Posted on June 14, 2021 Posted by John Scalzi 16 Comments
You know what I heard this morning? Nothing! Which is the first for a couple of weeks; the cicadas, the literal background hum of the last fortnight, have mostly gone silent. Because they’re dead, you see. They crawled out of the ground, they mated, they laid eggs, and they died. There are a few stragglers still flying about, but they’re like people at a beach resort as autumn begins; they missed almost all of the fun. I hope they find love anyway.
In any event, even they will be gone in a couple of days, and that will be that until 2038. The nice thing around here, however, is that as the cicadas are going, the fireflies are arriving. They’re much more quiet than the cicadas. Not necessarily prettier — I think the cicadas looked pretty cool, actually — but maybe nicer to gaze at on a summer night. It’s a summer of bugs, it is.
You just put together a music room. Time to compose an ode to cicadas love song. Something with an 80s vibe maybe.
Is Summer of Bugs your next band name? What genre?
That’s just the Brood X cicadas, of course. There in parts of Ohio you also have V (2033), VII (2036), XIV (2025), XXII (2027), and probably some in-between.
First time I heard cicadas was in Ohio in 1977 and when I was there again in 1979. Not as loud as Brood X but if you sleep with the windows open, they kinda lull you to sleep.
I guess they’re about gone here in Virginia. I live right at the edge of their territory but heading north there was an abundance. (Our beagle enjoyed them; our terrier mix not so much.)
I lived in a city that had a profusion of birds – everything from hummingbirds to hawks. And plenty of mockingbirds who filled the air with their birdy jazz singing. But at the end of mating season who would be left out? The mockingbird who imitated that 8- part car alarm. You know – “ooooOOOp, WEEEDOOO WEEEDOOO, ACK ACK ACK ACK, etc. What a doofus!
amazing picture! those eyes!
cicadas give a whole new meaning (or more than one) to, “eats, shoots, and leaves.”
One big thing I miss from living in the Midwest and NJ is fireflies. They don’t exist in the Inland Empire.
Cicada wings are so beautiful!
In Princeton NJ there are a ton of them still. Seems they came out later here than in OH. Just trying to walk around town was crazy in some parts because of the swarms. There are cicada corpses everywhere. Be glad to not see them for a long time. Cicadas are like the drunk drivers of the bug world. They fly around hitting everything in their path.
Interesting that it went so quickly in your area. It’s been going for weeks here, although the phaser noise of the Septendecim ones is mostly gone… but I’m still hearing a lot of the other two, and they’re still flying all over the place. Then again, the DMV area has always been a hot zone for Brood X. In the Eastern Panhandle of WV, the Septendecim phasers are still firing… but it’s 5-10 dgrees F cooler up there, so I suspect it’s a week or so behind.
So jealous. They’re still going strong here.
And I envy you your fire flies. I haven’t had them since a neighbor installed mega outdoor lights. Not only can I read by them in the small hours of the morning but apparently the fireflies got out lighted by the lights and couldn’t find their mates.
I miss them.
I love fireflies! The last decade or so we see more of them here in central Kansas!
From the Downton Abbey Cookbook: “Mrs. Patmore’s Cicada Cream Soup” 😋
Speaking of fireflies, I bet sf nerds would be jealous of the toy filled bedroom in the music video for Fireflies by Owl City.
They’re only here for the three F’s: Feeding, Fighting, and Mating.
We were really surprised and sad to learn that there are no Fireflies out west. This happened on our first real vacation when we visited cousins in far NW Washington St. Then one of them visited back east, she was dumbstruck by the flickering in the woods.
That would be nearly enough to make me move back to WV if I had actually moved out west. No Fireflies!?? Nope!
When we moved from the original old farmhouse shack down by the county road and the narrow bottoms of grass and brush, up into the wooded hillside cove, there were way fewer flashes of lightning bugs — there are some of them that live in the woods, but not thick like the pastures, where tons of them rise a few inches above the tops of the grass to flicker for love.
Regarding bright outdoor lighting, that’s actually against the building code in Cochise county Arizona, where they take dark sky visibility very serious. There are a ton of hobby observatories, and quite a few major scientific observatories in southern Arizona. Down lights are required, and we use small LEDs that I can turn off to dark-adapt to see the Milky Way, etc.
My AZ cousin was a real estate agent, and made big bucks putting together a large acreage sale to an astronomy group which put together a housing development with NO Outdoor lighting whatsoever. They all have back yard observatories, very serious big glass, retired Hi-Tech scientists pursuing their dreams looking into deep space i retirement.