August 3, 2011

In and Out of the Quad Cities: Are we Getting Buggy? The Mysteries of Summer Revealed

Contributed by Gail McPike and Toni Hall

Can you believe it… our story was on the front cover of last month’s 50+ Lifestyles? We’ve been walking on air. We made sure our mothers got a copy to send out to all those aunts and uncles. We even thought about sending a copy off to our 3rd grade teacher – we imagined that she would somehow be impressed. It was the very pinnacle of our journalistic career. Back in 70s there was a song called “Cover of Rolling Stone,” and we’ve been humming it all month. But this pair of roving correspondents isn’t going to rest on their laurels… no sireè. We have doubled down to come up with a scoop so fantastic it will put us in the running for the Pulitzer Prize of 50+ stardom.

And speaking of August, as we round the turn and head into the summer backstretch, it’s safe to say we all are becoming experts on the HOT topic of summer. To illustrate the depths of our commitment to our role as 50+ correspondents, we have braved the 100 degree heat and 90 percent humidity to research the things about summer that, well, bug us.

Cicadas – Aren’t these things supposed to hit every 17 years? It’s the cool of the evening. The sun is slowly setting on the western skies. The refreshing breeze of the summer night is beginning to stir. You grab a glass of your favorite Sangria recipe and retire to the veranda (or at least the patio). But the unwinding is interrupted. Truth is, in our part of the QCs, you can barely hold a civil conversation after dark. This locust (family members) plagues our city. They’re only supposed to come out every 17 years, but weren’t they bugging us last year, too?

To better understand this issue, we went to Mr. Know-it-all, we mean Current Trophy Husband, Frank. He did a couple quick reference searches and came back with this. Yes, indeed, one member of the Cicada family is on a 17-year cycle. These bugs go through a 17-year life cycle, so the noisy critters were born back when Bill Clinton was president. They only come out every 17 years, but apparently some of their family members didn’t get the memo. A good number of the Cicada family is on a two or three-year life cycle. So they go about disturbing the peace every summer.

And Speaking of More Summer Time Bugs

We like to take walks along the Mississippi River. The walk from Lindsay Park to Downtown Davenport is one of the most serene treks a person can make. The lights of the Centennial Bridge dance across the water. An occasional tow boat with barges moves along, slowly readying for the Lock and Dam at Arsenal Island. It’s beautiful. But a couple of days this summer, we had to concentrate on keeping our mouths closed to avoid taking on a diet rich in protein and bug legs. Yep, these little guys seem to spend their lives waiting to crash land on your tonsils mid-sentence.

According to the Scott County Extension service, this year has seen a bumper crop of Mayflies. They don’t know why they were attracted to our fair city, but they showed up in big numbers. But they aren’t as bad as they’ve been in the past. One long time QCA resident and frequent fisherman along our walk told us in past years they had to use special equipment to remove these guys from the bridges. So many landed on the bridge it turned into a traffic hazard. We were skeptical, but a quick search of the internet revealed issues with these guys closing down bridges in numerous locations. They’re a heinous detriment to modern society. And Mother Nature must have been pretty fed up with them, too. Unlike their noisy cousins of the Cicada family, these creepers live for less than a day before joining their friends in that big flytrap in the sky.

We thought Yellow Lights didn’t attract Bugs

When we were kids, everybody had a yellow light bulb on their front porch. And according to the common wisdom of the time, yellow lights didn’t attract bugs. We decided not to put together massive scientific research program to check out the story. Instead, we took the money and went out for ice cream. During our trip, we noticed the Tasty Freeze utilized a massive yellow light display. Our guess is, with the proper equipment, you could see the yellow din from outer space. So, if yellow lights have an effect on buzzing bugs, this place would be 150 percent bug free.

As we made the turn into their old-fashioned ice cream drive-in, we noticed a strange haze in the air. Could it be a dirty windshield? Or, were there billions of bugs flying everywhere? As we stood in line for our flavorful treat – we noticed a few people twitching. We assumed they were in the final stages of “ice cream induced psychosis” – a nervous reaction to going over 12 hours without hot fudge. But we soon found ourselves swishing away Junebugs, Mayflies and moths of every size. This bugged us, but not enough to stop our feast.
We like to end on a positive note

They say bad news sells newspapers. Happily 50+ Lifestyles is free, so this allow us to end this story on an upbeat happy note. Bugs don’t like ice cream. We’d like to wish you a great late summer.

Filed Under: Community, Featured, Humor

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Trackback URL: