Periodic locusts are emerging from their 17 dormancy throughout the eastern United States this summer. They have the longest developmental dormancy in the insect world and when they finally do emerge from their tree root homes, they keep to wooded areas and shed their protective exoskeletons. There are also millions of them. More than 1000 periodic cicadas can occupy a square yard of soil. The cicadas are relatively harmless, they have no chewing mechanism so pose no threat to gardens or crops, what they do though, is make an enormous amount of noise.
The return of the cicadas reminds me so distinctly of the biblical plagues of Egypt. The falling of frogs from the sky, the covering of the land with first lice, them, flies, and finally locusts. In less scientific times we might take the rise of the cicadas as a sign, a periodic warning against greed, or sloth, or lust or some other kind of deadly sin. But we do not, so we take our plague of sound as an indication of at one thing in the environment , amid the hottest year on record, holding steady and behaving exactly as expected, exactly when we expected it. Let's hope we see the cicadas the next time around.