May 28, 2008

Cicadas come to town

Travel a block or two away from the bustle and noise of Merrimon Avenue or Charlotte Street and you'd think something major was happening - construction, machinery, even a hovering space ship are three ways I've heard this incessant noise described.

But the distinctive sound is actually the 17-year emergence of cicadas, when they invade to mate, lay eggs - and they do it in very large numbers in pockets across the Southeast. This time around they've invaded Asheville, but I've heard that they hit the middle of the state last time. It's a pretty cool natural phenomenon, even if they do look a little gross when thousands of them cover the yard, trees, bushes, and plants.
It's been fun for the kids to see them for the first time, and it's been interesting to find out how many people don't really know what a cicada is, especially those in their 20s who don't remember - or haven't ever seen - an emergence like this! The colloquial tendency is to call them locusts, although they are not actually locusts at all. The wikipedia link above explains a little more about these insects and has a really cool time lapse of a cicada emerging from its shell.

From the Asheville Citizen-Times:
Cicadas take over -photos
Cicadas have invaded North Asheville -video
Cicada singing -video

Other cicada fun:
Earrings made from cicada wings


Tena said...

WHOA! The singing video is eerie!

I love the earrings though. ;)

How cool. I'm visiting Asheville this weekend (hence spending so much time on your blog!) and so I get to experience it....neat.

Keri said...

hopefully they'll still be in top form! definitely drive into the neighborhoods around Grove Park Inn and UNC Asheville...that's where you'll hear it :)

Lance Ball said...

I live in North Asheville and the infestation is so extreme in my neighborhood that we had the BBC and Discovery Channel on our block getting video coverage all week. Places in my yard are literally a carpet of spent shells.

I documented it when they first appeard in my flower bed back on May 8. Check out some of the pictures!

And my friend Bob wrote a bit about it as well.

Keri said...

Lance, I love your journal entry! Thanks so much for stopping by and commenting!