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(Very Yak!) Cicadas

Sorry to put an non jewelry topic to the group. But we are having
an experience here in Tennessee and I was wondering if this happens
anywhere else in the country or beyond. We are in the midst here of
the rising of the thirteen year cicadas. It lasts for about five
weeks. These insects come up out of the ground in biblical numbers.
They are similar to locusts but are not locusts. They are related
to the stink bug. They stay underground for thirteen years, then
crawl up to the surface in a beetle form. They crawl up on
plants,trees and shrubs. Then they shed their beetle shell and
emerge and begin to fly about. They are very strange with red eyes.
Their chirping is constant and builds up to 100 decibals.
Eventually they will lay eggs in the bark of tree branches causing
substantial damage. I think they are peaking now and the air is
pretty thick with them as well as trees covered with them. Just
curious if anybody else gets cicadas? At least my yard is
completely aerated form their emergence.

                                            -Carrie Nunes

A benefit from this plague is that cicada wings can be cast. They
drop them when they molt. Paint them with a thin coat of wax - on
one side- and cast in silver - gold - shades of Faberge!

Carrie - I used to live out in the country outside of Knoxville
for almost 10 years. We had the cicadas badly there too. Now I
live near Clearwater, Fl. in a very urban setting. We have them
badly here, too. Right now ourside my window, they are chirping
their little heads off. I find them dead all over my porch and
patio. I believe they only live a day after laying their eggs. The
dried bugs can be used to cast nice little silver cicadas.
Thought you’d like to know. Gini on the West Coast of Fl. where
our air quality is terrible right now

NE Ohio (Cleveland) area gets those suckers too! Heck, I remember
the days while in Jr. Hi (mayby known now as middle schools?) Many
students had those thrown down their shirts and blouses! Yuk, they
are truly ugly creatures, and I’ve often wondered what their
"purpose on earth" is??? It has been a while since we’ve had
the 13 year ones, so, maybe we are due for those?

Hi Carrie,

I hate to reveal my dark side, but as a child all cicadas feared
my friends and I. I grew up in Kansas City where we had
cicadas-o-plenty. If you capture them and push on the center of
their backs you can make their wings click open and close. If you
tie a thread around their heads they will fly along beside you, but
don’t tie too tight or their little heads pop off. And worst of
all, if you tie a little lady finger fire cracker onto them with a
thread, light it and let 'em go, they will get about 8 feet away
before they blow up.

I am so ashamed.

Mark P.
Wi No cicadas here, lucky for them.

Re cicadas: Have you given any thought to catching and casting one
of the little devils? A charming silver cicada might be lovely on
the right chain. Here in Topanga California, we are being overrun
with rattlesnakes. Wanna trade for a few cicadas?

Lisa,(up on the mountain weed-whacking in anticipation of the fire
season), Topanga, CA by the sea, in the heart of Los Angeles.

Not only YAK, but also CLACK CLACK CLACK!!!

Very interesting, Carrie, glad you posted this. I am familiar
with cicadas from childhood in upstate New York - we called them
locusts and they were a predictable occurance in a hot July - but I
don’t recall knowing about the 13 year cycle. How do the eggs get
from the tree branches to underground?

Are you casting the castoff casings?

Oooohhh, aaccck, yuk! I remember getting them when I lived in
Cincinnati. You can’t walk outside without crunching them as you
step (ooh just typing that makes my skin crawl as it did when I
lived there). One good thing about Texas - no cicadas! I feel for
you. The crunching, the flying about, the constant noise - but
only 5 weeks of it , right?

ICQ # 9472643
Bacliff, Texas Gulf Coast USA

HI Carrie: I have heard of Cicadas! Are they like crickets and do
they have any positive purpose to the environment, here in New
England and the Tri-State area in the NorthEast I have never heard
of them , we have Crikets, Locust. If they are so damaging! Is there
no way to prevent this by planing ahead? Although not jewelry
related it is very interesting!


Hello Carrie: If you boil them they get all mushy. I suggest baking
them until they are crisp and serving them with a dip like onion or
blue cheese or something like that. This will not get ride of very
many of them, but if everyone would eat a few, then they might not
reproduce as much.

Just kiding,they don’t taste good. In south texas we get them bad
every now and then. Seems like they never shut up.

Hi all you locust lovers - and haters. What an evocative post this
is! In Australia I only have happy memories of cicadas. They were
the (ok, noisy) harbingers of summer. There were “floury bakers”,
“green grocers” and rare “black princes” with ruby eyes. As kids in
the bush, we loved them.

We always thought it was a seven year cycle, but maybe they were
doubling up.

