Millions of cicadas expected to emerge in U.S. after 17 years underground

by Bryan Brammer · May 23rd, 2020 2:10 pm

As many as 1.5 million cicadas are expected to emerge after sheltering underground for the past 17 years.

According to an AccuWeather report, the group of 17-year cicadas dubbed Brood IX is set to burst above ground in Southwestern Virginia, and parts of North Carolina and West Virginia.

For most of their lives, 17-cicadas stay below the surface, drinking sap from root trees. Once the soil warms up to 64 degrees in their 17th year, they emerge to fly and mate before dying at the end of the summer.

The ground typically reaches this temperature by mid-May, although the recent cold weather could delay their arrival.

Although cicadas are harmless to humans, their mating call can be quite the nuisance.

"Communities and farms with large numbers of cicadas emerging at once may have a substantial noise issue," said Eric Days, entomologist at Virginia Tech. "Hopefully, any annoyance at the disturbance is tempered by just how infrequent — and amazing — this event is."


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