Cicadas Have Arrived
Posted on June 6, 2021 Posted by John Scalzi 42 Comments
Just the other day I was all, “Huh, I don’t hear any cicadas, I wonder what happened to them around here.” Today:
Yup, they’re about. It’s loud but not overwhelmingly so. No, the dog hasn’t eaten any as far as I can tell. I can’t say the same about the cats.
Any cicadas where you are?
I live in Michigan’s Bay County (“web of the Thumb”) – have not yet heard any cicadas.
No. VA they’ve been here over a week, the exoskeletons have pretty much disappeared. Still buzzing, they do go quiet when it rains. Our dog ignored them too. I’ll miss them when they’re gone.
Not sure if cicadas or tinnitus. The joys of aging!
They are all over the place here in Maryland and very loud
Those sound like the every-summer cicadas. The 17-year brood have a sound like an alien weapon in a 1950s SF movie — a high-pitched hum. Here in south central Indiana, we have both, at overlapping times of day — which means that in early afternoon, we have dueling cicadas.
Seattle is always cicada free. I understand that there are some species of cicadas that live in Washington state, but the not the infamous noisy, stinky type common to the eastern states.
A few. Billion.
There is a brood of the 17-year buggers that stretch through Missouri and eastern Kansas, but they aren’t on the same schedule as the East Coast bunches. None here in Wichita, but we might not notice: we have loads of the yearly cicadas plus (non-harmful) locusts and other loud summer bugs!
Here in eastern Nebraska we have the annual cicadas that get quite loud, but I understand they are nothing like the Eastern cicadas. There is wasp that preys on them that is truly frightening, but is mostly harmless to humans. It’s just huge!
No Cicadas here in So Cal, but lots of wild parrots.
Yes, they’ve been here in the DC area for the past three weeks.
It sounds like a constant, unearthly howl, and I expect I’ll start losing my sanity soon.
Karen A. Wyle from south central Indiana is absolutely correct: there’s nothing like this anywhere else as we’re reported to be the epicenter of Brood X.
I put a sound meter on my iPhone and measure the amplitude daily (the frequency is about 4KHz) and although the average is about 70dB (inside your house with the AC running is <40bB) today I found an area in which the volume peaked at nearly 90dB.
And you'll know you're really in cicada country when you smell them. The husks and carcasses are at least 6" deep at the base of my huge maple and oak trees and it smells like a rotting corpse. Just awful!
That enormous, treeless lawn of yours in your friend right now. Trust me on this!
None here in the San Francisco Bay area and strangely enough I miss their cacophony having grown up in the Ozarks. Don’t miss them flying into my face though.
Silver Spring, MD. Zillions of ’em, to coin a phrase. The last week or so, more of them can be observed flying (clumsily).
This time of day there are two simultaneous sounds: a steady-state phaser on low power, and a very fast shaking of maracas that rises and falls every 6 seconds or so.
Here in Louisville, I can hear them in the distance, but haven’t seen any yet. Other parts of the city, I’m told, have plenty.
As Tater mentioned earlier in the comments (hi Tater!) they are prevalent and LOUD here in central Maryland. I saw my first one on May 10 and I’m told they’ve hit their peak here. So far, only one has hitchhiked into the house on my shirt.
New Mexico: We have the usual summer cicadas, though they started a bit later than most years (just a few days ago) and today’s the first day they’ve been singing all day long as opposed to just the morning.
None on this side of the Atlantic.
I’m not aware of any reported in Iowa — just dumbass Republicans. I’d rather have cicadas.
Austin, TX. We get cicadas every year. I know it’s summer when I hear the first one. I’m expecting to hear the first one any day now.
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Nope, none in NYC so far, and we aren’t expecting any other than the usual few.
In Hong Kong, we get a similar noise in the parks from a similar insect. Happens most of the time when it’s hot, which is most of the time here.
Back when we could gather in crowds in Victoria Park, you’d often hear them falling into the call and response rhythm of speakers and crowds, i.e. the person with the bullhorn would say something, the crowd would respond, and in the silence after that, the insects would make a loud chittering.
Nothing noticeable here in central Stark County, Ohio, but we drove down to Powell for a niece’s grad party today and took quite a few on the winshield. The noise in my brother’s neigborhood was noticeable, but did not impede conversation outdoors.