One of our more famous poets, Kenneth Slessor, wrote an evocative
poem which used the phrase "double drummer drunk with summer…"
which seems to encapsulate all my childhood memories. I’m sorry not
every one likes them.

One of my colleagues in the jewellery trade, Mike Wilson, won a
major Australian design award for a beautiful gold and diamond
cicada brooch. It was quite stunning - and didn’t make a sound.
Regards, Rex from Oz.

Ah, cicadas!The very thought of them evokes childhood memories of
hot days, the smell of newly-laid asphalt covering the smell of
horse droppings as the dirt roads were replaced in anticipation of
the automobile…to me they used to sound like hundreds of little
sewing machines stitching away…but on to progress. They are
still awfully intimidating -looking, but I have discovered that
they are a gourmet delight to our resident cats who savor them.
Their song is the essence of early summer and white-hot days and
heat shimmer on the roads…and their wings sure do make lovely
castings.(see mail by mbm)

I have been happy to see the responses about cicadas and learn
about their presence elsewhere. Thank you for letting me offer up
an off subject question. I try to respect the main technical
purpose of our group. They have peaked here in Tennessee and are
starting to wane. We have 13 year cicadas here as well as a 7 year
variety. The casting idea mentioned is wonderful although I don’t
currently have casting equipment. They are fascinating insects. The
birds have almost grown tired of eating them. And my dogs have
eaten so many, they have hardly eaten their kibble. If anyone has
interest in seeing these bugs, we have uploaded a few recent
pictures to this address:

Happy chirping!-Carrie Nunes

Hi Carrie, My name is Matt and I’d like to get a few of those
Cicadas to cast I’d be happy to pay for the shipping and handling.
Please let me know if it possiable.

Again, Matt
(@GoldSmithy )

Dear Chris; I remember cicadas from two such manifestations.
However, one infestation included the confluence of a 13-year and
17- year variety. There were so many of the little guys around it
almost seemed like the biblical plague of locusts (the Cicadas
were known locally as “locusts” anyway). I do recall the ecology
of their arrivals follows:

These brown immature “nymphs”, who have been feeding on the roots
of trees for most of their lives, emerge from the ground and march
to the nearest upright object and then climb it.(If you stand
still when you see one of these nymphs crawling on the ground,
they will actually try to climb you if you are the nearest tall
thing around) They settle in on the bark of the tree and the back
of their shells splits. After a period of time (it varies from
about 25 mins. to 3 hours), an ugly buff-colored bug with large
red eyes emerges and settles in again. These buff-colored begin
to darken and their wings “unfold” and fill-in, turning into the
large, loud bugs we all know. They make all their chirping noise
to attract a mate and conjoin abdomen to abdomen to create the
next brood (You may very well see them like this later on). The
females then fly up to the smaller twigs and branches, and with
their “ovipositor” cut a small notch onto the twig and then lay an
egg. They egg develops into a larval type bug (which I have no
idea of how it looks) and feed a short while on the tree juices
flowing from the notch in the twig. Upon reaching another level
of maturity (my knowledge is sketchy here at best), they fall off
the twig to the ground and begin burrowing down to the roots. They
attach themselves to the roots for nourishment and settle for
another 13 or17 years. As for their ecological purpose, their
emergence from the ground creates ariation for the tree roots,
allowing nutrients to get to the roots. The egg- laying by the
females,is, in fact, Mother Nature’s way of doing a large scale
pruning. Pruning, of course, is beneficial for the trees.

The arrival of these bugs is a complete boon for the birds and
other wildlife, mammals as well, gorge themselves on this bounty.
The Native Americans, in particular, were known to enjoy these
occasions as a gift, not unlike “manna from heaven”. Even more
longwinded than normal, I hope this was not too boring. It seems
that there is always an interest in casting these bugs into
non-ferrous when they return. Maybe it is our way of making them
more permanent, as their emergence is always enigmatic…20 Yours
in entomology, Eben Lenz

G’day - you didn’t expect me to let this one pass? We even have
cicadas here in lil ole Noo Zillun, but starting from the top of
the North Island, they get less in numbers as you go south until in
Bluff (right at the bottom) you don’t get any at all. They aren’t
really a pest here, just one of the sounds of summer. There aren’t
any in England - expect it’s too cool and damp for them there

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At sunny Nelson NZ

may i suggest that you paint them with a copper conductivity paint
first and then you can plate them and they will look as they did in

I have collected the wings and have made sterling wings and am
asbout to have a mold made. I have enlarged a wing, cut out the
spaces between the solid strands, and am about to do plique a jour
within the spaces. s you can gather, these really intrigue me!