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The Trill of One Trillion

In the heartland of America, where nature intertwines with human civilization, right here in Arkansas (The Natural State), a cyclical phenomenon is about to unfold, captivating both entomologists and casual observers alike.

America's Cicada 'Apocalypse' 2024

This 200-year event will see one trillion insects from two groups as they infest a whopping sixteen states. My friends, our beloved Arkansas is directly in the path for this once in a lifetime event of Biblical proportions.

The emergence of periodical cicadas, specifically Brood XIX and Brood XIII, will soon bring an epic spectacle to the state of Arkansas. One brood emerges every seventeen years and another every thirteen years.

Yet, this year, in 2024, both broods prepare to surface from their subterranean hideaways AT THE SAME TIME since 1803. While Brood XIX cicadas typically emerge in late April to early May and can extend into June. Brood XIII cicadas, follow a similar pattern but emerge slightly earlier than Brood XIX. Their emergence typically begins in mid-April and extends into May, with the peak activity occurring in late April to early May.

Uhhh! Things happen in threes, they say.

  1. Worldwide Pandemic

  2. Eclipse

  3. Locusts

"The emergence of periodical cicadas or 17-year locusts of the genus Magicicada has been observed in the eastern woodland areas of the United States since 1633 or 1634 when the Pilgrims of Plymouth Colony first encountered them. At this early date the cicadas came out of the ground in the spring and made the woods ring with their 'singing'. The colonists had never seen such insects, but the Amerindians had and predicted that pestilent fever would follow. The cicadas 'sang', mated, laid their eggs, and died, and as the hot summer wore on the fevers came, killing many of the colonists and Indians alike. In the autumn the pestilence abated, but it reappeared the following year. The Pilgrim 'flies' or 'locusts', however, were not seen again until 1651. They have since appeared as if regulated by clockworks every 17 years down to the last recorded emergence in 1974. Fortunately, the last correlation with pestilent fevers has not proven constant." -- Frank Young and Gene Kritsky, 1987, Indiana Academy of Science

Beyond the awe-inspiring spectacle, the emergence of periodical cicadas plays a crucial role in shaping ecosystems. As nymphs, they contribute to nutrient cycling by feeding on tree roots, effectively pruning weaker trees and promoting overall forest health. When they emerge as adults, they become a vital food source for a myriad of predators, including birds, mammals, and even fish.

The sudden influx of cicadas can cause temporary disruptions to local ecosystems, with predators feasting on the abundance of available food. However, these fluctuations are essential for maintaining ecological balance and biodiversity. In the long run, cicadas contribute to the overall resilience of forests and other habitats.

Arkansas, with its diverse landscapes and rich biodiversity, serves as an ideal stage for the upcoming cicada emergences. Both Brood XIX and Brood XIII are anticipated to make their presence felt across the state, captivating residents and visitors alike with their deafening chorus and sheer numbers.

This will truly be a sight to behold, with billions, if not trillions, of insects blanketing forests, parks, and urban areas. In the end, scientists expect no less than one trillion cicadas will have surfaced in the end of it all.

The cacophony of their mating calls will fill the air, reaching decibel levels comparable to that of a chainsaw. While this may seem overwhelming to some, it's a testament to the resilience and adaptability of these fascinating creatures.

While periodical cicadas pose minimal direct threat to agriculture, their emergence can have implications for certain crops and plants. Fruit orchards and vineyards may experience minor damage as cicadas lay their eggs in small branches, causing them to wilt and die. However, most commercial crops are resilient enough to withstand the temporary feeding frenzy of cicadas.

Gardeners and horticulturists may need to take precautions to protect young trees and shrubs from potential damage. Netting and physical barriers can deter cicadas from laying their eggs, preserving the health of valuable plants. Additionally, mulching around the base of trees can discourage nymphs from feeding on roots, minimizing stress to the plants.

The emergence of periodical cicadas is not just a natural spectacle; it's also a cultural event that brings communities together. In Arkansas, residents eagerly anticipate the arrival of cicadas, organizing festivals, events, and educational programs to celebrate their emergence. Children marvel at the sheer numbers of insects, while adults reflect on the cyclical nature of life and the interconnectedness of all living things.

Moreover, cicadas inspire artists, writers, and musicians to capture their essence through various forms of expression. From paintings and sculptures to poems and songs, these insects serve as muses for creative endeavors, further cementing their place in the cultural landscape.

This impending emergence of these two Broods in Arkansas marks a momentous occasion in the natural world, inviting us to marvel at the wonder of the cicada's life cycle. From their mysterious underground existence to their spectacular mass emergence, periodical cicadas captivate our imagination and deepen our connection to the intricate web of life.

As we prepare to witness this awe-inspiring spectacle, let us reflect on the historic significance, ecological importance, and cultural impact of these remarkable insects. May we embrace the cicadas' song as a reminder of the resilience and beauty of the natural world, inspiring us to protect and preserve it for future generations.❤️


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