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Waiting for Cicada

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For seventeen long years they suck on tree roots until one day, all at once, without a word between them, they each begin to dig their way to the surface of the earth, a place they’ve never seen. They stumble around until they find a tree and climb straight up, the whole time screaming EEEEEE all at once, all the time — a maddeningly high-pitched whine that comes from every male. “Baby! Take me! I been waiting 17 years!” They molt — and it must be nice to get out of that dirty shell — emerging as pink as piglets, only to be bird snacks and dog treats. The luckier ones fool around. Afterward, the males have a smoke and a coronary and die, while the females cut slices in the trees and slip in their eggs, which grow to larvae that drop to the ground and dig until they reach a root, where they start the whole slow dance all over again. Available for a limited time in parts of Central and Northeastern U.S. Non-toxic.

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About CW Fisher

  • are these the same cicadas as you get in mediterranean countries? The giant insects that, in the heat of the day, make a huge racket? they look kinda like wasps, only not so dangerous…
    if so, i believe the “screaming” is to do with their wings and the lower section of their body – if you look closely when they’re making a noise (difficult as they tend to stop when you get too close) it looks like the wings and the bottom part of their body are vibrating. And they make a lower-pitched, slower-tempo version of the noise when they fly.