Milkweed and Scissor-Grinders

Swamp milkweed with carpenter bee, yellow jacket, and pearl crescent butterfly (photo by Kate St. John)

1 July 2021

July is the month for bugs and field flowers and late nesting birds — for milkweed and scissor-grinder cicadas.

Among the milkweeds my favorite is swamp milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) for its vibrant pink color and more delicate leaves. Insects like it, too.

July is also when the first scissor-grinder cicadas (Neotibicen pruinosus) appear (in my neighborhood, first heard on 3 July 2021). Their whirring drone is said to resemble the sound of scissors being ground or sharpened, but who among us has heard that manufacturing sound? Scissor-grinders are more common than the sound they were named for.

Scissor-grinder annual cicada, Pittsburgh PA, (photo by Kate St. John)

Lots more is on tap for the month of July. Check out the list in this vintage article: Milkweed or What to Look for in July.

(photos by Kate St. John)

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