There are so many it is difficult to keep up with the new nymphs seemingly sprouting from the ground every evening. What I’ve learned is that the cicada prefers to emerge at night. Thousands come out each night, crawl up the closest blade of grass, post or tree and molt into an adult overnight. They prefer to be under leaves for this molting process and I couldn’t figure out why, until recently. See the Cicada is inherently a very moisture dependent insect. When they emerge from the ground, they go through a final molting process into the winged pests we are familiar too. This final molting stage relies upon moisture because the wing of the cicada is filled out only through moisture which comes from its body and obvious sucking of water over the previous 17 years. Thus, why they prefer the cool of the night to emerge and molt. However, there are stragglers that come out in the morning. Its these stragglers that never successfully molt into the sex machines they are meant too. They will emerge in the morning, set themselves up on the nearest plant, molt and then the sun comes out. Like a reaction of a vampire, the cicada cannot pass from nymph to adult while the blazing sun is shining. You see, the sun disrupts the molting process. The sun burns the cicada nymph at its most vulnerable stage, going from nymph to adult. It is this stage of the Cicada’s life that it is the most vulnerable. When the Cicada emerges from its shell, it is soft, white and very wet. It’s body is subject to “sunburn”. If during this critical stage the Cicada is exposed to sunlight, its body melts, its wings melt and it either survives as a mutant incapable of flight or it simply is melted to death. I’ve had a number of Cicada emerge from beneath my greenhouse flooring only to be melted within an hour or so. I can see the mutants all over the trees next to their nymph shells.
However, those that survive, and there are thousands on my 7/10ths of an acre, they attach themselves everywhere they can. You can click on the pictures for an expanded version.
Here is a “New” adult. Doesn’t it look vulnerable to its white complexion and moisture sucking body?