When I was a child in the long ago, I always hated to hear the jar flies, aka summer cicadas.

There are many nicknames for them. Periodic cicadas (17-year cicadas) are often called locusts. Annual or summertime cicadas are called jar flies, harvest flies or dog day cicadas, depending on what part of the USA you're from.

Why do we call them jar flies? Perhaps it is because when you catch one and hold it in your hand it "jars" or vibrates.

Others say the nickname came from the constant singing that might "jar" or unsettle some people's nerves who are not accustomed to hearing it for hours on end.

Or it could be that kids catch them and put them in jars, hence "jar fly."

But a chill went up my spine when, as a youngster, I heard them in late July or early August. Mother Nature was telling that summer was passing too soon and I would be trading my summer shorts and bare feet for school clothes and shoes.

It would still be a month for summer to end and school to begin. My age group would never go to school until a day or two after Labor Day.

These days kids start to school much earlier, sometimes in early August, though I am not sure these extra days allow teachers to pound more "stuff" into their soft heads.

These late days of summer were filled with angry yellow jackets that came from their underground nests to attack anyone who crossed their paths.

Unlike honeybees that sting once and die, yellow jackets hold on with their pinchers and sting again and again, especially when late summer told them time was short and their anger was elevated to make them terrorists.

But back to cicadas. When I heard them in the trees, it meant the appearance of sand hornets, also known as "cicada killers." Their appearance was fearsome. They were huge and they appeared to be curious. When later in life I piloted a riding mower over the Peyton Place lawn, these huge bees would follow me around as if they were examining their prey.

I learned later that, for their huge size, sand hornets were rather docile and they were following me in hopes I stirred up cicadas.

Upon "harvesting" a cicada, the female sand hornet takes it to a hole she has dug in sandy soil and lays one egg in it. When the sand hornet larva hatches, it will feast on the cicada until it becomes an adult before cold weather and then hibernate 'til spring when the life cycle repeats, as prescribed by the ancient natural laws.

Ah, yes. Despite what humankind is doing to try to defeat Mother Nature, the age-old life cycle continues to repeat.

Racism. Diversity. The economy. Human lies. Human truths. The 2020 elections. All these and more are meaningless to Mom Nature and her kids.

Climate change? She will deal with it until she can stand no more.

At that point, she may eradicate the cause in order to save herself.

Dave Peyton is on Facebook. His email address is davepeyton@comcast.net.


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