Cicadaphobia

It's not exactly every 17 years!

June 2, 2017
by Cicadaphobia
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Five Million Cicadas

It’s been two weeks since I spotted that lone cicada on my terrace and it looks like the coast is clear here in Park Glen (it’s also true that I didn’t go out for two weeks. But today I did, encouraged by the fact that I live in a garden community across from a creek and I haven’t heard a chorus or even single mating calls since the sighting). However, cicada choruses have been reported in several parts of the DC metro area including Arlington. From the information I’ve been able to gather, choruses are currently being heard near Shirlington (around Fairlington and Douglas Park), the Pentagon, and East Falls Church in Arlington. Other parts of the metro area where they’re chorusing are College Park, Takoma Park, Chevy Chase and Bethesda in MD, and Vienna, Merrifield, Falls Church, Annandale, Alexandria and Springfield in VA (I’m not sure where exactly within these communities, though. This is just information that I’ve been gathering from user-posted YouTube videos, comments on the Cicadamania Brood X stragglers thread and a couple of articles on The Washington Post’s website).

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May 20, 2017
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And They’re Back! Four Years Early…

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that I would come back to this blog before May 2021. After the huge Brood II scare in 2013, I really thought we were in the clear until the next Brood X emergence. Well, it looks like some rebellious members of Brood X have decided to emerge four years earlier! As a result, thousands of cicadas have been spotted during the past few days in pockets throughout the Washington, DC metro area, and, once again, I’m freaking out (as I’m sure so many fellow entomophobes also are).

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June 8, 2013
by Cicadaphobia
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Why All the Love?

“Eeeeeewwwwww, I would never feed cicadas to my kids,” said my coworker with a grimace of disgust on her face. “Even my dog wouldn’t eat them! Really, my dog doesn’t eat bugs.”

It was lunch break and I was reading aloud the reasons listed at Cicadamania.com to stop The Home Depot and Lowes from advocating cicada extermination through their Ortho and Sevin in-store displays. Oddly enough, one of these reasons is: “Pets and people love to eat cicadas. Do you want to poison your pets and kids when they eat a cicada treated with pesticide?” Um, okay…

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June 1, 2013
by Cicadaphobia
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Entomophobia Self-Help Tips

Three days in a row of hot, muggy 90-degree weather, and they haven’t emerged yet, at least not where I live or work! Rumor has it that those areas that don’t have cicadas now won’t see them at all — or, to put it in UMD entomologist Michael Raupp’s words, “they are going to be in for a very bad case of cicada envy.” Um, okay. If you say so, sir…

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May 30, 2013
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The Cicada Survival Guide

Imagine cicadas carry a deadly venom that they can pass on to you through an open wound, contaminating your blood and making you itch, grow unusually long and sharp nails, emanate a pestilential odor, literally lose your sanity and run into the wilderness, where they’ll eventually find you and gather en masse on your decaying flesh to suck the blood and pus out of your self-inflicted scratches until you die. Imagine this venom comes from a fungus infected with a virus that the Soviet Union created 35 years ago and left behind in Afghanistan. Imagine a Secret Service agent responsible for security at a meeting between the first ladies of the US and China contracts the virus during the Brood II cicada invasion in the Washington, DC metropolitan region…

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May 28, 2013
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Sicka Cicadas

After yet another cold spell, the weather is starting to warm up here in the Washington, DC metropolitan region and the rest of the East Coast. They are still absent from my neighborhood, but I wonder if the heat wave that will hit us starting tomorrow will bring them out. Many entomophobes in the cicadaless spots of the East Coast next to infested areas are asking themselves the same question right now, and we are all waiting in trepidation…

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May 26, 2013
by Cicadaphobia
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The Truth

It’s practically Memorial Day and they still haven’t emerged in the nation’s capital and its immediate surroundings inside the Beltway. They have started to appear as far north as Connecticut, though. Could it be that we are really being spared? If it turns out that this is the case, I’d like to thank the media for the scare that it gave me and all the entomophobes in the region. Really! The first obligation of a journalist is to the truth. They could have handled this cicada emergence a little more accurately and looked into the historical records for the District of Columbia, Arlington County, the City of Alexandria, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County before announcing in apocalyptic tones that the Washington, DC metro area would be infested!

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May 19, 2013
by Cicadaphobia
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Entomophobia in the News

A foggy, damp, chilly weekend here in the nation’s capital, but I don’t complain. The cool temperatures must be keeping them under the ground, unless they’re really bypassing the immediate Washington, DC area this time around. I spent most of the day downtown yesterday, and I couldn’t spot any, even on the Mall. On May 28, 2004, anybody watching the local Channel 8 news could clearly catch sight of a cicada flying by the reporter’s microphone during an interview with a couple of police officers on the National Mall. If they’re out in DC, it’s definitely strange not to find them on the Mall, where in 2004 they were scaring hordes of tourists who had the misfortune to plan their visit to DC at the most inappropriate time of year. It’s either too early or too cold. Or maybe they will not emerge… (Keeping my fingers and toes crossed, and I know I’m not the only one!)

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May 14, 2013
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On Edge

It’s May 14 and I’m still able to walk from my building to the bus stop (always holding on to my big umbrella) without even seeing holes in the ground. While I’m on the bus, usually occupying a window seat, my eyes can’t stop scanning all the tree trunks, branches, foliage, roots, and even the soil on the way to the metro station in search of signs: Black adults still hardening their wings, ghostly teneral adults just emerged from their shells, shells stuck in the bark, nymphs crawling out of the ground, holes… anything! In the metro train, I worry that those passengers who got on before me in the “contaminated areas” of Northern Virginia may be carrying one (or more), unaware, on their clothes or in their purses. Back above ground in the city, I scan again all trees and bushes on my way to work. So far, everything seems to be clean.

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May 11, 2013
by Cicadaphobia
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Besieged

Just like clockwork, they are showing up. In 2004, I stopped going out on May 12. Was today my last day of freedom?

They’re not where I live yet, but they are closing in on the Washington, DC metropolitan area. They have been spotted in Fredericksburg, Sterling, Manassas, Lorton, Clifton, Fairfax, and even in Arlington! Today, the Cicadaphobia TweetDeck that I set up to filter everything containing the word “cicadas” or the hashtag #cicadas was practically flooded with pictures taken by users who live in the above-mentioned locations. It was a sad day for Northern Virginia.

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