Look who’s coming back! It’s our friend, the loud and electric sounding Cicada. But don’t get too grossed out yet – it may not be exactly what you think, if you’re thinking about 2013 when the little suckers where everywhere.
The buzz about town is the return of the 17-year Cicada, however, when you look at a map of just where they are expected to surface, the closest area to us is in Shenandoah County. This time around, it’s the folks just to the west of us who will get the brunt of it. These suckers are expected to surface in Allegheny, Augusta, Bath, Highland, Richmond, Rockingham, Shenandoah Counties. Being just outside of their surfacing range, we may see some in May, when the ground temperatures reach the required 64 degrees Fahrenheit at 7-8 inches below the surface. An early release may be brought on by a warm rain or even a forest fire like the one in Shenandoah.
According to Cicada Central, “Cicadas are probably best known for their conspicuous acoustic signals or “songs”, which the males make using specialized structures called tymbals, found on the abdomen. Female cicadas do not have tymbals, but in some species the females produce clicking or snapping sounds with their wings. Some males augment their tymbal sounds by making wing clicks as well. After mating, females lay eggs in grass, bark or twigs; the eggs hatch later in the season and the new nymphs burrow underground. As juveniles and adults, cicadas use piercing and sucking mouthparts to feed on the xylem fluid of plants.”
If you’re looking for a science project or you want to participate in collecting research data (report sightings), visit http://www.magicicada.org. You can find just about anything that is currently understood about Cicadas and maybe even help with learning more.
Christina Chee is a lifestyle and real estate consultant who loves to share insights that help others to live happy and empowered lives in Northern Virginia. Learn more about how you can make your Northern Virginia experience a great adventure — whether you’re new to the region or a life-long resident. Contact her here or visit www.virginialifestyles.com.