The cicadas in 2004 were so much cooler. Those were REAL cicadas, man. This 2021 batch is just kind of lame.
The Smithsonian is offering some awesome Brood X items to commemorate this year’s hatch; I grabbed a tee since I figured it might be the ‘last hatch’ in my lifetime- a ‘Not My First Hatch.” I was in Kansas in 1987 for one of the 17 year hatches, and the noise is unreal…you can’t escape it, and it just bores into you. They were literally EVERYWHERE…
They have one party every 17 years and they don’t even eat anything, just play music and hook up. It does get old after a few weeks, but not to them (I think each one drops in for a few days, then dies, actually, but they’re not punctual).
I’ve had worse neighbors.
Actually, I’ve been a worse neighbor.
P.S. – They hit Grovers’ Mills two years before the Martians. Probably no connection there.
I’m on the Kentucky side of the Ohio river about 50 miles upstream from Cincinnati. That puts me right on the southeast border of Brood X. I’ve seen a few exoskeletons, but no living cicadas. We’ll be in the middle of Brood XIV in 2025.
I looked up the Texas cicadas – it had never occurred to me to do that until this year, when everybody keeps talking about them – ours are called “dog day” cicadas and they’re on a 13-year cycle, but some of them come out each year, so as somebody said above, we get them every summer. Some years they’re louder than others, but they’re always there.
Northern part of Prince George’s County, DC Metro area.
Can hear them when there’s nothing else making noise. Not as loud as the air conditioner or the regular car engine noise.
Here in PA it varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. I had friends over this weekend, and one who only lives 2 miles away was confused when he turned of his car engine and could hear something running. It wasn’t until he opened his door that he realized that the cicadas in my area are VERY LOUD. And their dead bodies are now everywhere. We are very much in the midst of it.
Suburban MD- loud, a friend with a ‘real’ audio monitor measured 85+ dB in her back yard and I’ve seen others on the internet posting higher.
I always think of the Martian death ray in the 53 War of the Worlds.
I attended an outdoor jam session in Potomac MD a couple of weeks back. Played three tunes with the house band, cicadas climbed up the back of my neck during two of them.
Lots of cicadas here in N. Virginia but I was visiting friends up in Columbia (MD) yesterday and the alien invasion really went to town on them; this weekend was probably something of a climax to this brood.
I live in rural Texas. The cicadas don’t usually show up until about mid-month. And then it’s just loud for a while. All of my dogs will eat them if they can reach them.
Montgomery County, MD here. They’re everywhere, and while my youngest has had “the talk,” we had to revisit it as the previous conversation didn’t include cloacas or ovipositors.
Sadly, I am in the desert Southwest, so no cicadas here, but my sister is visiting my mother in your old NoVa stomping grounds, and she has sent great pictures and videos of cicadas everywhere, and loud as can be. Glad you are getting some of them. I would love to experience this phenomenon.
“Here in PA it varies from neighborhood to neighborhood. I had friends over this weekend, and one who only lives 2 miles away was confused when he turned of his car engine and could hear something running.”
I don’t know if we were being trolled, but when the drone started this year someone posted on the neighborhood Facebook group for help tracking down the noise in the neighborhood- obviously someone’s heat pump/air conditioning compressor was failing, but they kept walking around and couldn’t find it….
My brother-in-law in Herndon VA has been doing audio analysis of the cicadas there. Up to 97 db in volume, which is as loud as power mower. Loudest frequencies are around 1340 hz with an even louder peak at 5.9 khz.
Both at our home in Arlington, VA and at our cabin near Berkeley Springs, WV, they are everywhere and super loud. We love them! FWIW, I think the ones you are hearing are the Cassinii species (Septendecim are the ones that sound like Star Trek TOS phasers, Septendecula have a more discrete CHEK-CHEK-CHEK call).
Another Montgomery County, MD resident here. Yes, they’re freakin’ loud.
I wound up getting dragged out onto my front porch by my son while listening to a reading on my home laptop during Balticon. After the reading I was hanging out in the con suite Zoom where I got to amuse the other folks present (including an Australian) as they could hear the cicadas clearly through my laptop mic whenever I unmuted to say something!
Nothing showing in Southeastern MA…but a friend in Virginia is sending me videos of them inundating her yard and the surrounding woods. It’s a constant buggy drone-sound! And evidently they tickle when they crawl up your leg!