Predatory Stink Bugs

I believe these are Florida Predatory Stink Bug nymphs. I don’t know if they killed this cicada or found it already dead. Either way, their late-night feast created an eerie scene on the fence.

I am an amateur at identifying “true bugs”. Please comment to correct or confirm this ID!

More and More Cicadas (with another arachnophobia alert)

The yard is littered with cicada molts. Dozens of them on the fence, in the irises, in the roses, and hanging from trees. They fall into cobwebs and sway in the breeze. Then the wind sweeps them away, making room for new waves of emergence.

Is it like this every year?

Have I been so blind? I don’t want to believe it. How could I have missed such a glorious swarm?

What’s more, how could I have walked past a cicada caught in a spider web without stopping to stare? I found another one today. This time the web belonged to a much smaller spider than yesterday’s garden giant.

I believe this summer has produced an extraordinarily large population of cicadas, though I have no proof.

For that matter, much of what I believe can’t be proven. So I’ll go ahead and say it with confidence–this summer has produced an extraordinarily large population of cicadas.

(Here’s a clip of the noise they make, their “song.” It’s loud, so you might want to reduce the volume on your speakers before playing.)

Blue Moon Friday (Arachnophobia Alert!)

The blue moon suits my mood. I’m tired and sluggish, ready to crawl off into some quiet corner and lose myself in a half-edited manuscript, one burdened with rambling paragraphs and boring verbs. It needs dragonflies.

A couple of spiders wouldn’t hurt, either.

Because spiders matter. Even the ones that eat butterflies. (I believe this was a Cloudless Sulfur butterfly.)

I want my story to feel real, so it can’t be all flutter and gleam. It needs sticky strands of web, for tension. And rough surfaces, for texture.

Now, if only I could find a way to add cicadas. Maybe just one. A late summer cicada, laying its eggs under the bark of a pear tree…

Cicada Molt Video

I found this cicada getting ready to molt after a thunderstorm. Many thanks to Pete Nickenig for providing the music!

More Cicadas

Adult cicadas are not built for survival. After years underground, the mature males and females tunnel upward and undergo a final, laborious molt. Then they test new wings. Adjust their eyes to the unfamiliar sky. Their last weeks are spent in sunlight and flight and pheromones. They feed and sing. Mate and die.

This summer I’ve watched the cicadas more closely than usual, though I don’t know why. Something about their abandoned husks on the fence caught and held my attention. My moonlit strolls in the yard turned into vigils as I witnessed the cicadas’ midnight molts. I’ve found them in the trees and on the driveway and on the deck. And I’ve begun to wonder if they mourn for the dim, damp earth of their youth. I wonder if they dread what emerges with their wings, if they fear their rapid senescence and dwindling strength. Does death mean anything different to a cicada than it does to me? Maybe it is simply another form of molting, for both of us.