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Going, Going, Gone

Goodbye cicadas

Back on May 19, I spotted a few cicada shells — golden brown empty casings — scattered in my Huntingtown yard.
    On May 21, I saw my first teneral adult, emerging milky white from a matching cotton-like casing.
    Then, I saw a few adults — black in their new exoskeleton with eerie red, beady eyes — crawling around the patio.
    After that, I saw nothing else. I could hear cicadas but not see them.
    So I was jealous when I heard reports of cicadas swarming not only in Virginia but also closer to home in Prince Frederick and Dunkirk. But not in Anne Arundel County, which was beyond the range of Brood II Magiciada of the 17-year cicadas.
    They were swarming around at King’s Landing Park, Ranger Winston Boutaugh confirmed.
    “Heck yea, we got ’em all here. I was riding the Gator this morning and they were flying all over me,” he said. “Two landed on my back and scared the heck out of me.”
    Before I got to the park, I heard their buzz and spotted several flying.
    At Pavilion 2, near the equestrian arena, I found myself in Cicada Heaven.
    I could hear them and see thousands of cicadas hovering amid the tree canopy. I held one in my hands and let it crawl up to my shoulder.
    I savored every moment, knowing that I wouldn’t see Brood II Magiciada for another 17 years.
    “My guess is when they’re on the ground, they’re on their way out,” said Park Tech Karlene Happell, who pointed out plenty of lifeless cicadas.
    Last week, Calvert spotters reported them all but gone: dying off in Cove Point, you can no longer hear them in Sunderland, scattered carcasses on the ground in Prince Frederick, all that’s left in Dunkirk are wings.
    The buzz is gone. The air is still and quiet. Even the empty shell casings and wings are gone, blown away by breezes.
    Brood II Magiciada’s time has come to an end.
    And so the 17-year wait begins.

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