Please read this...Sorry, folks, we're gonna bug you again...

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<p class="p1">"HEY ETHEL. DON'T LOOK. HE'S WRITIN' 'BOUT THEM CICADITYDID BUGS AGIN. ETHEL? ETHEL? OH, NO, THEM BUGS IS FLYIN' AWAY WITH ETHEL..."</p><p class="p3">Bear with me, folks. One more round of cicada stuff. Mainly because they kept landing on me while I was standing outside one morning last weekend. And they weren't helping the musicians at last Saturday evening's JuneFest celebration in Jonesboro much, either.</p><p class="p3">Thank to the wonders of modern technology (that would be the Internet), one can learn more about cicadas that one would ever need, or want, to know.</p><p class="p3">Cicadas, it would seem, have been around for about 1 million or 2 million years, which has given them a long time to fine tune their buzzing skills. (If cicadas were flying around a million years ago, and nobody was around to hear them, did they still make noise?)</p><p class="p3">It seems that we have been enjoying the company of Brood XXIII of the 13-year cicada. Just in case you were wondering, and you may have already figured this one out, the website magicicada.org explained that the "2015 emergence of periodical cicadas will be extraordinary." No kidding. Even better, "this brood contains all four described species of 13-year cicadas." Yup, even better. </p><p class="p3">Even better than even better was this little tidbit: "Periodical cicadas achieve astounding population densities, as high as 1.5 million per acre," or 1.5 gazillion on the pear tree in our backyard. Really, I counted them Sunday evening. While I was losing my hearing because of the noise they were making.</p><p class="p3">Once your intrepid writer had determined exactly what kind of bugs we were looking at, and listening to, my curiosity was piqued regarding the history of these noisy bugs and the folks who have to listen to them – that would be us.</p><p class="p3">The Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper's website posted an article which was called, quite simply, "a history lesson," which was written Charles W. Jones. </p><p class="p3">In the article, Mr. Jones shared that the first recorded account of periodical cicadas came in 1633, and was made by the residents of Plymouth, Massachusetts, who called the bugs "flyes." The "flyes" subsequently were included as a dessert in that year's Thanksgiving dinner, which they called "Shoo Flye Pye."</p><p class="p3">In 1775, Thomas Jefferson noted that he expected cicadas at Monticello. They did indeed arrive, and they came in such large numbers that Jefferson ran away to Philadelphia. Because of the noise, he could not concentrate while he was trying to write the Declaration of Independence. In one draft of that document, he actually has a reference to cicadas. Really. I saw that on the Internet.</p><p class="p3">In 1839, somebody with even more time on his (her?) hands than I've got wrote the first publication about cicadas. A book followed. In 1907. And another one in 1999. Apparently, only two books have been written about cicadas in the last couple of million years. </p><p class="p3">In 1868, Charles Darwin offered some comments about cicadas. He said that they were extraordinary. Of course, some of his critics thought that cicadas were just kind of normal as far as bugs go. So, Darwin had another controversy on his hands.</p><p class="p3">The history.com website noted that the Pilgrims thought that cicadas were locusts, which they are not. Well, that's what the Internet says.</p><p class="p3">History.com added that William Bradford, who was the governor of the Plymouth Colony, "described them in 1633 as 'like for bigness to wasps or bumblebees, which came out of holes in the ground and replenished all the woods, and ate the green things, and made such a constant yelling noise as made all the woods ring of them, and ready to deaf the hearers'." All I can say is that they sure talked funny in 1633.</p><p class="p3">That same website also shared that periodical cicadas "have even played a role in a number of military and political events. During the Revolutionary War, colonial troops burned Onondaga Indian crops and villages in upstate New York as punishment for their supposedly pro-British leanings. But the tribe apparently staved off a famine by eating cicadas." We've already dealt with eating the bugs and won't go into that again.</p><p class="p3">Enough about noisy bugs. If you are lucky, you won't see anything else about cicadas in this space for another 13 years. </p><p class="p3">(A note to readers: As always, please remember that if something was found on the Internet, it must be right.)</p>



Bugs in a bush: Like the legendary Chicken Man of AM radio fame, cicadas have been everywhere.



Can a winged creature, e.g. a cicada, be fenced in? Does yours truly spend too much time pondering things that don't matter?



A face that only a mother could love: This was one of the approximately 8 billion cicadas which were in our backyard last Sunday.


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