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Cicadas Invade: NH spared

One more reason to be thankful, New Hampshire: we did NOT experience the periodic cicada invasion this summer. You've likely heard about the mass synchronized emergence of billions of periodic cicadas this summer across the Eastern Seaboard from Virginia north to New Jersey, New York and as far as northern Connecticut - NOT New Hampshire.

Cicadas emerge every 17 years. This year's particular brood was conceived in 1996 and before that in 1979. The next projected emergence of the brood will be in 2030. However other smaller broods of periodic cicadas emerge in thirteen year intervals. 

After 17 years underground, cicadas emerge from the forest soil. They molt their exoskeletons, unzipping their shells from the inside out.They climb trees where males "sing" in a collective regional chorus to attract females. They "fly united" in nuptial flight, females lay eggs and they all die.

Among the interesting cultural responses to insects invading the suburbs are cicada recipes. People eat them in cookies, quiche, tacos, on pizza. One ice cream parlor in Columbia, Missouri offered Cicada ice cream in 2011. You won't find that locally- NOT in New Hampshire. We're too far north for the hordes of periodic 17-year cicadas but New Hampshire is home to smaller annual cicadas which emerge each year in modest numbers.

The 17-year cicadas in southern New England are repeating a performance witnessed by the Pilgrims after landing at Plymouth Rock in Massachusetts in the 1630s. Imagine that: exotic, foreign creatures regarding one another on the shores of the New World!

Naturalist Dave Anderson is Senior Director of Education for The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests, where he has worked for over 30 years. He is responsible for the design and delivery of conservation-related outreach education programs including field trips, tours and presentations to Forest Society members, conservation partners, and the general public.
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