and have a chat and then hear the story.

This inspires

Thanks plenty Art.
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:39 AM   #27 (permalink)
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sho' nuff, cchris.

getting ready for the population explosion - at a million an acre, we'll have 14 million!
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Old 05-14-2004, 06:56 AM   #28 (permalink)
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That's a lotta protein.

I remember them when they popped up in Cleveland. They're not bad, they just are. I really like that note about 13 and 17 being prime. There may be something to that, as to the reason they're the periods involved.

I mean, if you have too many of these critters all at once, perhaps they compete too much with each other. If they only pop up at multiples of 13 and 17 years, the number of times they'll encounter each other will be somewhat lower, making for less competition.
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Old 06-08-2004, 08:57 AM   #29 (permalink)
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There has been no emergence of Brood X in our secluded valley here within 100 miles of Philly. Nearby areas have them but not us - so far anyway. We have noticed that spring things are a week or two behind in our sheltered ecosystem. But it does seem to be a pattern in the NE.

........................................

This isn't Philadelphia's

Missing: One large, loud Cicada invasion.

Philadelphia Inquirer

About those cicadas.

Maybe next time.

If you're not ducking swarms of them, donning noise-killing headphones, or blasting them off the porch with a power washer, you probably won't be.

We're about halfway through the emergence of Brood X, the 17-year cicadas that are wreaking havoc with PGA tournaments in Ohio and violating OSHA sound rules in Maryland...

And fizzling, like the comet Kohoutek, in Philadelphia.

In fact, there has not been a bona fide Brood X sighting inside the city limits, according to Jason Weintraub, entomologist at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia - although a man from Mayfair named Johnny Johnson did write to a bug Web site about a ghostly white nymph attached to his rowhouse.

In New Jersey, you'd be hard-pressed to find one south of Princeton, Weintraub says.

In suburban Philadelphia, noisy knots of biblical proportions have descended on neighborhoods in Haverford and Bryn Mawr. They're thick in Marlborough Township's Green Lane Park, choking pockets of Chester County.

Reports collected by the American Entomological Society back him up: On the whole, Brood X has been a bust around here.

Blame development. Blame insecticide. Blame the media.

Yes, Weintraub says, it is possible that concrete has covered some of the eggs laid 17 years ago, and that pesticide runoff has killed others.

But today's brood is just as hit-and-miss as it was in 1987, when these periodic pests last emerged, Weintraub says. And that didn't stop predictions of plague proportions.

"There was all this unbelievable media hype in 1987... . The brood's emergence was patchy. They were hard to find."

The closest place to experience Brood X in biblical numbers is the most forested areas between Baltimore and the Beltway north of Washington.

"I was driving up from D.C. Memorial Day weekend, and the sound is deafening," Weintraub says. "I had my car windows rolled up and I had the radio on, and I could hear the cicada songs over that."

The first cicadas emerged around Philadelphia about two weeks ago, and have another two weeks to go before they start dwindling. "Some stragglers are probably emerging now, but most adults have probably already emerged and mated, and the females are flying around, getting ready to lay their eggs," says Weintraub.

"If you have not seen them in your neighborhood," he adds, "you probably won't."

Brood X's spotty performance on the East Coast has made some cicada watchers green.

"Anyone know if they are just 'sleeping in?' " asked Greg, of Brunswick, Md., on cicadamania.net.

"I'm so bummed..." wrote Sebastian of Birmingham, N.Y., on learning that the bugs would pass by his city, an hour north of the Pennsylvania border. "I've been soooo anticipating this, too."

Those lucky enough to have encountered Brood X in full force have come away impressed.

Jeff Justin of Philadelphia, writing on the same Web site, described Thursday what it was like to walk past Haverford College:

"Saw red-eyed cicadas on sidewalk and heard loud squealing sound like a fan motor with a bad bearing. But it was coming from all directions. And for miles."

Those missing the distinct sounds of the three varieties of 17-year cicadas can listen to them on an Internet page maintained by the University of Michigan zoology museum:

insects.ummz.lsa.umich.edu/

fauna/michigan_cicadas/

Periodical/Index.html#

Magicicada%20broods

Or they can do what Bill Menke, a landscape architect from Swarthmore, does now that he's convinced that he's been spared the noisy visitors:

Go to bed with the windows open.

"You can sleep easy," he says, "because you don't have to listen to them."
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Last edited by ARTelevision; 06-08-2004 at 09:04 AM..
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Old 06-08-2004, 09:37 AM   #30 (permalink)
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Location: Wish I was on the N17...
There's a great cicada photo here:

http://www.cincinnati.com/freetime/cicadas/

I have million of these buggers all around my house. If you disturb them they fly off from the trees or bushes leaving behind a very visible trail of what I would assume is "bug spooge". It's white dropplets of stuff that pretty much disappears.

Can't wait for the HERD OF LAWN MOWERS noise to die down.
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Old 06-08-2004, 03:14 PM   #31 (permalink)
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I think the sound of the neighbors' lawn mowers is more annoying, especially when I'm trying to sleep in on a Saturday morning
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Old 06-08-2004, 04:44 PM   #32 (permalink)
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OMG billions of terrorist cicadas will come from the underground and attack America!!!!

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Old 06-08-2004, 04:48 PM   #33 (permalink)
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Location: the 'Ville
We've had them for about a month here in Kentucky. Its annoying, but they don't cause too much trouble. Its very localized where they have invaded. There's one part of Louisville where they are horrible on one side of the interstate and the other side has none. The cicada's are really thick around Cincinnati.
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Old 06-08-2004, 06:09 PM   #34 (permalink)
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OMFG... I don't mean to hijack this thread, but whoever put the soundclip of them in here scared the living shit out of me. I was minding my own business, slowly reading the replies and that sound comes out of nowhere... If you don't realize its the bugs, it sounds like some sort of demonic clown killing souls or something. It scared the living crap out of me. THANKS A LOT!!
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Old 06-09-2004, 03:20 AM   #35 (permalink)
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My uncle in Baltimore has had the discovery channel and national geographic on his street a few weeks back due to the millions of cicadas there. He said it was cool for a bit but after 2 days when you can hear the constant drone of their wings and mating sounds over the TV it got old real quick.
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