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Locust Hatch...How much Damage?


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A month or so ago we were joking about tying locust fly's for the fishing this summer as the hatch is upon us of the 17 year locust. Over the past few weeks i have visited many Forest Preserves due to the flooding for locust observing instead of fishing.

 

What i have found so far without a whole lot of foot searching beyong parking lots concerns me. 3 major Preserves have very large hatches right in or near the parking lots themselves.

 

Deer Run where the ISA north held an outing a month or so ago is absolutley swarming with them, the whole entire tree line along the river and parking lot is being eaten up (tree's) from these pesky creatures.

 

The same day i was at Deer Run i had warned a gentleman walking his dogs before they left the lot of how thick they were, he and his dogs decided to take the prarie trail insted of the river trail to avoid the hatch.

An hour or two later they returned and i spoke to him again. He told me as they walked they came across an anceint Oak Grove that was so loud from the noise that he wanted ear plugs,he guessed around 80 decibels. Turns out as we talked more that he is a pilot for United and he said it was louder than standing near a plane.

 

From my observations in and near the parking lots there has already been major damage to tree's,mostly the leave systems of the tree's. Problem here lies in the fact that yes those tree's have lost their leaves, will they survive without the leaves until next year. Without leaves the tree's will starve for sunlight and moisture which leaves provide them.

 

Deer Run is a preserve that opened up a few years back,beautiful preserve. The parking area the district had planted several new oaks in the turn around trying to produce a grove for picknicing,these Oaks have been totally chewed up by the locusts.

 

So i wonder when it's all said and done just how much forest will we loose because of this?

 

Gypsy Moth's look out you have competition!

 

Lastly i wonder as a freindly service with the preserve districts which the ISA has had with our sign postings how could we help them out while were fishing. Heres my idea.

 

If your driving near a preserve or fishing one, turn down the car radio and listen and make a mental note as to where you hear them, if you spot them make a mental note as well. By using a topographical mapping site such as Topozone.com print out an ariel veiw of that preserve and highlight with a marker the patches you have found them and drop them off at local Forest Preserve District Offices.

Im sure this is something the districts are watching and are also worried about and as short staffed as all Illinois departments are they could use the extra help locating these pests and to also watch the area's being attacked in the near future to see what damage becomes of these area's.

 

Im including a few photo's, one is the locusts themselves(very hard to photograph by the way as the wings move so fast your camera will NOT focus on them,you have to turn the auto focus off to even have a chance!) This one picture took over 50 shots to even get!

 

The second and third pictures are the Oak Grove that was planted a few years back and the damage thus far. (Note the eaten leaves)

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It was my understanding that the adults had no mouth parts. Only the juviniles had the ability to eat. LOCUSTS have mouth parts, and eat vegitation (Many times people call the cicadas, locusts. Hence, the confusion.). CICADAS do not eat after emerging as adults. They merely emerge to mate, then die. (98% of their life is lived underground. They DO feed as larva.)

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All articles that have been written state the same thing.

 

No damage to mature trees.

 

They don't eat or bite.

 

Mate, lay eggs and die.

 

Only new small platings of trees should be covered with a cloth.

 

If these things damaged all the trees they were in, there would not be mature trees there from the last hatch 17 years ago.

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I have been to a grove in Naperville where the cicadas were quite deafening as well. I did not notice any trees being eaten - young or old. I will go by there again to see if they are eating anything. The young eat underground (or so I thought) until they emerge. Then its all about the nookie. Perhaps some other critter is eating the leaves.

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Because the cicadas are often referred to as "17 year locusts" people often mistakenly think they are the same as the locusts that devour biblical stuff. They are two different insects, and the cicadas are harmless.

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Perhaps some other critter is eating the leaves.

 

From what I have seen in previous 17 Year Locust years and this year, that eating is not typical of the Locusts. The 17 Year Locusts do make a slit in the bark to insert their eggs into the small twigs on the tips of tree branches. This process weakens the very tips of some beranches to the extent that they snap off. The result is that you will see a lot of 4 to 6" leaved twigs on the ground in a couple of weeks. One source said that this is how the larva make the trip from the tree tops to the grouind. The standard explanation is that mature trees can take the shock of loosing some twigs and leaves while newly planted stuff might be hit harder.

