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The Locusts are Coming! | The 17 year Cicadas are Coming


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Not necessarily a genealogy post, but it’s certainly something newsworthy around here. In the northern part of Buncombe county, NC around Weaverville and North Asheville you need to practice your patience for the next few weeks. The 17 year locusts (more properly called cicadas) are coming and they’re already poking out of the ground. I’ve found about a dozen around the yard this morning. The big bugs (about 1.5-2 inches long) have a black upper torso/red eyes, orange legs and the wings can be yellowish. They mate in the late spring/early summer (May-June-July) then they lay their eggs in the growing twigs of trees (which causes about 6 inches of die-back on the trees) Then as the tree branches die and fall to the ground the eggs do as well, where they lay dormant until the next 17 year cycle. The biggest annoyances….

That I remember from the 1991 showing was 1) the sound… a true cacophony that seemed interminable, 2) the quantity of bugs flitting around with enough mass to feel them when they land/hit. 3) the disappointing die back of so many tree branches.

Don’t worry though, the trees will survive and regrow and they’ll be a distant memory by next year.

I remember it was 1991 the last time they showed around here and I expect the next showing will be 2025. It’s kind of interesting to think back through the previous years that they likely showed. (I remember the 1991 but none earlier…) 1974, 1957, 1940, 1923, 1906, 1889, 1872, 1855, 1838, 1821, 1804, 1787…. prior to that there probably wouldn’t have been any Europeans settled in this part of North Carolina (at least not legally…)

Of course, there are several different broods of the 17 year cicadas. According to Cicada Mania this is brood XIV (14). (Magicicada) More info in general can be found here.

Their total above ground life span is expected to be about 4 to 6 weeks.

Prepare to be bugged!