Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Cicadas are Back

If you are a regular reader, you will already know a bit about the 13 year swarm of the red eyed devils (aka Cicadas). My last encounter with the little buggers has left me emotionally scarred, but at the same time I understand them. We bonded. Me and about a thousand female cicadas

So, with my experiences behind me, it surprised even me as to what happened last Friday.

I was leaving work and there on the floor, crawling about some five floors above ground level was a female cicada. (How did I know it was female? I'd rather not say, OK? Just read on...)

At first I merely shrugged and said "hey, you're in the wrong place there, girlie.." and headed for the elevator. But then I remembered a story I read about a man on a beach.

(Cue story sequence...glissando of harp, wavy visual effects)
So, as the story goes, a man was out after a storm and was walking along the beach and noted a huge number of starfish washed up on the beach from the storm.. He came upon another man who was picking up the starfish one by one and tossing them back into the sea.

"What are you doing?" asked the first man.
"I'm saving starfish." stated the second man.
"What for, you can't possibly save them all, nor can you save enough to make a difference."
The second man paused from the conversation to pick up a starfish and toss it into the sea.
"It makes a difference to this one." he said.
The two men spent the rest of the day throwing starfish into the sea.
(End Story sequence, cue glissando of harp, wavy visual effects, but not too much as they make me seasick...)

Ok, so I remembered the story a lot quicker than it took to tell. I looked over at the pathetic little thing and as the elevator door opened I made up my mind. I walked over and carefully grabbed the cicada by its closed wings. I was careful not to destroy the wings nor hurt her tail. (See? I know cicadas....)

I carried it back over to the elevator (it had waited for me with the doors standing open) and carried it all the way down to the lobby and out onto the plaza in front of our building. The wind was pretty heavy that day so I gently tossed her up into the wind in the direction it was blowing.

The cicada immediately flared her wings (proof I hadn't messed them up) and took to the air, heading right to a big bushy tree in the plaza (where I'm certain that she found some willing male cicadas with which to reside.) If she had stayed in the building, there was a good chance that the cleaning crew would have killed her, and now she at least had a chance to find a mate before the end of its cycle. (They only got about 6 weeks to mate and lay eggs.)

Yeah, my self satisfaction meter was off the charts. So much so that I totally forgot all about the crazy things when I went out to use the big string trimmer on the yard this weekend. Both the Lawn Mower and the trimmer brought out the cicadas in droves.. Droves? No that's too light a word. It was a veritable TORNADO of bugs! A Cacophony of Clicking Cicadas! It was an AIR TSUNAMI of...oh ok, I'll move on now....Oh and I learned something new. Male cicadas don't like some big studly white hatted wanna-be messing around in their space. They do not require a 'wingman.' To let you know this, they will dive bomb you making a horrendous screeching noise. Above is a picture of me covered in female cicadas. (The camera couldn't pick up the swarm as they danced around me, but you can see them on my shirt, pants and even on the edge of my hat!) I only wish I could add in the sound effects.

The best way to describe this is like being in the middle of a crowd of 14 yr old teenagers at a Justin Beiber concert. There's a lot of noise, YOU know what they want, and you also know there's no way anyone is getting it.

I love living in the south, even with all the big bugs.

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