Nearly ten years ago a brood of the red-eyed cicadas invaded the northern Virginia region. I was living in Winchester, VA at the time and remember just how thick the air was with that distinct busy, buzzing sound only a cicada (times ten-thousand) can make. For about a month, early in the summer of 2004, the insects themselves made their presence known, aimlessly flying around, criss-crossing from tree to tree, or to whatever solid surface they could latch their little orange legs onto. In fact, local comic artist extraordinaire Matt Dembicki chronicled their visit in a daily comic he did at the time, which you can take a look at HERE!
We have cicadas here in Virginia every summer - the green kind to be exact (directly below, buzzing like crazy), whose noise level seems to peak in August, though in much smaller numbers. It's a welcome sound and a good sound - it's presence a good indicator of a healthy local environment. However, when the red-eyed guys were around, it took some time to get accustomed to, though when it all ended, and the ground got covered in a layer of cicada carcasses, it felt like something was sadly missing. I actually missed the bugs and their loud ruckus that eventually became a common everyday sound.
Originally we were expecting a brood to appear here in Leesburg, Virginia, but apparently they decided to start showing up elsewhere in neighboring counties. That's too bad because I looked forward to seeing and hearing them once again, as well as witnessing my wife's reaction, since she's never seen them before in real life and finds them slightly terrifying. I can see her point, but they're actually one of the most docile, passive and somewhat tragic insects I've ever known of. Just don't drive with your windows down when such a brood is at full strength.
Here I included several pictures I took in 2004, mostly in my front yard, using my first digital camera, which was an Olympus with something like two megapixels. I wish I had documented their visit more thoroughly, considering how rarely they tend to come around.
Thankfully, somebody actually did document the life cycle of these red-eyed rascals, and he did a remarkable job. Though it's not the same as them being here, it'll do until their next visit in seven or eight years from now, if Kris and I are still in the area. Hey, at least I can still drive with the windows down. More information by the filmmaker, Samuel Orr can be found below.
Return of the Cicadas from motionkicker on Vimeo.
I've been working an a 1-hour documentary on cicadas since 2007, and now have a crowd-funding campaign going on over at kickstarter;
This video can be embedded (via vimeo please) on third-party websites as long as you credit me (Samuel Orr) as the filmmaker, and please mention the kickstarter project. Contact me if you want to feature the film or excerpts in broadcast media.
Dexter Britain is the composer/musician of the music track.