WCVE’s Cicada Watch

Help your family make the most of Richmond’s impending giant flying bug infestation with a citizen science project. Because, you know, lemons to lemonade and what not.

I can’t say I’m particularly excited about Brood II (AKA “East Coast Brood”1) making its appearance in the near future, but WCVE’s Cicada Watch helps frame the whole concept as much more “Fascinating Science Event to Experience With Your Family”, as opposed to “A Sign Of The End Times.”

The Community Ideas Station is encouraging its audience to take part in the Magicicada Mapping Project, an online effort (sponsored by National Geographic) to define the boundaries of Brood II, the group of periodical cicadas set to make its appearance in the Eastern United States this spring and early summer. Participation is simple: if you see a cicada, head over to the Magicadia Mapping Project website and report your findings. While you’re there, you can also check on Brood II’s progress and learn more about cicadas in general.

It really is a neat event to experience when you think about it; we last saw Brood II in 1996 and won’t again until 2030.2 So, suppress those heebie-jeebies if you got ‘em, and use this as a chance to let your kids get bitten by the science bug.

Horrible, terrifying3 pun intended.

For more information–including cicada recipes because sure–stop by ideastations.org. And if you’re looking for a way to introduce your curious kiddos to cicadas, here’s a short but helpful piece that ran on NBC Nightly News last month. It does a great job of explaining the life cycle and what we can expect over the coming weeks, and offers up a nice sampling of the notorious “cicada chorus.”

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  1. What are they, some kind of hip hop group? 
  2. You might remember that we also got to experience an “emergence” back in 2011 by the Great Southern Brood. That group has a 13-year life cycle, so we only have to wait until 2024 to see them again. Yay? 
  3. I can’t be objective about these things, I’m sorry. And for what it’s worth, cicadas don’t bite. 

Photo by: clannnagael

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Valerie Catrow

Valerie Catrow is editor of RVAFamily, mother to a mop-topped first grader, and always really excited to go to bed.

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