Interesting Facts About Cicadas
Video Of The Cicada Life Cycle
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What I Have Learned About Cicadas This Season
We have seen tons of Cicadas in the past month or so in Northern Virginia. I have driven through swarms of them. They sound like pebbles hitting the windshield.
My kids (especially my son) love bugs! They catch them, put them in their bug house and watch their every move. They run to me with any exciting news about the bugs that they capture. We look them up online. We even have a bug identification book!
Cicadas are very interesting bugs. They only come out once every 17 years to mate and then they die. This year was a huge year for Cicadas!
Why Are Their Wings On The Ground?
Squirrels and birds are predators of the Cicada.
Squirrels like to go after Cicadas. I am not sure if they eat them, but I have been told that they do grab the Cicadas wings and pull them off.
Birds like to eat Cicadas, but they do not like to eat the wings.
Those are the two main reasons you may see Cicada wings all over the place, but no Cicada.
Picture of a red-eyed Cicada
Transformation When Cicadas Die
My kids love to collect bugs. My son has a bug house where he keeps his bugs, but they usually don't last very long.
We have been able to catch a few Cicadas and put them into our bug house. They are very gentle bugs. They don't sting or bite. They do fly, but not very quickly. That is one of the reasons they are so easy to catch.
We noticed that the Cicadas eyes are red or orange-red while they are alive. When the Cicada dies, their eyes turn black.
After seeing this in the bug house, I started looking at the live and dead ones on the sidewalk while I was walking my dog. I noticed that the live Cicadas had red eyes and the dead Cicadas had black eyes there too.
I have only seen the Cicadas with red eyes. I know there are live Cicadas out there in other areas with black eyes, but I am just writing about the red-eyed Cicadas.
Where did you see Cicadas?
Why Are There More Cicadas In Some Areas Than Others
Have you ever noticed that you could be in one town or city and see tons of Cicadas on one street and barely any Cicadas a few streets away?
The reason for the variation is in developed land. If land has been touched in the past 17 years, while the Cicadas were sleeping, then they will not come up in that area.
I noticed that in new neighborhoods, there were no Cicadas. If I went on the trails in the woods beside the new developments, there were tons of Cicadas.
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Where Do Cicadas Go For The 17 Years That They Are Not Here?
Have you ever wondered where Cicadas go for 17 years? Well, The Cicadas stay underground for those 17 years! As soon as the ground warms up, they dig their way out of the dirt and make their appearance.
In areas where you hear and see Cicadas, you will also see tons of small holes in the ground. I went to the Manassas Battlefield In Northern Virginia and saw hundreds of these small holes on the trails going into the wooded areas.
When we passed over the trail with holes. We had several Cicadas land on us. My son loved it, but my daughter did not love it so much. They scared her since they were so big and had such prickly feet.
Up Close With Cicadas
My family and I decided to go to the Manassas Battlefield in the middle of Cicada season. That is when I had my first Cicada land on me since I was a kid.
Their feet feel prickly so they can grab on to things but they do not hurt. It is more of a suprise when they land on you. At first, I thought the Cicada was biting me, but it was just its feet.
They do not bite. I have had a bunch of Cicadas land on me and I have not been bitten by them once.
Adult Cicada Emerging from Nymph Skin
Cicadas molt just like snakes!
Did you know that Cicadas molt just like snakes? They do! Not only will you see lots of Cicadas, but you will see lots of gross Cicada skins that they have molted.
I noticed the molted skin mostly when they first came out from underground in the beginning of the Cicada season. After a few weeks, I mostly saw either live Cicadas, dead Cicadas or Cicada wings.
The Big 17 Year Return Of The Cicada
Since I live in Northern Virginia, I was able to experience the return of the Cicada first hand. The Cicada mainly showed up in the Washington D.C. area, which includes, Maryland, Virginia and Washington DC.
This brings back memories of when I was a young child. I remember growing up in Northern Ohio and seeing Cicadas covering everything in the woods. The sound was defeaning!
People don't get to experience the life cycle of the Cicada very often. It only happens a few times in a person's life and I am glad that I got to experience it twice so far!
© 2013 Melanie Casey