A deafening hum, which can reach up to 100 decibels, is going to fill the air this spring in the eastern United States.
People who suffer from Entomophobia, an extreme fear of insects, are being warned that this coming May and June billions of brood cicadas, known as Brood X, are expected to emerge across the U.S. after spending 17 years underground.
This brood last emerged in 2004 and will reappear in 15 U.S. states this spring as soon as the ground warms above 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
Brood cicadas, which are black, orange and red, spend most of their lives underground going through different growth phases as they feed on tree root sap. When it is finally time to emerge from the ground, they quickly molt into their adult form and search for a mate.
The male cicadas are the ones screeching in the trees attempting to attract a female and mate in the few weeks they spend above ground. The females quickly lay eggs in the branches of trees before they die and the 17-year cycle starts again with the new cicadas.
Scientists believe the massive emergence is a form of protection against predators. With billions emerging at the same time, many cicadas will survive and breed to continue on the line. “The prevailing research suggests they’ve evolved a long, 17-year lifecycle to avoid predators that can sync up with their lifecycle & emergence,” said CicadiaMania, a website dedicated to the interesting insects.
The Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula species are about to make a lot of noise and some areas could see as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre.
People who live in the following states will encounter the cicadas, which are expected to appear in mid-May.
Cicadas Will Emerge In These States
- North Carolina
- New Jersey
- New York
- West Virginia
- Washington, D.C.
The noisy insects will not appear in all counties, so click here for a more detailed breakdown of which areas and counties in each state will be greeted with cicadas.
Michael J. Raupp, emeritus professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, told Newsweek he encourages people to enjoy the “remarkable biological phenomenon in their own backyard that happens nowhere else on the planet, truly a teachable moment.”
Raupp states that the cicadas will not harm mature trees or invade homes. He said those that are afraid should, “seek counseling to help them through this time. For some, it may be time to plan a three or four week trip to some parts of the country where there will not be cicadas.”
While some see the insects as a nuisance, others truly enjoy watching them transform and sing. One fan commented, “I love cicadas and look forward to their arrival. They are a gentle, misunderstood bug and they are short living.” Another replied, “To live underground for 17 years, then emerge into the light and air to love and die reminds me of a Greek tragedy, a sad fate. I love cicadas too.”
Learn more about cicadas and experience their shrill mating call in the video below.
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