BLUEFIELD — Cicadas have been filling the region’s forest with a constant droning which calls alien spaceships to mind, but cooler-than-usual temperatures have dampened their songs.
“It has been usually cold the last couple of days,” Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Extension Agent John Blankenship of North Tazewell, Va. said Wednesday. “I think a lot of insects are like that. They don’t necessarily go into hibernation, but they just find a heavy leaf and hunker down.”
According to a study conducted by Purdue University, cicadas sing only when temperatures are over 72 degrees. Recent temperatures have been well below that mark.
Records at the National Weather Service in Blacksburg, Va. showed a maximum high temperature in Bluefield Tuesday of 57 degrees, the lowest on record for June 15. The previous record maximum temperature for Bluefield on June 15 was 60 degrees in 1965.
The weather service has forecasted a high of 73 degrees Friday and 79 degrees on Sunday, so it will gradually become warm enough to inspire cicada songs again.
“They’re not as active now, but it’s not that they go away and go into hibernation,” Blankenship said. “They haven’t left us yet. I can assure you of that.”
The cicadas being heard in Princeton and Bluefield may be a little ahead of the ones around the Tazewell, Va. area, he added.
“It’s not that they haven’t gotten here,” Blankenship said. “They’re hatching.”
— Contact Greg Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org