WAR OF THE WORLDS: or why cicadas are assholes

Ever wonder what Ohio sounds like during the summer? Look no further than the classic War of the Worlds.

The lower thrum and high pitched buzz (minus the intermittent warble and blaster fire) drone on from sunrise to dusk out here, and are somewhat reminiscent of this movie's sound effects. 

I know I've made references to this movie (and the remake) before.  It was only March of last year that I ran nostalgic (nostalchick?) about War of the Water Towers (or how Big Things with More Than Two Legs scare the shit out of Humanity's offspring). My mind probably wouldn't have drudged up these these movies again were it not for the cicadas.

The Ohio Valley is cicada wonderland.  My own little town, cradled by tree-filled hills and pressed against the Ohio River's western shore, provides a critter haven for things that walk, swim, or fly. They, like us humans, probably wish a prompt extinction to all cicada kind.  It's not hard to imagine a young Bambi pressing his ears down to escape the agony. If animals were fluent in English, surely they would wail, "Shut up. Shut the fuck up!" and flood the mayor's office with written requests to "kill all tibicens with fire".

©Tory Nova
The cicada colloquially known as magicicadas are supposed to stay on a thirteen/seventeen year cycles. They sound similar to annual "dog day" cicadas. Somewhat. It's the cycling pests that evoke the sounds of aliens from Mars.  We had them - the bugs, not Martians - just five or six years ago.  Perhaps it was the mild winter that drove them to rise from the near-dead?  Or perhaps they realized it was the end of the world, politically-speaking, and opted to have one last hurrah before idiocy overtook humanity?  Who knows.

Well, the cicadas obviously know.  They have been rubbing their weensy cicada feet together all winter, plotting their evil uprising under our very noses! Total bastards trolling us harder than a bot during a Trump Twitter storm.

Oh Gruff, you're overdoing it. Surely the noise isn't that bad?

The loudest North American cicada, the Walker's cicada, rattles on at a volume of 105.9 decibels, according to cicadamania.com. I won't ever take it for granted (and feel very fortunate) that these bastards live in the Great Plains. However, I firmly believe our local varieties spent the winter taking choir lessons from them. 

And so they drone on, and I hunt for our copies of War of the Worlds. It's a failed attempt to assassinate the ear worm that lingers long after I have taken measures to mask the sound of Mother Nature's little assholes.


  1. Cicada season will be arriving here shortly. As the owner of no less that 10 trees in our front and back yards, we have cicadas galore. During this time (about two months) I never go out without a wide-brim hat and when they start dying off, often I carry an umbrella. I keep my eyes to the ground. I absolutely hate the crunch of a dead cicada. No, I cannot imagine that it is Fall leaves crunching beneath my feet. Everything is too green.

    1. Crunchy cicada husks are fairly gross. Thank goodness the ones out here die in the woods.

      I rented a cozy apartment in Colorado; the building had pines and juniper bushes surrounding it. One Miller moth season, the landlord decided to have all the green things sprayed. I walked out the front door with a cup of coffee, intent on taking in the breeze on the front porch. Barefoot. Across a thick layer of dead caterpillars. The gross out factor was surreal.


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