The return of the 17-year cicadas has Washington talking.
Some folks will be glad to see the cicadas skedaddle. Bill Garrett, former editor of the National Geographic magazine, says females have been vandalizing his vineyard in Great Falls with their ovipositors. "The cicadas normally lay their eggs on a tree. Unfortunately, they are very happy to do it to my wine vines," Garrett writes. "Most of the branches and the grape cane dies and falls to the ground."
Garrett, 73, who bottles a little vino for his friends, is used to battling deer and raccoons, but cicadas have proven a formidable foe. He's ready for a 17-year breather before the next battle.
Ian Houghton, on the other hand, will be sad to say goodbye. After learning all about the cicadian life cycle at Flint Hill Elementary in Vienna, 6-year-old Ian set up a cicada dating service. To help them "get married," as he says, Ian finds singing male cicadas and pairs them with non-singing -- and presumably female -- cicadas.
"We've watched the results," writes his mother, Anne, "and he's been pretty successful in ensuring that there will be another generation of cicadas in Dunn Loring and Vienna. As if they needed any extra help!"
Any final thoughts on Brood X? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org