They Really Bug Me

According to the West Virginia Department of Agriculture, there will NOT be any cicadas in the Mountain State this summer as rumors have suggested. YEAH!

The 17-year locusts aren’t scheduled in West Virginia until 2016, according to state Ag Commissioner Walt Helmick.

However, some surrounding states, including Pennsylvania, will see those big-eyed winged things come out of the ground and invade eardrums and properties this summer. I don’t know about you, but I hate those bugs.

When I was a kid I tried to pretend that I wasn’t afraid of them. When my brothers and other boys in the neighborhood realized that I was hiding out in the house that summer they soon figured out why. They would collect those ugly brown shells the bugs left behind on the trees and throw them on me and the other girls, invoking a war between the sexes and insects

I can still hear the crunch of those abandoned shells under our feet as we walked through the yard. It was like something out of a horror movie.

I recall when we were all crammed into my parents’ station wagon on our way to Moundsville to visit my aunt and uncle on a steamy summer Sunday afternoon. I purposely sat in the middle between siblings because I didn’t want to be next to an open window. Didn’t matter. A cicada flew in the car window and landed directly on my leg. I nearly caused a major accident on U.S. 250 when I screamed in terror.

Don’t even think you’re getting me on a bicycle or the back of the Harley when the cicadas are flying about in their “out of the ground” frenzy. If you’ve ever been struck by a large bug while zipping down the highway, you know what I’m talking about. It hurts.

One bug year I nearly suffocated from the heat in my car without air conditioning because I would not roll down the windows for fear of another bombardment from cicada nation. When my husband left the windows down in his truck, I would inspect the interior for invaders before climbing in. There were always of few of those red-eyed bugs hiding under the seats only to make an appearance while I was driving. I’m lucky I didn’t get arrested for swerving to pull over and then jumping out to remove the bugs from the cab of the truck.

Why can’t vehicles be equipped with window screens? I predict a long, buggy summer in three years, spent inside with a few good books. The porch sitting will be put on hold.

I realize that cicadas offer some sort of useful purpose in the greater plan for nature. Other creatures, birds and such, gobble them up, thus serving more than one species.

But what’s with all the noise? Some people say they enjoy the long whine of the cicadas as they sing their mating song, especially at night. All it does is remind me that they are out there in the dark, waiting for me.

Heather Ziegler can be reached at