So living in the northeast, the invasion has begun. Cicadas by the thousands are coming out of the ground and landing bloody well everywhere. They're huge and, while harmless, incredibly creepy.
This morning I was actually reading up on them on wikipedia and a few other sites: I have a son who has a fear of bugs, and a bunch of family and friends were asking the question - why do cicadas exist? The obvious answer is that the cicadas are part of a particularly "well fed" summer for a huge variety of animals, both winged and fuzzy. They also both aerate the soil during their emergence, and tend to help reduce the number of weak branches. That having been said, they also lead to a whole other variety of pest, the one that my son was actually MORE worried about: the cicada killer wasp (and yes, that is actually what the thing is called).
So whats with this other, lesser well known pest? Well, obviously, they kill and eat cicadas - which is why we're going to see a butt-ton of them real, REAL soon. For those of us who don't particularly like flying/stingy type bugs, this is going to cause a lot of anxiety - but as they say, a little information goes a long way.
Per Wikipedia: "Although cicada killers are large, female cicada killer wasps are not aggressive and rarely sting unless they are grasped roughly, stepped upon with bare feet, or caught in clothing, etc. One author who has been stung indicates that, for him, the stings are not much more than a "pinprick". Males aggressively defend their perching areas on nesting sites against rival males but they have no sting. Although they appear to attack anything that moves near their territories, male cicada killers are actually investigating anything that might be a female cicada killer ready to mate. Such close inspection appears to many people to be an attack, but male and female cicada killers do not land on people and attempt to sting. If handled roughly, females will sting, and males will jab with a sharp spine on the tip of their abdomen. Both sexes are well equipped to bite, as they have large jaws; however, they do not appear to grasp human skin and bite. They are generally non-aggressive towards humans and usually fly away when swatted at, instead of attacking."
So basically, they're really not too interested in fiddling with our world, they really just want to gorge on cicadas, mate, and leave well enough alone.
So with all of that having been said, check out this tree from my neighborhood and tell me how, no matter how harmless the cicadas are, I'm NOT supposed to be completely skeeved and run away flapping my arms and shrieking like a little girl?