 

But. Hey! What effects are we seeing on fishing? I expected by now to hear of someone doing real well with a black Jude bug or a black Crick Hopper. So far the areas where I have fished, though very close to the Arboretum, were almost free of Locusts. Thus there were no signs of fish eating them.

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Not to change subjects completely, but I had a CICADAS experience on the Vermillion River last Sunday. The heavily forested river gorge was roaring with CICADAS. I was pretty kool as i waded and fished the smallies (20 plus fish day). They made a much different noise when they ended up in the water - kind of a drowned ticking noise - weird. I could hear them coming up behind me as the down stream flow approached and I faced down stream fishing. As I fished my last spot (a back pool/eddie), I noticed surface swirls on the lite foamed water surface. Watching this closely for a few minutes, I noticed that something was attacking the CICADAS that had fallen into the pool. I next unzipped my chest pack and grabbed a small wiggle wart that closely matched the color and shape of the CICADAS. I casted high at the action creating a large splash. Now these wiggle warts float so I twitched it in the foam. Within seconds there was a huge explosion on the wart and my drag went reeling. Man my heart jumped!! I quickly realized I had a problem when i looked at my spool and could see metal (i don't spool much line). Fortunately, the aggressor stopped short spool knot on it's first run. I worked it in slowly and heavy to realize & see i had a 15 to 20 lbs carp on. What a pig. As I stepped toward a convienent docking area, it saw me and took off again. Unfortunately this time it didn't stop in which i lost my line and wart - bye, bye. Forturnately I was carrying a second pole and within the next 20 mins or so i picked up (2) more carp the same way - same spot - with a short floating Rapala (perch color) - both had orange and eyes. The second (2) carp were approx. 5 to 7 lbs ea and were a riot to bring in. Anybody had this carp/cidada experience? It was a total surprise to me. On the way out of the gorge I stopped by the tree line edge of the river for 10 minutes or so and watched thousands of Cicadas make flight and cheer. The sun was in the background of my view shooting it's rays thru the creature wings with a golden/orange glow - can you see it? It was 17 year moment that I will never forget.

 

Also, when I got back to my truck to leave, and older gentlemen approached who was walking and asked how I had done. I said "what?" - he repeated and I answered. He asked a couple of more question in which I asked him to repeat not hearing what he said. It dawned upon me that the CICADAS chant had effected my hearing. I still had a little ring in my ears and hour or so later but was pretty back to normal by the time I got home.

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But. Hey! What effects are we seeing on fishing? I expected by now to hear of someone doing real well with a black Jude bug or a black Crick Hopper. So far the areas where I have fished, though very close to the Arboretum, were almost free of Locusts. Thus there were no signs of fish eating them.

 

 

I've landed a small LM and a few rockies on an Arbogast Cicada out on the Dup.

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Guest Don R
Im including a few photo's, one is the locusts themselves(very hard to photograph by the way as the wings move so fast your camera will NOT focus on them,you have to turn the auto focus off to even have a chance!) This one picture took over 50 shots to even get!

 

They are much easier to photograph after you bite the head off. (although they still move around a bit for a while)

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I learned recently that one in every one million cicada's have blue eyes. I thought this was pretty interesting...I haven't looked for any but if you do see if you can find one.

 

Jim

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B)-->

QUOTE(jim b @ Jun 14 2007, 10:15 AM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
I learned recently that one in every one million cicada's have blue eyes. I thought this was pretty interesting...I haven't looked for any but if you do see if you can find one.

 

Jim

 

hmmm...

up 'til now, I thought it was their blueish colored intestines, that were splattered on my vehicles windshield.

Glad to hear it was only "bug eyes".

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Mike....I tried the black Bug on Monday, but the river was too high and muddy (which I am getting very sick of). I saw plenty of them floating by, and watched every one of them, but never saw any get hit.

 

Matthew, I never would have guessed they'd be good for carp! Sounds like a blast. BTW, you forgot to capitalize the second to last "cicadas" in your post. Might want to edit. :lol:

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