cicada
by Michael dEstries
Categories: Causes, Environment, Science.

They’re coming. 

From the Carolinas to D.C. to New York City and beyond, the East Coast is bracing for the emergence of BROOD II - one of 15 separate broods of periodical cicadas that invades the U.S. every 17 years in what’s described as a “frenzy of sex and death.”

Of course, this happens every year – but BROOD II in particular is known for being a loud and dense group of cicadas.

“It can be like raking leaves in the fall, except instead of leaves, it’s dead cicada bodies,” Dan Mozgai, of cicadamania.com, told NatGeo.

Ok, great – but when should you expect these plant-eating, mostly-harmless creatures to arise en masse? According to cicada experts, once the ground reaches an average temperature of 64 degrees F, that’s when the the little grubs will crawl forth from the homes they’ve been living in since 1996, take wing, and start searching for mates. (Scientists are thinking early May or later…)

So, what to do? Well, this map can give you a fairly good idea of where BROOD II is expected to pop up. If you’re naturally afraid of bugs, don’t go mow the lawn during the height of emergence. According to CicadaMania, this will make you extremely attractive.

“Cicadas think the sounds made by power tools and lawn maintenance equipment are made by cicadas,” the site warns. “They get confused and will land on the people using the equipment!”

Cicadas also urinate – so if you’re not into that, the site also recommends wearing a hat when walking under trees saturated with the critters.

“Cicadas drink tree fluids, and then expell the excess fluid they do now need. People call it “honey dew” or “cicada rain”.

While cicadas are mostly harmless, they can in fact pierce your skin. It’s not that they have a stinger or are interested in your blood, but mostly because you, well, look like a tree. They obtain sustenance by piercing the bark of a tree and drinking its fluids. If you have on clothing that makes you look similar, they might get confused. Oh – and beware the Cicada Killer Wasp.

“The Cicada Killer Wasp is a large wasp that hunts cicadas, and usually can be found around cicadas or often attached to a cicada. Cicada Killer Wasps normally avoid humans, but if you mess with one, it might attack.”

Hide the children – and have fun this summer!

Photo credit: Shutterstock.com

About Michael dEstries

Michael has been blogging since 2005 on issues such as sustainability, renewable energy, philanthropy, and healthy living. He regularly contributes to a slew of publications, as well as consulting with companies looking to make an impact using the web and social media. He lives in Ithaca, NY with his family on an apple farm.

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  • David Marshall

    The photo is a picture of the wrong type of cicada (genus Tibicen), a species that emerges every year through much of the eastern US. Periodical cicadas (genus Magicicada) are smaller and black with orange wing veins and bright red eyes.