Sci News :: PLAGUE'S OF INSECTS are engulfing Washington DC; 17 yearly mating ritual
Sci means Science, it was supposed to be Science/US News but character limit got in the way and i needed the headline to fit.
Article extract >> SOURCE : DAILY TELEGRAPH [London]
Washington faces insect plague as billions of bugs emerge after 17 years underground. Alec Russell reports
As if George W Bush did not have enough on his plate, Brood X started to take over his capital yesterday.
With a mixture of fear and fascination, Washingtonians prepared for an infestation of Biblical proportions as the first of a swarm of billions of cicadas emerged after 17 years underground.
Red-eyed, black-skinned and up to two inches long, the first cicadas wriggled out of holes in the ground where they have been waiting since the height of Ronald Reagan's presidency.
Within days, large parts of the city and areas across eastern America will be blanketed in cicadas. For the next six weeks, scientists predict, the noise will be staggering as billions of males rub their legs with the vigour of 17 years anticipation in search of the perfect mate.
Schoolchildren have been given instructions in how to cope and told not to panic. Weddings, soccer matches, and many public events will be rescheduled or moved indoors.
In the middle of next month, the females will lay eggs in trees. The adults will all die. Their offspring will drop down to the ground and bury under the soil, for their own 17-year vigil.
"It's the grandest natural phenomenon of the century," said Gary Hevel, an entomologist at the Smithsonian Institution. "This is the largest brood of periodical cicadas. It is the big one, a matter of billions and trillions.
"People tend to be annoyed and fearful about the lack of knowledge. We are trying to get the word out that they are not dangerous. They crawl out of the ground. They mate. They lay eggs and then they die."
There are many species of periodical cicadas, but Brood X is by far the largest and most numerous, and its visitations are rites of passage for veteran Washingtonians. The trigger for their emergence is when the earth temperature reaches 64, which happened sometime on Monday.
Yesterday residents roamed the leafier parts of Washington spotting the husks of the early risers who had already taken to the trees fully-formed with amber wings after shedding their skins, and the corpses of those that had failed their one and only test.
"I was in school in 1954 and the noise was incredible," recalled Barbara Beelar, 62, who was born and raised in Washington. "You couldn't sleep at night. Everyone was sleep-deprived. It's a wonderful example of nature grabbing your attention.
"They crawl out. Their great hope is to meet someone from the other sex and then they die. If you look at those things you can see where a whole genre of horror stories came from."
When colonists first witnessed the phenomenon they thought it was a sign from God, akin to the 10 plagues in Egypt. But in recent decades reactions have been more relaxed.Two swarms ago, in 1970, Bob Dylan immortalised the cicadas with a song Day of the Locusts.
Others are even more enlightened. Jacques Tiziou, a French-American, was in his kitchen yesterday freezing his first cicadas. He said: "They are pure protein. No fat. There are plenty of countries where the only food is some form of insect.
"We in America could do a service to those countries and tell them how to be more efficient about catching cicadas. "ou can teach your family to keep them and maybe smoke them."
"We have billions of them. Go to Google and ask for cicada recipes. You are sent to 3,600 sites."
One fan set up a website, cicadamania.com. which was swamped with sightings.
End extract <<
Full article, no link.
Well this will certainly create a buzz in DC won't it; tthere haven't been this many bugs in DC since watergage. sorry about that.
This really si something to keep a tab on to see what it is like to live with whilst it is going on. Do we have anyone from DC on WHT?
The 9 words of life quote -
"Act with honour, seek justice, die true, remembered well."
GO LDN 2012 ~ AIM = Critic News Info