The 17 year plague returns

Do you remember 1987? In the US, Whitney Houston’s “I want to dance with somebody“ and U2’s “With or without you“ were at the top of the charts.  Michael Douglas won the academy award for Best Actor for Wall Street, and Broadcast News took home Best Picture.  I was but a gangly 10 year old lad at the time, but I still remember them, hundreds, thousands, millions of them, everywhere, in your hair, in your food, in the air conditioning vents, everywhere – The 17-year cicadas (pic). Quote from the WP article

“Periodical cicadas, who’ve been underground for 17 years, will tunnel out of the ground, fling their winged bodies through the air and sound off day and night. Bug experts say their coming will be of biblical proportions.”  

Biblical proportions eh? Too bad I’m on the west coast and won’t be able to witness the swarms.

The Tennessean has more information and gives a good personal view of what its like to interact with cicadas (its not pleasant).  For those of you who like Fear Factor, you’ll be delighted to know that the 17-year cicada is considered a delicacy and you can find several recipes online.  Bloggers who live in the MD/DC/VA area should take pictures and share online for all to see…


Comments (8)

  1. Scott Allen says:

    Living in Marlyand I was reading up on this topic just last week. U of MD was offering some information which has me worried: "Some power equipment such as gasoline hedge trimmers or weed whackers can unintentionally closley mimic the call of the male cicadas. Stimulated females with sexual intentions may dive bomb your reving engines thinking it is a singing male." (from

    When my weedeater gets attacked, I’m heading for higher ground. I might take a picture though. From far away. Behind glass.

  2. LOL! That’s hilarious!! Let anyone uses motorized tools outside be warned 🙂

  3. Ron says:

    >I was but a gangly 10 year old lass at the time

    lass? (Could be true, but surprising nonetheless.)

    I was living in western Tennessee in 1987 and the cicadas were LOUD. I’m sure they have a purpose to their cycle, but at the time I didn’t care what it was. 🙂

  4. says:

    I’m kind of confused over the timing, but I think I was in the DC metro area in two previous invasions. I was on loan to the Institute for Defense Analyses during the summer of 1969, living in an old rented house in the Fox Hall Village area of DC. My (faulty) memory recalls a cicada invasion then. It’s a year off the 17 year cycle though, so perhaps it was a different breed of cicadas. My recollection of that time is that the biggest nuisance was that you couldn’t avoid stepping on them.

    By 1987 I had moved from Southern California to a wooded area near Rockville, MD. My house was more up to date, if less picturesque, than the 1969 rented one (which I could have bought for about $30k, and is probably valued at about 20 times that , if not more, today!!!) so it had two large sliding screen doors. My memory of that invasion is of the husks of the bugs stuck to the outside of the screen doors. Not a lot, just 2 or 3. It was hard to tell if what was on the door was an empty "shell" or a complete bug.

    Now I am living in Frederick, MD, on a property that was developed from a large farm just about 8 years ago. I don’t think there were any significant nnumbers of trees on the farm. Presumeably that means the area would not have been attractive to the cicadas 17 years ago, so perhaps the invasion at this location will be sparse.

  5. Dustin Harmon says:

    this site sucks

  6. irideshadow says:

    Well, they’ve arrived in Great Falls, VA. The first ones I spotted in my yard today. I could hear them yesterday. There still are only a few. I have seeen TONS of their holes, so in a few days we’ll be full swing! My kids are having a blast with them! They catch them and play with them. I find it disgusting, but what the heck, they’ll be adults next time, mioght as well have now now. It’ll make for some great movies to show they’re future spouses. :O)

  7. Jenifer says:

    I don’t remember the 17 year old plague but I see signs of returning of it any way.

  8. Awesome-o says:

    I was only 1 last time it came around, but I can’t wait.