Cicadas set to re-emerge by the billions in East Coast, U.S. invasion

May 7, 2013EAST COAST, US Anyone who has ever walked out onto a dewy meadow early in the morning to come upon thousands and thousands of empty brown pods clinging to every tree trunk, every branch, and every blade of grass–and listened in awe to the almost deafening surround-sound of chirping cicadas–is unlikely to ever forget it. It is like stepping into an alien world. Residents of the East coast will get a chance to experience the eerie reappearance of the red-eyed 17-year cicada within days for the southern regions and weeks for the northern ones. Their sheer numbers will be staggering, with scientists estimating this year’s invasion at thirty billion. Some researchers think the number may be closer to one trillion. For the past 17 years, colossal numbers of the genus Magicicada have been lying low underground, eating off tree roots and waiting for just the right day when the ground temperature reaches exactly 64 degrees, setting off their biological signal to emerge en masse from their papery shells. The cicadas will spend several weeks in the trees mating like crazy, then die, leaving their offspring to burrow into the ground where they will wait another 17 years–or until 2030–to reappear and start the cycle all over again. The U.S. is residence to 15 broods of Magicicada that emerge every 13 or 17 years, so almost every year there is someplace in the country that is invaded by these locust cousins. This year’s takeover by Brood II is definitely one of the bigger ones. Even if the numbers only match the conservative estimate of 30 billion, that’s enough so that if you lined them up in a single row end to end, they would reach to the moon and back. During the time spend underground, cicadas do not actually sleep, but feed on a low-protein fluid found in tree roots and go through four distinct growth stages, molting four times before they surface. Males come out first, as wingless nymphs, then molt a final time to become adults. Perched on tree branches and singing in a chorus, they await the approach of female cicadas and the rare chance to pass on their genes. Emerging all at once in massive numbers is part of the cicada’s survival strategy. Predators, like lizards and birds, cannot devour them all, ensuring that some will have the chance to reproduce. Scientists are not entirely sure why the cicada’s life cycle occurs just once in 13 or 17 years, though some believe that it deters predators. Another theory is that the odd-numbered cycles prevent different broods from competing with each other. How these bugs know precisely when to surface from underground remains somewhat a mystery. While cicada invasions can be mind-bogglingly massive, literally carpeting an area in every direction, they pose no danger to humans, animals or agricultural crops. They neither bite nor sting. And while some past inundations have seen up to 1.5 million insects per acre, most urban areas experience relatively few. –Science Recorder
This entry was posted in Civilizations unraveling, Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Ecoystem crisis due to population boom, Invasive species threat, Mass animal deaths, Pest Explosions, Time - Event Acceleration. Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Cicadas set to re-emerge by the billions in East Coast, U.S. invasion

  1. Marybell says:

    Harmless little creatures.

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  2. Dennis E. says:

    About four years ago I was in Asheville North Carolina visiting the Biltmore Estate and the noise these little fellas made sounded as that of the sound you hear in movies of A hovering UFO.
    Yes, the streets and air were alive with them, untold hundreds of thousands.

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  3. nanoduck says:

    I hear they are good to eat, fried or covered in chocolate.

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  4. Amazing little things and had not heard of them in the UK

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  5. aaronwt says:

    I love the sound that tens of thousands of cicadas make. It is very soothing and makes it easy to fall asleep.
    Although the sound of only a few of them can be annoying especially when they are right outside my window. We get them in very small numbers here in Northern Virginia each year. I hope we get a bunch this year though since that is the only time the noise they make is very enjoyable for me to hear.

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  6. Joseph t Repas says:

    The mid atlantic states will be hitting summertime temperatures starting next week…so it will be soon. They don’t bother me any but I must say, they are quite ugly in a spooky kind of way. I wonder if they will loud enough this year to drown out the constant hum of gas powered lawn mowers around here!

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  7. Charles Markland says:

    An entomologist at Virginia Tech told me they tasted like shrimp; too bad the Israelites couldn’t have eaten the locusts when they were devouring the fields in biblical days, dietary laws forbade that.

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    • S. O, says:

      Locusts were allowed to be eaten. See Leviticus 11:22. Also John the Baptist ate locusts and wild honey. God bless, S.O.

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  8. Irene C says:

    I remember my first experience with the cicadas. I was in middle school and we were trying to play a game of baseball. Nothing like running into flying cicadas while running around bases. I did kind of like the sound of them though.

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  9. FASCINATING THOUGHT TO PONDER: While glancing over this article and reminiscing about my own experiences with the Cicada life cycle in the Chicago area, and also remembering that Cicadas are a Kosher food since they are a type of edible Locust that tastes passably good when fried or roasted and is rich in protein and minerals, it suddenly dawned on me what many of the Tribulation Saints might be eating when all the grasses, trees and crops begin to be destroyed during the Great Tribulation! Since these creatures hide underground, and their cycles set millions upon millions of them to emerge every year at different locations, they will likely survive whatever is destroying life above ground, and can be harvested when they emerge to feed those still alive but starving from lack of food.

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