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Western North Carolina Cicada (Locust) Invasion Update


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I thought I’d take another sidetrip from the usual Genealogy and History content to talk about “the bugs” again. Back in May I saw the first of the 17 year cicadas (locusts) emerging and mentioned them here. Well, they’re now probably at or just passing their peak for this cycle. They have been in full voice over the next few weeks and in most of Western North Carolina North of I-40 you’ve been aware of their presence. It’s kind of funny that Buncombe County and points North seem to be the extent of these critters… I suppose..

It takes a long time to migrate if you only come out once every 17 years. I imagine in a few more generations they’ll be in Henderson County too. It is interesting to think back to the changes that this area has seen in just a few of these “bugs lives”. Last visit was 1991 Many of my older relatives have passed on since then, the grandparents of these current bugs were out in 1973. I wasn’t even one year old then. This area was mostly rural and by my parents account they weren’t quite as noisy. (The area was more cleared than wooded. Since the 1970’s much of the former farm/grazing land has grown up into woods. These cicadas lay their eggs in the growing twigs and the twigs then fall to the ground allowing the grubs to burrow down and grow. So… changes in our forestation has made a difference in where these insects are most active.

1956 would have been the generation of “great-grandparents” of this years crop. 1939 Before that. How much OUR world has changed since then.

I guess the emergence of the cicadas makes for a good milestone along the march of time. I can’t help but see the past in a larger scale when you see things with such a predictable and measurable life cycle. I’ve taken the opportunity to snap pictures and do some digital audio recordings of the cicadas. Who knows what things will have changed when they return?