Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Prime Number Infestation

Red eyes. They have red eyes, I tell you. RED EYES!

periodical cicada 'Magicicada septendecim' (plate 7)
"Insects, their way and means of living'' R. E. Snodgrass

Despite the fact the Southern periodical cicada only comes out from the ground every 13 years, I'm lucky enough to experience the prime number infestation first hand in middle Georgia.

I'm pretty sure it was nothing like this in Tennessee thirteen years ago!

The exoskeletons are all over the pathways on campus. I've been hit in the head by at least two times as well. Although they are harmless (non-biting, non-stinging) they are large enough to scare the crap out of you (not literally).

Honestly the worse part is the noise. OH THE NOISE! The males (of course) are so riled up, singing to impress the females sometimes it is all you can hear outside during the day.

I've Googled and researched to my heart's content to find out that the volume level of a few hundred cicadas can reach up to 120 dB. Yes. You read that correctly and here is a little chart to help you out:

•Sound of silence - 0 dB
•A whisper - 15 dB
•Normal conversation - 60 dB
•A lawnmower - 90 dB
•A car horn (toot toot) - 110 dB
•A rock concert or a jet engine - 120 dB
•A gunshot or firecracker - 140 dB

For some reason (didn't get THAT far in my research), they only sing during the day. Thank goodness. In fact, the hottest part of the day is the right time for an unbelievable concert (if you're into cicadas).

How many more weeks until this madness is over? But really, can you imagine only having 6-8 weeks of sunshine and then living the rest of your life in the ground?

Bird food for thought.


No comments:


Blog Widget by LinkWithin