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Brood I Periodical Cicadas Mapping Survey - Day 1

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Brood I Periodical Cicadas Mapping Survey - Day 1

Brood I Periodical Cicada

Massachusetts Cicadas is currently in Virginia doing some distribution mapping of the Brood I periodical cicadas. Like last year with Brood XIX, Massachusetts Cicadas is always curious about the periodical cicadas even though we in Massachusetts currently only experience periodical cicadas from Brood XIV. And, unfortunately, they emerged back in 2008.

Brood I is a smaller brood with the majority of species expected to appear in the Appalachian Highlands. Specifically, along the Valley & Ridge and Blue Ridge Mountain physiographic provinces of western Virginia and eastern West Virginia.

I actually arrived a day early because the Brood I periodical cicadas have emerged a few weeks earlier than normal. This is no doubt due to the exceptionally warm winter that was experienced in the eastern part of the country. This has affected periodical cicada emergence times because optimal soil temperature was achieved earlier.

Time for a Plan-of-Action

Dr. John CooleyI met up with Dr. John Cooley of at a Wafflehouse in Harrisonburg, VA. to discuss mapping strategies. John has already been in the area since the 2nd week or so of May and has pretty much put a huge dent in the mapping process. This leaves me with basically filling in the areas that he missed and no doubt it will contain a lot of negative records.

After discussing the plan of attack with John, I set out on my own and began to map around the city of Harrisonburg and as expected, I got nothing but negatives. I then headed west along Route 42 stopping in the town of Bridgewater. I basically concentrated on areas that had dense trees. These were usually along river banks but again I got nothing but negatives. Continuing west I eventually picked up Route 257 and headed for higher elevations which put me into the mountains.

Brood I MagicicadaBrood I MagicicadaI finally picked up some light chorusing of cicadas along Hone Quarry Rd in the George Washington National Forest. At these higher elevations it only seems to be nothing but Magicicada septendecim. I did manage to collect 8 specimens outside the National Forest and I did get some nice video recordings. As soon as i get a moment, I will publish the videos.

Mountainous Regions Lead to Scenic Views

The Blue Ridge mountains are very scenic. I managed to stop along my route to snap some photos of some of the scenes that I found to be particularly appealing. Click any thumbnail below to view a slide show.

Other Fauna

While mapping the cicadas along Hone Quarry Rd., there seemed to be an abundance of Red-Spotted Purple butterflies taking mineral drinks in puddles along the road. I amused myself for about a 1/2 hour trying to get the little buggers to sit still long enough to photograph. We had a hard rain the previous night and there were sooty puddles everywhere in the high country.

To to Head South to Douthat State Park

Cabin at Douthat State ParkEarlier in the year, I booked a cabin at Douthat State Park because I figured it would be a great base of operations during the peak of emergence. But unfortunately, it hasn't worked out that way. By the time I arrived, the cicadas were already past peak and some areas to the extreme south of their range are pretty much done and it is only the first week of June.

The cabin is extremely rustic but it does have all the amenities of a nice extended stay hotel. There are two bedrooms that can sleep a total of 4 people. It has a fireplace and a full kitchen, full bath and a living room with a dining area. There is even heat and electricity should you need to go that route. The only unfortunate part is that there is absolutely no cell phone service and no broadband internet service for computers. This leaves me in a quandary. While the cabin is really nice, it is about an hour south of the area that needs to be mapped and in this day and age of instant communication, not being able to use a phone or surf the internet is extremely hard. In fact, while I write this article, there is no way I can publish it when it is done because there is no internet!

Depending how things go, I may have to move to a more friendly place. More on that as things develop. Thanks for reading.

Date Posted: 2012-06-02 Comments: (2) Show CommentsHide Comments


Posted By: Pat Spinelli | On: 2015-08-13 | Website:

I just found a cicada in my garden. At first wasn't sure what it was, it was being attacked by what looked like bees so I rescued it it a jar and have it in a jar with holes in the top.

Why was it being attacked, they aren't harmful are they?

Should I just put it back in my garden in a different area?

Posted By: Michelle Dextraze | On: 2017-07-05 | Website:

I have been following a cicada killer nesting site for the past 4-5 years in Wrentham MA. The area is about 8 feet by 10-12 feet and very sandy. If you write, I will give you the details of where you can find them.

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Did you spot an annual cicada or a cicada killer wasp? If you did and you have a photo and want to report it, please click the link below.

Brood I Information

The Brood I periodical cicada emergence happened in 2012 in Virginia, W. Virginia and Tennessee. Below are some of the highlights.

Brood XIX Information

The Brood XIX periodical cicada emergence has come and gone. Below is some information that you may find helpful.