17 Years Underground
3:36 pm
Wed April 10, 2013

The Cicadas Emerge

April may be known for more than showers this year. Some insects will make a return this spring after nearly two decades underground. . .

These creatures look a little frightening with their red eyes, black bodies and gold wings but there’s nothing to fear with the cicadas about to emerge from the earth.  Virginia Department of Forestry spokesman Chris Asaro says that’s where they’ve been waiting for the past 17 years.

“They’re very loud insects because when they need to attract one another the male will call the female and they make these noisy sounds-not unlike crickets or katydids, or those types of insects.”

You might remember cicadas that blanketed the area in 2004 but that was Brood X and this is Brood 2.

“Brood X is one that is distributed throughout the mid-Atlantic but also the mid-West and further south in North Carolina and Georgia.  Brood 2 has a tighter distribution but it’s found pretty much through the Virginia Piedmont, D. C., Baltimore, New York City, all the way up the Hudson Valley.”

“They’re good bird food and they generally leave people alone, mind their own business and don’t cause too much harm.”

They’re not poisonous and don’t bite or sting.   They will cut into the ends of shrubs and trees, such as apple, dogwood, and cherry, to lay their eggs but Asaro says most trees recover from the damage. 

The cicadas will emerge once the ground warms up, and will most likely appear first in Eastern Virginia.  Asaro says they’ll be with us only until the end of May or early June. 

The cicadas sing in Beverly Amsler's report.