Cicada envy? Look at this Herndon guy’s infestation

While some in the National Capital region have yet to lay eyes on a single member of the 17-year Brood X and may be feeling cicada envy, Jeff Herge of Herndon, Virginia, invites you to look at his fence.

“A lot of people are saying ‘I haven’t seen one yet,'” said Herge. “Our house was built in the mid-’70s, so it’s been through a couple of these cycles.”

Herge saw his first cicada a few weeks ago, on his windshield wiper. Since then, he’s observed the sights and sounds of the cicadas’ arrival.

“One sound was just the noise of their claws, climbing up the tree,” he said.

In the past few days, as the weather has remained warm, and the cicadas have become older, in their average month-long lifespan as an adult, their behaviors have changed.

“Today, I’m starting to see them fly, and also making noise in the background,” said Herge. “It’s almost like a car alarm, somewhere off in the distance.”

University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp has said the shrill noise of adult males singing to attract female mates will continue to grow in volume into Memorial Day weekend.

The mobility of cicadas is fascinating to some, worrisome to others.

“When I go walking, if I stand there too long they start crawling up my leg,” Herge said. “My wife is suggesting people wear a scarf. One lady was talking about shaving herself bald-headed, because she didn’t even want to have any hair for them to climb into.”

Herge was able to document one cicada’s life journey with a time-lapse video.

While continuing to document the once-every-17-years infestation of Brood X, there are some drawbacks.

“I’m hesitant to walk near the fence because I’m squishing and crunching them now,” said Herge. “It’s a disgusting mess.”

Jeff Herge of Herndon, Virginia, has so many cicadas by his fence that he hesitates to walk near it. (Courtesy Jeff Herge)

 

Neal Augenstein

Neal Augenstein has been a reporter at WTOP since 1997. Through the years, Neal has covered many of the crimes and trials that have gripped the region. Neal's been pleased to receive awards over the years for hard news, feature reporting, use of sound and sports.

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A cicada drives a car carrying a boat trailer in this photo staged by Scott and Ellie Kanowitz. (Courtesy Scott and Ellie Kanowitz)

A cicada rides a skateboard in this photo staged by Scott and Ellie Kanowitz. (Courtesy Scott and Ellie Kanowitz)

A cicada wears a police hat in this photo staged by Scott and Ellie Kanowitz. (Courtesy Scott and Ellie Kanowitz)

Cicadas are locked up in a police car in this photo staged by Scott and Ellie Kanowitz. (Courtesy Scott and Ellie Kanowitz)

((Courtesy Scott and Ellie Kanowitz))
A white cicada.

Cicadas swarm a D.C. flag in a Northwest District community on May 18, 2021. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Countless cicadas emerge from the ground in a Northwest D.C. neighborhood on May 18, 2021. (WTOP/Dave Dildine)

Cicadas on a tire in this file photo.

A swarm of cicadas collect on a garden fence along Northwest D.C.’s Reno Road, near Chevy Chase, during a mass emergence on May 18, 2021. (WTOP/Alejandro Alvarez)

Cicadas get better acquainted in Potomac, Maryland on May 20, 2021.

Dozens of cicadas dot a tree on South Utah Street in Arlington, Virginia, on May 19, 2021. (WTOP/Antonello Favaro)

Jeff Herge of Herndon, Virginia, has so many cicadas by his fence that he hesitates to walk near it. (Courtesy Jeff Herge)

Cicadas dry their wings after emerging from the ground in D.C.s Palisades neighborhood on May 10, 2021. (Courtesy Jewel Tomasula)

Three “Brood X” cicadas cling to a tree and shed their shells in D.C.’s Palisades neighborhood on May 10, 2021. (Courtesy Jewel Tomasula)

A safe spot for cicadas is found in Potomac, Maryland on May 20, 2021.

Cicadas break in their new bodies in Potomac, Maryland on May 20, 2021.

A newly-molted cicada stands beside its former self in D.C.’s Woodley Park neighborhood on May 18, 2021. (WTOP/Brennan Haselton)

An adult cicada hangs upside down just after shedding its nymphal skin, early Wednesday, May 5, 2021, on the University of Maryland campus in College Park, Md. The cicadas of Brood X, trillions of red-eyed bugs singing loud sci-fi sounding songs, can seem downright creepy. Especially since they come out from underground only ever 17 years. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

An adult cicada is seen, in Washington, Thursday, May 6, 2021. Trillions of cicadas are about to emerge from 15 states in the U.S. East. The cicadas of Brood X, trillions of red-eyed bugs singing loud sci-fi sounding songs, can seem downright creepy. Especially since they come out from underground only ever 17 years. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A cicada nymph wiggles its front legs as it is held, Sunday, May 2, 2021, in Frederick, Md. People tend to be scared of the wrong insects, says University of Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum. The mosquito kills more people than any other animals because of malaria and other diseases. Yet some people really dread the cicada emergence, she said. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

A periodical cicada nymph clings to a tree branch on May 11, 2021 in Greenbelt, Maryland. – Some are waiting for their arrival with trepidation, others are curious what they might taste like: Americans are swapping tips on how best to weather the storm when billions of cicadas soon emerge after 17 years underground. (Photo by JIM WATSON / AFP) (Photo by JIM WATSON/AFP via Getty Images)

A robin feeds a cicada to her young. (Courtesy Jennifer Baum)

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