The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA

News

May 25, 2013

Cicadas: They can’t hurt you

By Christina Barron

The Washington Post

Have you heard the buzz? There’s a lot of buzz, or talk, about a certain insect that shows up once in a long while but in such big numbers that it’s impossible to ignore. But there’s also a sound, a buzzing or whirring that might remind you of a grass trimmer.

Yes, we are talking about cicadas: 1 1/2-inch-long, slow-flying insects with dark bodies and red eyes. Male cicadas are the noisy ones. Their call to females fills the air with a buzzing sound.

These cicadas aren’t the ones you see occasionally in the middle of the summer. These are periodical cicadas — 15 broods, or groups, that each appear only once in 13 or 17 years.

This year’s batch is called Brood II. (“II” is the Roman numeral for the number 2.) They have been underground since 1996, shortly after they hatched from eggs. (Your parents might remember them or Brood X, which showed up in 2004.) They emerge in May or early June, once the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees.

Brood II will appear along the East Coast, from North Carolina to Connecticut, but cicadas probably won’t show up in all areas. While the city of Washington, for example, may not see many of the creatures, heavy numbers are expected in Southern Maryland and the outer Virginia suburbs — and by “heavy numbers,” we mean there might be a couple million on your block.

That’s a lot of cicadas!

Dan Babbitt, manager of the National Museum of Natural History’s Insect Zoo, says there’s no need to worry.

“They can’t hurt you in any way,” Babbitt said. “And they don’t hurt animals.”

Newly planted trees probably should be covered to protect them from egg-laying female cicadas, Babbitt said. Bigger trees may lose small branches but otherwise will be fine.

Animals will see them as a tasty, protein-filled treat. Birds, mice, raccoons, opossums and other animals will eat them.

“I heard lots of stories of dogs going nuts” in 2004 because they enjoyed the flying snacks so much, Babbitt said.

The bugs’ exoskeleton is hard to digest, so animals may get sick if they eat too many.

Babbitt says humans, too, can eat cicadas, once they’re cooked.

“Roasting them was a good way to go,” he said, thinking back to 2004. “You can put them on the grill. I wasn’t a huge fan, but some people love them. It’s similar to eating a )soft-shell) crab.”

If you aren’t interested in tasting them, Babbitt suggests going out at night as dozens of nymphs come out of their holes and crawl up nearby trees.

“Watching that is pretty amazing,” he said.

The whole cicada spectacle will not last long. Adults live only four to six weeks. So by mid-July, Brood II cicadas will be history — that is, until 2030.

1
Text Only
News
  • xfire20b.jpg Firefighters battle blaze at BJ's in Danville

    DANVILLE — A fire Sunday damaged BJ’s Steak & Rib House, 291 Mill St., and endangered a neighboring shop and apartment building.

    April 20, 2014 6 Photos

  • Chase leads to jail

    MILTON — Charges were pending Sunday against a man allegedly tied to a rash of recent burglaries in Milton borough who ran from Milton Police on Saturday.
     

    April 20, 2014

  • Police: 3 steal debit cards, $10G in jewelry for drug trip to NY

    NEW BERLIN — Three Valley teenagers are under investigation for allegedly stealing debit cards and roughly $10,000 in jewelry from three parked vehicles in Union County earlier this month to fund a trip to New York to buy drugs.

    April 20, 2014

  • Valley farmers keep eye out for deadly pig virus

    CAMP HILL — Pork producers across the commonwealth — and in the Valley — are on the alert for a still existing virus that last year killed 12 piglets in Pennsylvania and a million piglets around the country.

    April 20, 2014

  • Loaded language

    Sometimes it’s the offhand remark that’s the most telling. Indeed, the way we Americans casually, often unthinkingly, incorporate gun metaphors into our everyday slang says a lot about how deeply embedded guns are in our culture and our politics, and how difficult it is to control or extract them. Consider this list, presented as bullet points — which are themselves so conventional, so central to the typography of mind-numbing PowerPoint presentations, that you can forget what their shape represents.

    April 20, 2014

  • Prize claim cost man $1,829

    WINFIELD — Western Union is doing what it can to educate people about the risks in wiring money. An entire section on its website (www.westernunion.com) is devoted to providing information that might reduce the risk of people falling victim to fraud schemes.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Reel good time enjoyed by 200 young anglers

    TREVORTON — It only took about three minutes for J.C. Wallish to reel in his first fish at the Little Shamokin Creek Watershed Association’s annual Youth Trout Derby on Saturday.
     

    April 19, 2014

  • Elytte Barbour's 'bad trip' put him on the road to prison, friend says

    SUNBURY — A former roommate of slaying suspect Elytte Barbour drove 450 miles from North Carolina to spend 45 minutes in the Northumberland County Prison with his best friend last week, and was not surprised when he heard Barbour say: “I am afraid to spend the rest of my life in jail.”

    April 19, 2014

  • bonehunt20a.jpg 60 dogs battle for biscuits at annual bone hunt

    It was a scene similar to ones playing out all over the nation this weekend: nervous parents holding baskets and bags, watching their little ones search for goodies in the grass.

    April 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Arizona tribe set to prosecute first non-Indian under a new law

    PASCUA YAQUI INDIAN RESERVATION, Ariz. — Tribal police chief Michael Valenzuela drove through darkened desert streets, turned into a Circle K convenience store and pointed to the spot beyond the reservation line where his officers used to take the non-Indian men who battered Indian women.
     

    April 19, 2014

The Daily Marquee
Poll

How do you eat your chocolate Easter bunny?

Feet first
Tail first
Ears first
     View Results
Photo Galleries
The Valley

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.