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Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Cicada Brood XIII: Coming soon to a tree near me

If I appear less than responsive over the next few weeks, it's not because I stopped caring about you. It's just that my senses have been overwhelmed by the buzzing of the cicada swarms soon to emerge from their 17-year slumber.

Other than the constant noise the males emit to attract partners (can't blame a fella for trying after 17 years of sucking on tree root sap below ground), and occasionally flying into the inattentive walker, the insects are harmless.

I've heard rumblings in the neighborhood about creatively dealing with the situation in a culinary fashion. There are even recipes readily available on the Internet (here's a PDF of a whole cicada cookbook). Cicadas are related to crawfish and shrimp, so I'd prefer something with a little cajun spice to it.

Swarms of cicadas emerging in Midwest
By TARA BURGHART, Associated Press Writer

CHICAGO - Coming soon: Brood XIII. It sounds like a bad horror movie. But it's actually the name of the billions of cicadas expected to emerge this month in parts of the Midwest after spending 17 years underground.

The red-eyed, shrimp-sized, flying insects don't bite or sting. But they are known for mating calls that produce a din that can overpower ringing telephones, lawn mowers and power tools.

Brood XIII is expected across northern Illinois, and in parts of Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. Cicadas live only about 30 days as adults, and their main goal is mating.

They don't harm humans, although they are clumsy and might fly into people. Birds, squirrels and pets, especially dogs, love to eat them, and they are high in protein.

Read the full article

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