The stars of summer 2021: the Periodical Cicadas
Recently, we had to reorder our most popular insect pin - the Periodical Cicada. This was a little surprising - we thought the monarch would be the first to sell out, and lots of people think these little guys are “ugly” or “gross”. (We happen to think they’re goofy-cute, like Muppets.)
Brood X doesn’t emerge as far north as our home in Massachusetts, but using the Cicada Safari app, we could see them within a day’s drive in New Jersey. I spotted the Institute Woods as a publicly accessible piece of land near reported cicada sightings, and hoped we’d have luck. I admit, I was stressed on the drive that we wouldn’t
My worry was completely unfounded - as we pulled off the highway, we realized the background noise was filled with insect song, and we rolled down the windows to enjoy this new-to-us,
We found the park easily, and it was well worth the trip. The sight and sound of countless huge, colorful insects and their golden fairy-wings was simply unforgettable. To admire from afar would have been enough, but these guys were fearless - they’ll fly right onto you, and slowly climb as though you were a tree. It’s rare to see an insect so large in the northeastern United States, and to be able to touch them up close and peer into those googly eyes is really a treat. It became my favorite day of the summer.
Maybe a part of the popularity of the cicadas is their rarity - if we experienced it all the time, we’d probably grow accustomed and annoyed, like we humans do with most things in nature we take for granted. For now, the cicadas are a memory to us, and their offspring are sleeping underground while we stare out our windows at the snow and rain - may we all meet again, somewhere down the road.