Where we live we have been inundated with cicadas this past week. There are literally hundreds of them all over our yard and trees.
Since my kids were so fascinated by the cicadas I thought I would take this opportunity for all of us to learn more about these insects.
Last week we first noticed a bunch of “shells” (That’s what the kids are calling them.) on the trees and plants at the edge of our woods, but we didn’t actually see any adult cicadas until a few days later.
I had been under the mistaken belief that what we were looking at were actually locusts. But, after some research, we found out that they are the 13 year cicadas.
In studying more about the cicada, we learned that the adults that we were seeing all over our yard were actually eggs in 2002. The eggs hatched and the nymphs burrowed underground to feed on tree sap for the next 13 years.
We also learned that cicadas are the longest living insects.
The “shells” we were seeing were the result of a molt phase when the late nymphs reached adulthood and shed their skin.
They are kind of creepy looking with their big red eyes, but they are fascinating at the same time. The cicada above is shedding its skin.
The males have been making so much noise that it is almost deafening during certain times of the day out here in the country.
The males are trying to find mates so the whole process can start all over again and in 13 more years we will have cicadas again.
If you would like to know more about the 13 year cicadas that are all over our yard, I recommend checking out the following links.
I printed out a cicada lifecycle worksheet I found at Education.com which was informative for the kids.
In addition to all of our observations of cicadas and researching about them, Joseph and Janna did a cicada craft, too.
I cut out a tear drop shape out of black construction paper to serve as a cicada body. The kids then glued on two red circle eyes.
We folded two yellow ovals in half lengthwise and the kids made some cuts in them. Then I helped them cut every other one of the “fringe pieces” off.
When we opened the ovals they were supposed to look like the lacy wings of the cicada.
The kids glued the wings on and made two small black circles in the center of each eye with a crayon.
Joseph also decided that his cicada needed a nose and smilie face. I thought it was a cute touch.
We really have had a lot of fun learning about cicadas.
Now, if they want to get off of my front deck so we can enjoy sitting out there again that would be fine. 🙂
Do you have cicadas where you live? Here’s a map that shows where all of the 13 year cicada varieties are.