Neighborhood Nature

Our Family's Nature Blog

What Happened to this Year’s Cicadas? August 25, 2009

Filed under: Animals,Bugs,Puzzles and Mysteries,Seasons,Summer — saltthesandbox @ 12:54 pm
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I’m still wondering what happened to this year’s cicadas in our neighborhood. It’s a warm day in late August, yet it’s way too quiet here in south Oak Park. With all our big old trees to feed cicada nymphs, we usually have a pretty deafening chorus this time of day. However, this summer the cicada chorus has been pretty much of a bust through the hot part of the day, then a little louder at dusk. My family has found about a dozen shed cicada skins, but so far no live cicadas or dead adults have crossed our paths. What’s more, traffic on our Kids’ Cicada Hunt home page is way down — less than half of previous years.

On the other hand, I’ve seen maybe 10 times as many Cicada Killer Wasps as usual, mostly because I saw a couple of leks* at sand traps on the Columbus Park Golf Course. Also, traffic is high on my Cicada Killer web pages (here and here, and especially this photo of my then-five-year-old son’s hand). (The week-old blog post is already number 2 with a bullet on my list of all-time top posts.) It makes me wonder what all those mommy wasps are going to feed their babies!

So, how are the cicadas in you life doing? Same as usual, fewer — or are they blasting your ears out? Inquiring minds, like mine, want to know. Is anyone else worried what happened to their cicadas?


*A Cicada Killer Wasp lek is an area where the Cicada Killers emerge and congregate, and the males fight for the right to mate with females of their species. (See here and here.)


4 Responses to “What Happened to this Year’s Cicadas?”

  1. Bob Says:

    In my neighborhood (in Southwestern PA) I’ve seen some live and dead cicadas, but the volume and frequency of their buzzing is definitely down from last year.

  2. Mary Ellen Connelly Says:

    In southeast South Dakota, we’ve hardly heard a whimper from the cicadas. I’ve seen a few dead ones and checked the rough trunk of old spruce and concolor fir where there are normally dozens of exoskeletons stuck to the bark. I did hear them start up in mid July one week and heard them last evening, a hotter night that usual for this year. We’ve had an unusually cool and wet summer and thought that might effect them. Our city sprays for mosquitos and have been doing so for several years. I’m not sure what pesticide they spray, perhaps a form of malathion.

  3. Eve Kiehm Says:

    Hi, guys! – I’m a children’s writer and have written a story about a cicada
    for which I did a lot of research. The things I’d like to know are 1) when is
    the next BIG cicada sighting due in the Chicago/Midwest area? And is that usually the largest group?I believe the last major one was around 2 – 3(?) years ago but am unsure when the seventeen-year “host” is expected
    and would really appreciate an answer from some knowledgeable person.
    Thank you! Eve K.

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