Perspective Number 10: Consider the Lowly Cicada.

You think you’re having it rough? Here’s a guy or gal, I can’t tell which, but it’s an adult cicada called an imago who spends the summer sucking tree sap and making lots of noise, and searching for mates for a good time. Before that, though, these insects live for two to seventeen years underground as grubs. They’re active but c’mon – seventeen years underground?

I once lived in Georgia, apologies accepted, and found a Loblolly Pine in the yard wallpapered with the empty husks of cicada nymphs. I laughed out loud when I saw it. When nymphs emerge from the ground, they climb the tree that they’ve been living under and shed their exoskeleton. The new skin and wings inflate with liquid and harden. Then they set off for Mr. or Ms. right and a quick suck of tree sap. The sound from that tree at night was deafening. My guess is that there were hundreds of the insects on the tree, all calling back and forth for a mate.

They don’t bite or sting but one site I looked at said that, if you pick one up, it can mistake you for a tree and attempt to pierce your ‘bark’ for a tasty suck. Ouch.

More recently, when I was in the hospital in Atlanta, my wife and two girls stayed at the hospital’s family apartments. One night, after tucking me in and making their way back to the apartment, they closed the front door and wondered what the odd pecking noise was. They followed the noise to the girl’s room to see the windows each covered with three or four three-inch cicadas all tapping on the glass. They all squealed with a scared joy and finally the bigs left. So much for the South. Never saw these things in Seattle!

More on Perspective here: Your Sagging Beam


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