Monday, May 16, 2011

Once in a Life Time!

Having been treated with topical steroids for mere mossie bites (which the doctor thought might be Brown Reclusive spider bites they were so bad) I have developed what I consider a healthy fear of insects here in North Carolina. I have always had a rather silly fear of moths, partly because they are all dusty when you squidge them. Last night I saw what looked like a large moth flying manically around the kitchen. I followed manically with the bug spray. I always feel bad when I spray the bugs because they seem to have a slow painful, tortured death. I suppose I shouldn’t given that lots of them here have the capacity to inflict that on me! It eventually plopped on the kitchen island, span around a little and fell off into the cat’s water. The cat was eating at the time and stepped back, sat down and looked up at me as if to say ‘Waiter, there’s a fly in my soup’
I scooped it out with kitchen roll expecting it to turn to dust. It didn’t. It wasn’t a moth. It looked like a cross between a cricket and a cockroach. It was a Cicada. I felt bad for killing it. They don’t bite or sting a
nd being ugly in itself shouldn’t really be a reason to die. I should have just stuck a small bag on its head.
I felt really bad for killing it because it had just got up, after a 13 year doze! I know this because i-neighbors told me. ‘They’ know everything. We had the head cheese from i-neighbors at our BBQ yesterday. Not only is he a great guy who makes wicked margaritas but he is ‘The Man’. He claims he is just the administrator but we know he is the Godfather of Azalea Lane. He is the font of all knowledge and the good folk ask all manner of things of him, from which dishwasher tablets to use to yesterday’s query:
‘It started catching my attention that there seems to be a siren like noise I hear every time I am out in my yard. This started a week or two ago. Has anyone noticed this? Any information on what this could be?’
The fun you could have answering that! Noise? What noise? In truth, I had wondered this myself over the last few days. At first I thought the noise was an over zealous water sprinkler mixed in with a house alarm. Both ideas were stupid, no one has house alarms and it has rained for days so no one would be stupid enough to water their lawn …would they?! I was able to ask i-neighbors in person. Turns out the hideous noise that has been going on for days isn’t sprinklers, alarms or amorous bull frogs (cos they are bloody noisy too!) but ‘an enormous brood of cicadas that covers parts of 16 states is beginning to wake from its 13-year slumber underground’ In fact it is the world’s largest ‘periodical brood’
We are one of the ‘lucky’ states to experience this phenomonem. There are billions of them (a million per acre) They went to sleep 13 years ago in the forests. While they were asleep someone turned much of where we are from forest to huge housing developments. We have a tiny bit of woodland at the back of our house. I think the cicadas are all concentrated there and the noise is unbelievable! It is the males singing for a mate! The things boys will do to get lucky! Thankfully they are not the ones that appear every 17 years – I think they might be locusts. A plague of cicadas- while failry gross is better than locusts. Cicadas only suck sap from trees and are themselves edible. Perhaps a side dish to some road kill? If I had known I could have captured a bowl full for the BBQ.  Mind you , even the cat wouldn’t eat it and cats diets are 20% insects. (note to self – you’ve got 4 years before the locusts arrive)
I feel really really bad for killing it as after lying underground for 13 years it only had a month to strut its stuff before it dies. An amazing life cycle with a short burst of life and I cut it shorter with bug spray!


  1. Entertaining and Educational as ever... excellent !! Note... you seem to imply that you will be in NC in 4 years time ?

  2. Noooooo! I have researched a little more and what I should note to self is that there are 15 different broods: 12 of the 17-year variety and three of the 13-year kind - So most years there is a brood hatching(except 2009 & 2010 whcih is why I didn't notice them last summer) so I have no chance of avoiding them if I stay in NC!

  3. They sound like a motor whining continuously and just for a bit of quiet I would happily zap the lot of them . Although to be honest you soon get used to it and I wouldn't really kill them all.

  4. Thanks for that Miss Attenborough

  5. Happy Birthday to your "little" girl too :D

  6. Cicadas..... Those things are kinda weird....... kind of interesting too...... don't zap them all.......... :-))))))