Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Cicada Summer

Last summer was a real live backyard horror movie titled Return of the 17-Year Cicada. The sequel was Revenge of the Itch Mites.

I haven't forgotten the horror that was last summer . . . the piles of shells at the feet of the maples, flocks of gulls swarming the streets and front yards of the neighborhood as they feasted on the bugs, stray cicadas smashing into your eye, or nose, or arm, or head. The ones that got kinda stuck in your hair were the worst. And the noise. It was deafening.

From May to the end of August, the outdoors in our area was essentially uninhabitable. Just as the cicadas were finally dying off at the end of July, the itch mites came and stayed for a month to feed on cicada carcasses and eggs. and us.

The worst part about the itch mites, beside the itch, was they were so small they were invisible. They'd get under clothes and bite all over your body. Not to mention your face. The bites didn't start to itch until hours later, after the damage had been done. One night when DH was slathering me with benadryl cream, he counted over 20 bites just on my back.

Determined souls as we are didn't so easily give up our summer outdoors lifestyle. The last straw finally came one weekend after we were covered with insanely itchy itch mite bites. We waved the white flag and retreated to the house for the rest of the summer.

This is a new year. The coast should be clear and I can hardly wait to get back outside. I'm daydreaming of lazy Saturdays preening and watering while something wonderful is slow-roasting on the grill. Cicadas and itch mites are NOT invited to the party.


  1. Holy cow - that's a lot of cicadas! We didn't have any here in the northern Fox Valley. We had to go all the way to the Chicago Botanic Garden to see a few, but they were nothing like what you had. Unfortunately, last summer was "Invasion of the Itch Mites" at the parks & forest preserves. They'll probably show up in my garden this year.

  2. Mr. McGregor's Daughter,

    You're lucky you missed the cicadas!

    I hope the itch mites went the way of the cicadas and won't be back this summer.

  3. I'm glad we don't have these bugs in Norway! Hopefully they will not come to your garden this summer.

    Have a nice day :)

  4. Cicadas in my hair? No thank you, I'll pass on them. We always have a few year and spent a weekend in Maryland 3 years ago when they were having their 17 year invasion. Don't even want to know about those itch mites!

  5. Marie, I'm glad for you that you don't get them. They come to our area every 17 years. By the time they come back the next time, I'll be an old woman!

    Melanie, the ones that got in my hair were almost the last straw for me. They were disgusting, and the itch mites about drove me insane. I've never had bites that itched so much or lasted so long. If we had them every year, I think I'd give up on gardening!

  6. I never see Cicadas in Indonesia. I hope you can do some activities in your garden now.

  7. Surya, It would be ok with me if I never saw them either! The ones that come every 17 years are the worst, but we have annual cicadas too. There aren't so many of those, but they are very noisy in late summer.

  8. I have a friend that lives in the Hindsdale area and she had a horrible experience with the cicadas too.

    Here we didn't have them in hordes. We had our normal amount come out. The worst was a couple of years prior and it was deafening to go to the park where we often walk. It was creepy so I kinda know what you went through.

    The itch mites though. I have never heard of them. How awful.

  9. Lisa, Hinsdale, yes! They were awful there, and LaGrange too.

    I was taking the train downtown from LaGrange in 1973 or so during the cicada's emergence then. That year was worse in LaGrange than last year was here.

  10. Yikes! That doesn't sound like fun at all. Poor you, but fortunately there will be no cicadas for a loooooooong time. And hopefully those nasty itch mites will stay away too. :-)

  11. Yolanda, I'm old enough to remember 3 cicada summers, but I don't ever remember having itch mites after the cicadas until 2007. I hope the itch mites never come back!

  12. Anonymous10:35 PM

    Waaah! Thankfully, I was in Germany during the last awakening and not in my native Virginia.

    I am not afraid of very many things, but giant red eyed cicadas give me the creeps!

    I remember on the news (I watched it on the net) everyone tried to make the best of the situation - chefs were making cicada scampi!
    p.s. lovely blog you have here.

  13. Hi Kimberley, Thank you for visiting my blog! I'm with you - cicadas are creepy! And I can't imagine eating them! Eeeeeewwwwwww! I must say though, my lab mix enjoyed them. I think they upset his stomach though, so I couldn't let him eat any more, poor baby. . .


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