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Cicada is buzzing in my backyard

Warm weather will cause billions of cicadas to rise in U.S.

Leeanna McLean
Digital Reporter

Friday, April 15, 2016, 3:49 PM - As temperatures warm up next month in northeastern United States, billions of cicadas are expected to emerge from the ground as part of their 17-year cycle.

Residents in parts of Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Virginia and West Virginia will be swarmed by sights and mating sounds of the red-eyed bugs.

The cicadas were born in 1999 and have spent over a decade and a half underground, Cicada Mania reports. The 17-year group are made up of three different species and as a whole are referred to as Brood V.

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Once young cicadas hatch from their eggs, they dig to find plant roots to feed on. Underground, the insects are quite active by tunneling and feeding. They spend several early life stages buried before surfacing as adults.

The bugs are not expected to rise until the soil hits about 18oC. Often times a warm rain can trigger the emergence.  Above ground, the cicadas will mate and then die after a month or so.

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Much like the biblical plague of locusts, cicadas can reach a density of 1.5 million per acre. Some states mark the arrival of the cicadas with several educational events. For example, Cleveland Metroparks hosts "Cicada Invasion."

Cicadas have hard shells, two red eyes and are about 1.5 inches in length. They are not known to bite or sting. Large swarms can damage young trees as they feed on the roots. However, in many cases, they do trees a favour by pruning their weakest branches, according to Cicada Mania.

Image courtesy: D. Freier - Toronto, Ontario

The insects are best known for their loud humming sound. The noise is a mating cry by males produced with vibrating membranes on their abdomens.

SOURCE: Cicada Mania

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