–by Dr. Bob Bauernfeind
Whereas the current cool weather and rains have been a boon to farmers and stockmen (think wheat and farm ponds) across the state, the explosive emergence of Brood IV periodical cicadas has yet to happen. I have visited several sites in and near the Manhattan area —– all has been silent.
I have received a report from Robert Hoard in Topeka where (as he arrived at work) last Monday, May 18, he noted emergence holes and cast skins (exuvia) in a flower bed next to his parking lot. The likely scenario is that the periodicals emerged some evening(s) between Friday through Sunday when daytime temperatures were high 70’s and low 80’s. Although he has yet to see any adults, they are likely nearby, lying low, perhaps hidden in and under the dense plant foliage.
In order to somewhat quickly determine a rough estimate of numbers of emerged periodicals, Robert placed a 1 m2 grid over a portion of the flower bed —- counting 53 holes over a smaller sub-grid area. It will be interesting keep this area under observation to see if what initially emerged was just the tip of the iceberg for the 1 m2 area. (This image can be greatly enlarged should you choose to do so — an exercise for making a full count. An extrapolation could then be performed to obtain the estimated number of periodical cicadas per/hectare —– or if to be more meaningful, convert to a per/acre basis).
Looking at the projected mid-to-high 70s/low 80’s for Memorial day through next Saturday, periodical cicadas should begin popping out like popcorn in a popcorn maker. I would appreciate my phone ringing off-the-wall (yes, still a land-line user —- 785-532-4752) as well as e-mail messages (email@example.com) reporting periodical cicada activities. I would especially be appreciative of reports from the counties in yellow, orange, blue and pink.