Billions of noisy cicadas prepare to emerge after 17 years

Posted at 3:20 PM, Apr 17, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-17 17:22:48-04

A cicada. Photo by Bruce Marlin / Creative Commons / MGN

By David Williams


(CNN) — It’s going to get noisy in parts of the Northeast when hordes of cicadas emerge after spending 17 years under ground.

Billions of the critters will make themselves heard in Maryland, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia once the soil where they live warms up to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the website

Ohio State University professor Dave Shetlar, who’s known as “The BugDoc,” told CNN affiliate WBNS that could happen in April in southern Ohio, but most of the state will see the cicadas in May.

Cleveland Metroparks posted a picture on Instagram earlier this month of a young cicada waiting to make its debut.

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Starting to find the nymphs of 17 year cicadas near the surface. They are prepped for the emergence, are you? #clevelandmetroparks #comeoutandplay #spring #cicada #cicadainvasion #insect #2016cicadas #broodV

A post shared by Cleveland Metroparks (@clevemetroparks) on

The cicadas are part of Brood V, which last hatched back in 1999. There are 14 broods that emerge in different regions on 17-year cycles.

Cicadas are considered good luck in some parts of the world, and Shetlar said he’s gotten calls from resorts who want to know exactly when the they will appear.

“They have visitors that are coming from China and Japan and European countries and want to come and experience the cicada emergence,” Shetlar said.

Adult cicadas live for two to four weeks after they emerge and spend a lot of that time mating. You might find the cicada’s song annoying, but it’s Barry White to female cicadas.

Once they’ve mated, the female cicadas lay hundreds of rice-sized eggs in tree branches. The eggs will hatch a few weeks later and the babies will make their way to the ground where they’ll bide their time until around 2033.

If you can’t wait that long, don’t worry, Brood VI is scheduled to emerge next year in Georgia, North Carolina and South Carolina.

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