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
  • Today's Editorial: Experts showing the way for reform

    Domestic abuse remains one of the most prevalent crimes nationally yet remains routinely unreported.

    July 23, 2014

  • Feds ship 500 children to Pennsylvania

    HARRISBURG — An influx of unaccompanied children crossing the southern U.S. border is spilling into Pennsylvania, as state officials received word Monday that more than 500 are being housed in the commonwealth.

    July 22, 2014

  • Hope Lewis Inmate's widow wants $750,000 from Northumberland County

    SUNBURY — The widow of a Shamokin man who hanged himself inside Northumberland County Prison is demanding $750,000, the firing of all jail employees who worked the night of June 16 and a complete overhaul of policies and procedures for suicidal inmates.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Vancliff Lifer gets more time for molesting Danville girls

    WILKES-BARRE — A convicted murderer accused of having persuaded a former Danville woman to bring two girls to visit him in a northeastern Pennsylvania prison so he could molest them has been sentenced to additional prison time and fined.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Union County driver, 86, dies near Weikert

    WEIKERT — An 86-year-old Weikert man died in a one-car accident Tuesday morning, when he lost control of his vehicle on Weikert Road in front of the Union County Sportsman’s Club, veered off the road and slammed into a tree.

    July 22, 2014

  • Director hired for Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area

    BURNSIDE — An Anthracite Outdoor Adventure Area committee member with experience in the ATV industry was named the operations director of the park during Monday night’s authority meeting.

    July 22, 2014

  • Line Mountain hires expert to test gauge that failed

    MANDATA — Members of the Line Mountain school board Tuesday unanimously approved hiring an engineering expert to test a pressure gauge and fuel system that failed at the former Dalmatia Elementary School in February.

    July 22, 2014

  • 'Greatest con artist' gets 2 more years behind bars

    WILLIAMSPORT — The “greatest con artist” Senior Judge Robert Sacavage said he has ever seen was sentenced Monday to 2 more years in prison after he traveled outside the U.S. Middle District of Pennsylvania without permission and failed to report to his probation officer.

    July 22, 2014

  • 1obamanew.jpg Conflicting rulings on Obamacare

    A federal appeals court has delivered a serious setback to President Barack Obama’s health care law, potentially derailing subsidies for many low- and middle-income people who have bought policies.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • bearden9.jpg Bail reduced for Bearden

    Jasmine Bearden, who was arrested earlier this year on criminal attempted homicide charges for the alleged abuse of her six-week old baby, had her bail reduced in Union County on Tuesday morning.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

The Daily Marquee
Video
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.