The Buzz of Cicadas
Periodic cicadas appear in the Finger Lakes Region
It has been seventeen years since the Onondaga Brood or Brood VII of the 17-year periodic cicada last appeared in the Finger Lakes Region. Their emergence begins this month in the region stretching from Rochester to Syracuse and south to the Pennsylvania state line. It also emerges in Southwestern Pennsylvania.
Several have already been reported in the Rochester and Syracuse area. This Brood is in significant decline and may become extinct at some point in the future. Forecasts suggest we may experience fewer of them this year.
The male is the singer, flexing its exoskeleton abdomen, calling for a mate with a buzzing or chirping song. The female responds with wing clicking, similar to a snapping finger. Each species has a unique call, similar to the dog-day cicadas we hear later in most summer. Mature cicadas are about an inch long, in several shades of brown and black with clear wings. Their eyes are usually red, although some may be blue, gray, white, yellow or multi-colored.
Cicada do not transmit diseases to humans. They do not bite or sting. They can be attracted to the noise of a power tool, so its operator may become a temporary landing site for the insect. Adults feed on tree juices with their sucking mouth part. Where numerous eggs are laid beneath the bark, those twigs may die. The adult cicada is a great source of protein and prepared as BBQ, broiled, baked, sautéed, fried or dipped in chocolate. Birds, especially turkeys as well as squirrels feast on them.