Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Weird (Kinda Scary) @$$ Alabama...The 13 Year Plague Returns

Every 13 years, something strange happens here.  You hear a high pitched whine in the air and a hissing sound all around.  You look up and Tippy Hedren should have been thankful it was only birds...we have swarms and swarms of cicadas.  From sunup to sundown, getting louder and louder as the temperature climbs, millions of these creatures have been burrowing for years and now come up from the ground and split in two where a large flying bug with red eyes makes a shrill noise and flies off.  Nightmare fuel.

I held my iPhone up to the trees and recorded them singing.  Imagine this sound amplified about 200 times.

a better sounding one...

They like to swoop down in great numbers and get tangled up in women's hair, buzzing loudly as they dig deeper and scratch the scalp with their claws.  Ok, I made that up.  They're actually harmless, aside from making the birds morbidly obese here.

While many people see the mysterious cicadas as a nuisance and some find them frightening, they are actually harmless creatures that don't bite or sting in any way. According to the Jackson Sun, the red-eyed cicadas can even be eaten, and in some countries "are considered delicacies because of the high amount of protein they provide."
“There is no toxic component to cicadas,’’ [Grassmere Animal Hospital Veterinarian Carol] Machery said. “I’ve even heard of people storing them in a freezer for dog treats.”
WKSR reports that the cicadas should be around for 5-6 weeks before returning underground for another 13 years.

One word on eating them, not no but h-e double hockeysticks no!!!  And I'm NOT storing them in my freezer for the dogs!  My doggies can have their Beggin' Strips but no bugs, thank you so very much!

A kitteh nom nom noming on a cicada...I have had this happen with my kittehs, in the middle of the freaking night...not something fun to wake up from a dead sleep to!  SPOILER!  wait for the crunch and see if your back teeth hurt and got cold chills like I did!


Anonymous said...

EEEEE-YUCK! Give me a spider over one of those evil looking things ANY day! :D

FoolishCop said...

Mmmm! Yum! But I can't imagine eating those things.

But they seem to be out early by you. We usually don't see/hear them here in NJ till around June or so. Of course, we also don't get creepy ones with red eyes either.


Kara said...

I remember driving through a bunch of those things one year when we had a "infestation" scared the crap outta me cause I didn't know what the heck they were. BTW squashed cicadas are hard to get off your car. Creeeepy little buggers.

Anonymous said...

Neat. I miss the sound of insects like that. They don't have them here in England. It's just not a Summer night without the symphony of cicadas, crickets et al.

Cobwebs said...

Heh. We get the non-plaguey kind in VA every summer. Their sound reminds me a bit of a phaser reaching critical mass.

My large-and-dopey dog found one on the ground once and picked it up with her mouth. It wasn't dead, so it buzzed, and she jumped about three feet in the air and dropped it. Then, curious, she picked it up again, it buzzed again, and she dropped it again. This went on for several minutes, pick up, buzz, look surprised, drop, lather, rinse, repeat until I finally took pity on them both and tossed it into the bushes.

I never thought about using them as a protein source. I'd be concerned about whether they harbor any kind of intestinal parasites.

Anonymous said...

I posted a comment on this a couple of days ago. Must have got trashed when Blogger went down.

Anyway, there's nothing like a warm Summer night and the symphony of insects.

Jeanne said...

So call me crazy (Yes, you have my permission!) but I am looking forward to this "plague". This will be the last summer I will be spending in the South and I do want to remember this special serenade. :0)

Archive Librarian said...

I love cicadas! It was a magic childhood with bug's like these ( and June bugs, and fireflies) but I'm jealous as I don't remember the red-eyed 13 cycle types growing up in Bama. I remeber the greenish-brown ones from every year - hearing the sound of these moving across the landscape above our heads in the tops of the trees... playing with them to try and make them chitter and buzz... and all those cool carapace skeletons they left behind...!!!