By Dan Shapley
The most famous cicadas -- those chattering bugs that dig their way out from underground only once every 17 years -- are set to make their appearance any day now throughout the Midwest. Across the country, people are accustomed to hearing cicadas during summer. The sometimes overwhelming decibel output from the tiny bugs are as a distinctive part of summer as sudden afternoon thunderstorms. Different species of cicadas have their own schedule, and some emerge each year. But the big periodic broods, each numbered with the austere authority of a Superbowl (this year's is Brood XIII) are in a class by themselves. The swarms are more than a chattering accompaniment to picnics. They can blacken the skies and prevent all conversation. At that, they're an awe-inspiring natural phenomenon. It, like other natural phenomena tied to the weather, could be changing with the climate, as cicadas are emerging about a week earlier
than they used to, according to a story in the May 25 Los Angeles Times.