Monday, May 14, 2007

CICADA UPDATE: The good, the bad and the ugly

The 17-year periodical cicadas that those of us in the northern Illinois and southwest Indiana area are awaiting are known collectively as Brood XIII. They have been underground since 1990 and will arrive by the millions very soon. The 1990 Brood XIII emerged 17 years ago on this day...May 14. Watch for their first appearance at dusk on the day when the soil temperature exceeds 64 degrees. Current perdictions are for May 22...I'm betting later...Friday, May 25...How about you?

The good...

Cicadas aerate the soil, feed predators as well as domestic animals and some humans, prune the treetops, and put nutrients into the environment.
ALS researchers believe that by studying periodic cicadas they may be able to develop ways to help ALS patients.

The bad...

Periodical cicadas can damage trees above and below ground. Damage can be especially serious on young plants (four years or younger). Susceptible trees include maple, oak, hickory, beech, ash, dogwood, hawthorn, magnolia, willow, apple, peach, cherry and pear. Flowers, vines and shrubs that could be harmed include: Rose of Sharon, rose, raspberry, grape, black-eyed Susan, hollies, spirea, rhododendron, viburnum, junipers, and arborvitae.

Prolonged feeding by nymphs on a tree's root system may reduce plant growth and fruit production.

Many people find cicadas to be a nuisance by their sheer numbers and loud piercing call.

Cicadas have fluttered into automobiles and frightened drivers, leading to traffic accidents.

Many pets like to eat cicadas and may consume so many that they become develop digestive problems.

The ugly...

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Crunch Time...

If you are hoping to serve these 17-year delicacies to friends and family, be creative. The best time to eat a cicada is just after they appear above ground. They should be soft and mushy, when they come out of their skin and taste like cold, canned asparagus. Think romaine lettuce tossed with cicadas...or a grilled mix with cicadas, tomatoes, peppers and herbs. Or deep fry them, let them cool and crunch away. Yum.


Anonymous said...

They are 13 year cicadas.

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