June 1, 2007

Attack of the Cicadas!

The Cicadas are here the cicadas are here! If you are not in the midwest or in the United States you may not have heard... we get the periodical Cicada... or the Magicicada... they rise from the ground and climb into the trees every 17 years in droves! Ick!

We were at Brookfield Zoo this week and saw tons of them... lucky for me my backyard doesn't look like this! It was fun to see them; and at the zoo where they can stay thank-you-very-much.

That is a pile of live Cicadas and their molted shells at the base of this tree. It moved... ick!


Here is a close up of the icky pile.


Then they climb up the tree and slowly pull out of their shells. Some of the shells stick to the trees and some fall and blow all over... (The zoo's sidewalks were a bit crunchy). Then the Cicada's sun themselves on the tree or the ground until their wings are outstretched and dry. Then they fly around and make a ton of noise. (don't you love my scientific verbiage?)


Cicada that's almost ready to fly!


More disturbing than the Cicada's was the "Lord of the Flies" mob mentality of some of the children at the zoo (following a parental lead I am sure). At many turns we saw little clusters of children stomping Cicadas... shouting "get em, get 'em!" at one point my Andy ran to a crowd with curiosity and asked what they were doing (they were poking a big Cicada with a stick... killing it)... I explained (loud enough for other parents to hear) that we don't like to kill insects that are minding their own business. I just thought the whole concept of killing bugs for entertainment at the ZOO of all places was a bit disturbing.

It's been my policy with Andy and bugs that we don't kill bugs that are outside... because that is where they live and we are in "their house". Bugs inside the house are a different story... with the exception of tiny house spiders (that eat fruit flies and entertain my cat) the rest is fair game... and I am just not capable of capturing and releasing insects.


One last noteworthy bit about the zoo... I was bitten by a Stingray! But it wasn't a brush with death or anything... they have what they call "Stingray Bay"... a shallow pool filled with Stingray that swim around in circles. Their harmful barbs have been removed, which apparently does not hurt the animal; it's like getting your fingernails clipped and they grow back... We got the chance to feel them, and I had a piece of shrimp in my hand and I probably didn't have my hand low enough or flat enough... my finger was sucked right into the rays mouth! It was more of a bad "suck" than a bad bite... but I sure felt it! I tried to yank my finger out of his mouth and I pulled the ray halfway out of the water!

17 comments:

The BlogHore said...

Eww! We always hear cidadas but I've never actually seen one. They aren't very attractive, are they? I have the same policy when it comes to insects. Outside is where they belong and my kids are to leave them alone - in the house it's a different story of course. Have a great weekend.

Tracy.H said...

EWWWWW! No offence but you can keep them there. Sooooo glad we don't have them up here in Calgary!!

angie said...

Great stories about the cicadas and the zoo and the stingray! Thanks for sharing!

Lynda said...

I live in the SW suburbs of Chicago and my yard looks just like Brookfield Zoo. I haven't been out in the yard in two weeks!!!! Call me chicken but I don't like anything that out numbers me 1,000 to 1!! LOL

Danita said...

Cool, cool and cool!!! Wonder if we'll get cicadas like that here in central Illinois. I have pics of emerging cicadas from last summer. Cool. ;) Diggin' the stingray bit, too. We may have to go check that out! tfs!!

Keri Jackson said...

Those look gross, I heard they were on there way to Michigan!! Your sting ray story remided me of my honeymoon. We went to Grand Cayman and went scuba diving @ Sting Ray City and feed the Rays. I must have had something on my arm and one sucked a spot off the top of my arm! It didn't feel so good, but no permanent scar :)

Stamperosity said...

Ok, I could have gone my entire life without some of your visuals. They haven't hit here yet, but any day now (oh the horrors!) They are the most discusting creatures with their little corps all stuck to everything. It's like a horror movie for me. How on earth did you muster up the courage to get so close to take that picture.

I'm sure I'll survive, but not without much cringing, I'm sure.

care-in said...

oooo yuck! I forgot all about those little critters. We used to find them at my grandparents house and my grandfather liked to scare me with their skin...aack!

PJ said...

Sarah, Did Rick tell you that he and Angie used to put the cicada shells on their noses and run around the yard, with the other neighborhood kids, who also had the shells on their noses! They thought they looked sooo scary! Good for you for your announcement at the zoo re. leaving them alone. Hope some of those parents were listening! Love, PJ

Sonya said...

Its strange that we didnt get any up here in Lake In The Hills...been waiting and waiting and they never came. Bummer...my kids wanted to see them too.

Sonya

chelemom said...

I too am lucky to live near the city where there are no cicadas to be found! Thank God! My poor MIL lives 20 minutes away and has a ton! She won't leave her house...tend to her garden..
I really want to go the Singray bay this summer...w/o getting bit of course! I just realized that my MIL, Lynda already posted about the Cicadas! How funny!

Marnie said...

OMG I was wondering about Stingray Bay we didn't make it last week on the school field trip but we'll be back! YIKES! Love those pics of the cicadas we didn't see that many!!!!!

manicstamper said...

Ooh dear that is one ugly insect. I am so glad we don't get them in the UK.

IamSusie said...

I think I live just far enough outside of Chicago that we aren't seeing them. I'm a bit disappointed.. It is quite a sight as I recall from my childhood. My daughter wore a live one on her nose at Grandma's.

Sarah and Jack said...

We don't seem to have the cicada invasion here in the Lou this year, lucky us, eh? I actually kind of like their noise though.

I love the stingrays. When we lived in Florida there were opportunities to feed them everywhere. They are sooooo different feeling than I would have imagined.

Mary said...

Thanks for posting the cicada pictures- it's been years since we had to deal with them. Love hearing about Brookfield Zoo and all things Chicago- I'm an SU demo living in TN but miss home (Chicago!) Keep it up.

Beth M said...

Sorry about the stingray bite but I have to tell you that I love the close up photo of the cicada! Those horrible red beady eyes and golden wings with the black body. I wouldn't want my yard full of them but I love the detail in the close up photo!

(Linked here from Julia Stainton's blog)