SMBO 2015 – 16

Welcome stalkers to the sixteenth edition of Stalking Mike Blair Outdoors. We hope you’re enjoying the Spring weather lately. We only have a short time left for you to enter your questions for the upcoming interview with Mike Blair! For each question you enter your name goes into a drawing for a free copy of his book Monty Monarch. Don’t miss out on this chance to get your curiosity satisfied and questions answered. Ask about his life, his work, his techniques. . . ask away! You can submit your questions through our Facebook Page, leave them in the comments below or email them to mike{at}mikeblairoutdoors{dot}com.

product_thumbnailLast year Blair was able to film an occurrence that happens under the cover of night. We all know it happens, we find the evidence after and many children are awed by the shell left behind. Leave it to our Blair to get some amazing footage of a Cicada Adult Emergence. It’s a perfect eight minute video that gives you an inside look at cicada shedding and becoming an adult with wings. It includes impossible closeups, beautiful details and a comprehensive and informative narrative by Mike Blair, describing the process and life cycle of the cicada.

cicada 1The loud pitched buzzing sound of cicadas is a common staple during summer time. Echoing down from the leafy treetops above. This buzzing sound is actually the male cicada ‘singing’ to attract a female to mate. Interestingly enough, there is an entire hidden process before this ‘singing’ begins.

A female cicada deposits her eggs into a branch of a tree and the branch falls to the ground. The eggs hatch and the cicadas burrow underground. This is where they live for years, burrowing and munching on tree roots. After about five years, under the cover of night, they will emerge from the ground through previously prepared burrows.

The cicada will crawl along until it comes to a vertical surface, which is most often the tree it’s been making a meal of. Then, it will go up. Using its six legs to carefully feel out foot holds, the cicada makes slow progress up the tree. Only moving a few inches per minute this itself can be a long process. However, the cicada will take its time finding the perfect spot to shed its skin and ’emerge’ as an adult.

The cicada is very strong and is aided by sharp hooks on its front legs. These hooks grab and allow the cicada to pull itself up and to establish a secure hold for the shedding process. Once, it has found the perfect spot for this to occur, it will settle down. Then the skin splits along the back and the adult cicada will begin to emerge, shedding is nymph skin. This is again, a slow process.

cicada 2

 Blair captures the whole process wonderfully, in his video. After the adult cicada emerges, it hangs and lets its new wings, expand to their full length and then dry. Once this has occurred, they move on exploring their new home, now munching on leaves and plant sap. After a day or two they will begin their ‘singing’ to attract a mate. They have a very limited time to do this, as an adult cicada only lives for a week or so after its adult emergence.

cicada 3These insects are heard quite often but are mostly hidden from our view, only leaving their shells of a previous life behind for us to find. Be sure to check out Blair’s video Cicada Adult Emergence for an insider’s look at this hidden and interesting process. Be prepared for some beautiful colors that from the appearance of their shells, I wouldn’t have imagined on a cicada. Also, be prepared to learn some amazing details about the cicada’s life cycle in just a short eight minutes; it is well worth it.

Don’t forget to submit your questions, stalkers! The deadline for submission and entry in the drawing is April 30th! It doesn’t cost you anything except a little curiosity and you will get a chance to gain a copy of the phenomenal book Monty Monarch by Mike Blair and a little insight into his world, when he answers your question! So head on over to our Facebook page and leave your question there or email it to We look forward to hearing from you!