Cicadas Surrounded | Outside My Window


For many years I’ve anticipated the return of Brood VIII of the 17-year cicadas (Magicicada sp). They were stunning at Raccoon Creek State Park in 2002 so I stopped by that location two weeks ago. What a disappointment! There were almost none.

Consequently when I heard them in Moon Township yesterday I followed the sound and ended up here, right next to the center pindrop labeled “AMC Settlement Services.” (center of satellite image)

Large parking lots surround a small woodlot where Brood VIII magicicadas emerge in 2019 (screenshot of Google satellite image)

Cicadas were calling, flying, mating and oviposting in that narrow arc of trees surrounded by parking lots. My photos include the holes they emerged from beneath the trees, their discarded exoskeletons, cicadas perched on knee-high bushes, and a cicada on its back on the asphalt. It wasn’t dead. It bounced off my leg, landed on its back, and couldn’t fly again until the wind rolled it over and freed its wings.

Cicada activity in this small woodlot was in stark contrast to the lack of cicadas elsewhere. Clearly the Brood VIII population is smaller than it used to be.

In 2002 this generation burrowed underground and waited to mature in 2019. Meanwhile bulldozers cleared land, pavers laid asphalt. Cicadas that survived the bulldozers were trapped under pavement. They will die this year without reproducing.

Why aren’t there more Magicicadas in Moon Township, PA? They can’t get out.

(cicada photos by Kate St. John, screenshot of Google satellite map of Moon Twp PA; click on the caption to see the original)

p.s. For more information on 17-year periodical cicadas, see this 2016 article on Brood V.