Wednesday, June 16, 2021

The Cicadas

The cicadas emerged about a month ago in Northern Virginia. They have peaked and are beginning to die off. Brood X has been pretty much a bust here in the northwest corner of Prince William County. I have not seen a single cicada in my yard. However, I when I drove to Fairfax and Loudoun last week, it was a very different story. As I drove along Route 50 I began to hear the sound of the cicadas mating call which sounds to me like the alien crafts from the original War of the Worlds. When I parked, I saw them. Cicadas were everywhere! I was overjoyed to see them.

From Cicada Safari developed at St. Joseph University and the University of Connecticut we are told “Brood X is the largest of the 17-year cicada broods, occurring in parts of 15 states. Periodical cicadas emerge in large numbers when the soil temperature reached 64ยบ F and often after a soaking rain.” Citizen scientists have been using the Cicada Safari app to map and record (using 11 second video) the cicada distribution and population density. Over 150,000 citizen scientists had participated in this project by June.

It appears from the data that the Brood X cicada population that I experienced on Long Island in 1970 has pretty much been extinguished along with the population in Connecticut. Below you can see the distribution of cicadas recorded so far. In the detail of our region below confirmed presence (cicada symbols) and the negative (absence) records are indicated by a black “X”.
This is the extent of Brood X observed so far this year- from Cicada Safari

Detail from Cicada Safari. The X'x are negative observations

As you can see above, the cicadas essentially stop at route 50 along 15. I had a lunch on the outdoor patio of a restaurant in Old Towne Manassas and Wine at Le Grange Winery in Haymarket. Not a cicada in sight, but a lovely time. You may want to keep that in mind as the dying cicadas decay and stink. You might want to plan outdoor activity this weekend in western Prince William County.

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