Cicadas come in 17-year cycle species, and 13-year cycle species. Maybe there are others, but lets start here. In 2014, Brood III ("The Iowan Brood") is hatching, and it truly is something to behold! So COOL!
I don't know how I've missed these in the past. I've been around for at least 2 previous hatchings and I don't recall having ever seen this species before. Usually, we see a few greenish-colored cicadas each summer. But the ones this year are a bit smaller, black bodied with red/orange eyes, and amber wings. And the NUMBERS! THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS!
The funny part is how you can drive by patches of forests, all the same age...and some are just THICK with cicadas and their loud sounds...while others are silent and empty.
My friend & co-worker Julie and I visited a campground during our lunch hour one day this week in mid-June, 2014. There were cicadas everywhere! Some Ash trees in the campground were marked with plastic bands with information on the invading Emerald Ash Borer. The Cicadas were having a hard time climbing up the tree past the slippery plastic, and so it was a good spot to snap pictures of groups of cicadas.
The sound was deafening. We had to raise our voices just to converse. When we left, our ears continued ringing for awhile. We asked a fellow who was camping in the park if they were able to sleep with all that noise. He said they get quiet around 5-6pm....and then don't start making noise again until after 8am in the morning. Such conscientious little critters!
Here's a short video, so you can hear the sound: