Billions of Cicadas Will Take Over the Northeast

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You can say a lot of things about nature, but it’s definitely not a boring place. From intense thunderstorms to volcanoes erupting and even the snowy mountain tops of the Alps, nature never fails to impress. But the animal kingdom is where nature did most of its tinkering, as there is a wide variety of creatures that are simply astonishing.

From the strange dwellers of the deep to the giraffe’s oddly long neck and the mating habits of certain species, nature did a great job of providing us with the most interesting things we can observe. But sometimes, it can be outright disturbing. For example, United States Citizens are warned that billions of cicadas will take over the Northeast for a while.

But this isn’t happening out of nowhere, as a one-time event to rival the locust plague in Egypt. No, this will conclude and then start anew a seventeen year life cycle of the insects. After being born seventeen years ago, the insects will come out of the ground to mate, and then lay the eggs for the next generation.

As soon as the soil reaches around 64 degrees, billions of cicadas will take over the Northeast, particularly areas around Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York, Virginia, West Virginia, and Maryland. The insects will be so common in some areas that they will reach densities of 1.5 million per acre.

While pretty common in appearance, resembling a somewhat enlarged, bulkier fly with red eyes and hard, sleek shells, the creatures are harmless. What they are known for is their hypnotic song. As soon as the males crawl out of their holes in the ground, they start contracting their mostly hollow abdomen, producing a sound like that of no other species of insect.

It is considered to be one of the most naturally hypnotic sounds in nature, and a single insect can be heard for miles. So imagine what the sound of billions of cicadas gathered in the same area will sound like. It will truly be a concert to be remembered until the next generation.

Speaking of generations, the current one was born in 1999. As soon as the insects mate, the males start dying, leaving the females to deposit their eggs. The eggs are laid in slits cut in small branches, and after about six weeks the nymphs begin emerging. They then fall from the trees and burrow anywhere between six to eighteen inches below ground level, where they will spend the next seventeen years of their lives before it’s their turn to come out to mate.

Image source:Wikimedia

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