Sunday, February 7, 2021

17 Year Cicadas Returning! Photos and Video from 2004

Has it really been 17 years already? I remember May 2004, I was taking organic chemistry as a summer class at Miami University in Oxford, OH. There were piles of dead cicada on the sidewalk that I would ride my bike through on the way to class. Every morning a dozen shells would be on my bike outside the apartment. In the morning, the emerging adult cicada would be white and drying their exoskeletons on or near their discarded shell. I heard on a radio show that you could cook and eat the still soft white ones so I gave it a try with some mushrooms and green onions. They taste vaguely nutty. Read more about periodical cicada in Indiana

17 year cicadas returning in 2021! Photo from 2004
17 year cicadas returning in 2021! Photo from May 24, 2004

Summer 2004 was also the year I got my first digital camera, and thanks to backing up my hard drives I still have all my college hard drives intact for posterity. I even have AIM logs of instant message conversations, it's a real rabbit hole! 

I think there were more cicadas in Oxford, OH than there will be in my suburban development in Noblesville, Indiana because I think they need undisturbed ground to mature, and with all the farming and development around here I just don't know how many areas of woodland haven't been turned over in 17 years. Probably a great deal, I'm sure the cicadas will be hard to miss, but I don't think I'll wake up to them covering the walls of my house that was just built last year. I guess we'll see and I'll be able to take photos for the future to document how many there were. 

In fact the article I linked to mentioned "Cicadas are abundant only in areas where trees harbored the eggs of the previous generation" so I think due to the large old trees in Oxford, Ohio we had a lot of them. All the trees in my lot were just planted, but we do have some wooded lots right behind and next to ours. 

Adult cicada emerging still white while it is drying out
Adult cicada emerging still white while it is drying out

cooking 17 year cicada
Pan fried cicada, you can see it's a fresh one where the wings haven't dried yet

17 year cicada covering tree
A particularly popular hang out spot

17 year cicada covering tree
Cicada covering trees in Ohio in 2004

17 year cicada covering tree
17 year cicada in Ohio from May 2004

17 year cicada mating photo
Cicadas mating back to back on the sidewalk

17 year cicada locust brick wall
Cicadas covering a brick wall in 2004

This great article from Purdue talks about the plants at risk of damage from cicada when the females lay their eggs in the tree branches. Maples made the high risk list and I have 3 different maple trees in my yard, just babies really. I hope they don't do too much damage, but it would be kind of nice to have this brood lay some eggs so in 17 years we have the fun of watching them emerge again. 

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