They Are Here!!!

They Are Here!!!

Around the Bluhmin’ Town


Judy Bluhm

They have emerged! Mostly to southern and eastern states. Trillions of cicadas in a double brood emergence are the “Insect Apocalypse” of 2024. Last time this happened was in 1803, when Thomas Jefferson was President and the United States made a little land deal with France, called the Louisiana Purchase. These cicadas crawl out of the ground once every 13 or 17 years for a marathon of mating and egg laying. Then all the adults die, and the next generation is tucked underground until they come out for the next cycle.

Birth. Life. Love. Babies. Death. It all happens rather quickly. So, if we ponder the purpose of life, we might have to wonder about the humble cicadas. They live underground for most of their lifetime, to finally see the light of day. And then perish in a few weeks. Heartbreaking? Or mysterious.

Noise. Cicadas are loud. In a small town in South Carolina, the Sheriff was getting numerous calls from residents complaining about all the commotion. Was it construction? Blasting? A jet flying too low? The Sheriff made a statement, “Please do not call 9-1-1. These are cicadas. They are harmless. Nothing we can do.”

Why are cicadas so loud? The males “sing” by flexing their tymbals, which are drum-like organs in their abdomens. Small muscles rapidly pull the tymbals in and out, the sound intensified by their mostly hollow abdomens. It is one loud and beautiful mating call. The males are wanting to entice females with their spectacular music. Sometimes the males synchronize their calls, establishing territory and attracting the females from distant areas.

The cicadas fly, land and crawl on trees, pets, cars and houses. People are freaking out at the sheer numbers of these “pests” and have claimed that the “cicada invasion” has harmed their mental health. Doctors report an increase in requests for anti-anxiety medication. Sales of ear plugs and sound-canceling devices are on the rise. Ahhh, the sweet sound of nature.

I remember my first visit to Sedona when I was new to Arizona. I had lunch outside and was enthralled by the loud crescendos of cicadas. The noise was so intense, my friends and I could barely hold a conversation. I also recall showing houses to a buyer in Prescott. She wanted to live in the forest but insisted on a “cicada-free zone.” To her dismay, I pointed out that cicadas like trees.

Hungry? There are plenty of (gross) recipes for cicadas flooding the internet. Catch them, fry them up in a pan with oil, garlic, salt and pepper and they make a delicious snack. New Orleans local chefs proudly posted a Cajun Cicada Bake (ugh). Hold the recipes. Let the bugs have their two weeks of sunshine and sing their songs.

Cicadas are putting on one of nature’s greatest shows. Scientists claim that their “music” has a special beat, like a pulsing, surging electrical current. Others say that the noise is a “sweet sexy symphony.” We’ll have to hear it to believe it. In Arizona, we will wait a while and head to the North Country to enjoy their melodies. No ear plugs required.

Judy Bluhm is a writer and a local realtor. Contact Judy at [email protected] or visit

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