Cicada Mania: periodical summer insect invasion marks a 17-year benchmark in time

PBS NewsHour has a wonderful feature on cicadas, the mysterious insects overwhelming large swaths of the Eastern United States this summer. Their behavior and deafening song provides research material for scientists, inspiration for artists and mixed reactions from residents. Miles O'Brien reports. A transcript and links to some of the cool projects referenced in the piece are all here.

Below, an extended cut NewsHour out-take video I requested featuring David Rothenberg, a musician who makes music with the cicadas. How cool is this guy? He is my favorite thing about this piece. And of course Pesco has blogged about him before here on Boing Boing, back in 2010!

And don't miss PBS NewsHour producer Jenny Marder's periodical cicada hunt with John Cooley, "a veteran expert of the behavior, distribution and unusual courtship rituals of these insects."


  1. We lived in Nashville the last time The Great Swarm appeared and since we don’t really experience this in Michigan, I thought everyone was pulling my leg. Let me just say that it was EPIC. I’ve never seen anything quite like this. We no longer live there and I can’t say I’m going to regret that. :D

  2. I’m not particularly pleased that they stole the name of my website for their program. But the people in the interview are good eggs.

      1.  Busy day, but eventually I got around to it. I have to email Russel O’Brien to tell him that he’s rustled my jimmies.

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