Cicadas on their favorite plant

Joined
Sep 13, 2007
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20,515
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Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
These aren't wonderful photos but they do show cicadas that have taken to a particular plant. They don't eat the plant; they gather on it to get moisture from it and/or to hide from predators. I'm guessing that the reason there are so many cicadas on this plant in my next-door neighbor's yard is that the soil around the plant was home to lots of cicadas before they emerged. There are numerous holes in the soil indicating where the cicadas exited the ground. None of my neighbor's other plants attract the cicadas like this plant and the one adjacent to it of the same species, so perhaps the species also has something to do with the attraction. Similarly, I just now walked around my property, which does not have this species, and found only one cicada and one exoskeleton.

These are the 17-year Brood X cicadas. The next 17-year cicadas in my area will be Brood II, which will appear in 2030.

Mike 2021-05-23--0001-S.jpg
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Mike 2021-05-23--0002-S.jpg
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Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
20,515
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
I hope you like their voice when singing.

The cicadas have been in my area for about a week. The first few days, the pitch was low. Then the next few days the pitch became higher in the afternoon. Yesterday for the first time, both the low and high pitches were being sung all day at the same time. I would love to see an explanation of all of that.

This morning there is no singing for the first time since I began hearing them. That might be because it rained this morning (now stopped), because the temperature dropped a lot, or both.
 
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Joined
Dec 13, 2008
Messages
243
Location
Alexandria, Va
They have definitely taken to that plant! Fortunately (or unfortunately camera-wise) we are cicada-less so far in South Florida.

I've seen no maps indicating that the cicadas will get as far south as anywhere in Florida.
Here is a US Forestry map showing the areas of each brood:

https://cdn.vox-cdn.com/thumbor/8SF...227/Screen_Shot_2021_04_01_at_10.33.22_AM.png

What’s odd is that here in Northern Va, we definitely had some cicadas in 2019, and possibly 2020 (not sure on the latter…it was only last year…), and I took this photo with my phone in May 2017…
A0950142-BBD0-48FC-9ADA-D8A930276ACB.jpeg
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So we seem to get more than that map signifies.

But so far, for the Brood X of 2021, I have only seen about 20 cicadas and they’re all dead on the sidewalks and curbs.
 
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Joined
Sep 13, 2007
Messages
20,515
Location
Northern VA suburb of Washington, DC
What’s odd is that here in Northern Va, we definitely had some cicadas in 2019, and possibly 2020 (not sure on the latter…it was only last year…)

Every brood has 13-year and 17-year cycles. There are also other shorter life cycles. That map doesn't indicate all the life cycles or all the broods.

I drove through a section of southern Virginia in 2019 that had a lot of cicadas. I wasn't surprised about that because Pa (Jim) had reported them in that area. So, it's conceivable that you saw some farther north that year even though I didn't. As an example of how localized they can be, I've been collecting 25 - 50 cicadas from my next-door neighbor's property every morning for five days, yet I've seen only two cicadas on my property the entire time despite that our lots are very small.
 
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