The Cicadas Return, but Not Everywhere

miceli1 6332123a1bf67593 35614b92b99adda31 The Cicadas Return, but Not Everywhere

Tag sale-ing took on a new atmosphere while traveling through Southington and Meriden the second weekend in June. In addition to scurrying through treasures strewed about on lawns or hidden away in garages, we listened to the washboard-band cacophony of the periodical cicadas. Unlike their annual cousins, this brood emerges only once every seventeen years. The male insects were feverishly vying for the attention of potential mates by signaling their presence. The colonies of cicadas, however, were not omnipresent, as some news reports would have had us believe, or like the biblical locusts to which they are sometimes inaccurately compared. Cicadas do not destroy crops or defoliate forests. There are not rainstorms of droppings or leaf pieces. Unlike the locusts, or another periodic pestilence, the gypsy moths, the cicadas don’t chew. In fact, they can’t. They have no chewing mouthparts. Instead, the nymph cicadas drink like aphids, feeding on xylem – the watery part of the plant sap – which they suck up through their proboscis (feeding tube). This doesn’t seem to hurt the trees and shrubs because the cicadas take only a small fraction of the water passing through the plants. 

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