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A cease-and-desist letter for cicadas? A Nextdoor community takes on the noisy nuisances | COMMENTARY

A Brood X periodical cicada clings to a lamppost on Federal Hill overlooking Baltimore's Inner Harbor.
A Brood X periodical cicada clings to a lamppost on Federal Hill overlooking Baltimore's Inner Harbor. (Jerry Jackson/Baltimore Sun)

My neighbors have banded together in response to the controversial chirping of the cicadas, which has transformed the soundscape of our region. An online discussion started this month by “W.S.” on our Rockville, Maryland, networking site, Nextdoor, has turned into one of the site’s most carefully watched threads. What follows are selected comments from among the hundreds of possible “solutions” offered for noise abatement, using the initials of those who posted:

W.S.: Cicada noise petition. I was wondering if any neighbors would be interested in signing my petition to control this noise these cicadas are making. This petition would call for fining anyone who doesn’t control the noise from cicadas in their yards. This petition also seeks to shut down the local cicada rescue. I’m done with these cicadas.

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M.G.: I second your motion.

T.B.: I got a reading yesterday of 89 decibels. Feel free to use this info for your petition.

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M.H.: Also if people want to keep cicadas in their yard, they should get a permit and register each cicada with the county.

T.M.: Living in Maryland, there needs to be a cicada tax also.

E.C.: I doubt the state will add a cicada tax. Montgomery County, however, will pass such a bill any day now.

M.C.: Where do we sign?

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T.D.: This is a 100% true story. I have been out of the country since April. My upstairs neighbor who is getting my mail found a note on my door left by my downstairs neighbor ... asking that I “turn off the device that’s buzzing.”

A.B.: I see your point, but can’t hear a thing ... do you mind repeating that?

M.S.: Maybe if they wore masks it wouldn’t be so loud. They are so rude!

A.G.: Are you serious???

K.C.: Absolutely, we are DEAD serious about stopping this vicious effort by the cicadas to dominate every conversation this year by drowning out any comments they don’t like. It’s all part of the cancel culture!

E.R.: You need to be careful. Due to their rarity, cicadas are considered an endangered species.

A.S.: Why not just ask to talk to the cicadas’ manager?

O.I.: I reached out to the head of cicada activities, and they have been unresponsive. I did speak to a few cicadas to express our concerns, but they clearly ignored me. One had the audacity to fly into my face.

M.A.A.: The cicadas in my area are singing at a pitch of G Major … does that vary from community to community?

A.H.: Slightly.

E.M.: Most of mine seem to be a High C.

M.G.: Well the vocals are awesome!

N.O.: Backpack blowers early in the morning or late in the evening work best on blowing them off your yard.

M.G.: Don’t use electric blowers during the day! The sound will make them want to mate with you!

L.M.: The cicadas with their leaf blowers are the worst.

M.K.: They make it hard to enjoy the sound of my neighbor’s lawnmowers.

J.S.: I just heard that Montgomery County Councilmember Hans Riemer … is encouraging they get to vote … just goes to show, if you know how to make noise, politicians will respond.

M..M: I blame Trump.

M.M.: I heard they found cicada DNA on the ballots in Arizona.

M.M.: Why hasn’t the governor launched a cicada noise-abatement lottery?

M.M.: Why isn’t there a MOCO Cicada hotline? Moco.cicada.org — we’ll respond to your request within 17 years.

J.T.: I shall hitherto here-for-with contact the King of the Cicadas and send him a Cease-and-Desist Letter commanding his cicadas not to make a noise in said backyard between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m.

B.T.: On the weekends and holidays there should be different hours.

W.S.: Petition filed

M.C.: Are you serious? A petition? Seriously? Ridiculous! Enjoy the natural chorus or get ear plugs.

J.M.: This is absolutely hilarious. Glad to see that a lot of people still have a sense of humor.

My thoughts exactly.

Laura Sturza (laurasturza.com) is writer living in Rockville.

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