At some point during the latter part of May, hundreds of billions of cicadas are going to emerge from the earth and take to the air.
Some people are freaked out and frightened by this generational event, but many others travel from across the United States to watch it all unfold! However it makes you feel, we can all agree it might be one of the most fascinating natural unfoldings that we have ever seen.
What Is a Cicada?
Cicadas are insects that hatch above ground, but quickly burrow into the earth and don’t reemerge for over a decade. A generation of cicadas emerges from the ground either every 17 years or every 13 years, depending on the brood. Brood X last emerged in 2004 and is gearing up to come back to the surface this May in areas all over the eastern part of the country.
You’ll be able to tell that something new is afoot by their unequivocal noises, but here are a few extra ways to tell cicadas apart from other insects:
- Cicadas have small black bodies and two sets of long, clear wings, lined with orange markings.
- Newly hatched cicadas, called nymphs, are light brown with a stumpier body.
- There will be an incredible magnitude of new insects introduced to our environment, so you will be able to tell them apart by their incredible population size.
- You will hear piercing, scream-like sounds that can even surpass 100 decibels in volume, similar to an ATV or a chainsaw.
What You Need to Know about Cicadas
Male cicadas are the ones that keep you up at night with their screeches. This is a mating call, and they create it through a lightning-fast repetition that flexes muscles in their abdomen. These devices are called tymbals, and they are specialized noise-making devices found in many insects. Cicadas amplify the noise beyond 20x its original volume by allowing it to reverberate in their bodies.
When a male cicada finds a mate, they will reproduce, dying shortly after. Female cicadas lay their eggs in treetops, and once the nymphs hatch, they make their way down to the ground to burrow in the dirt and look for tree roots to feed on.
Are Cicadas Dangerous?
It’s understandable that some people think that cicadas are dangerous – they mysteriously arise from the ground after many years in a screeching swarm of billions. Although their appearance can be frightening, the most damage that cicadas will do is some moderate destruction of tree roots as they feed. They actually serve as a delightful new food source for many kinds of animals and nourish trees in their area with necessary oxygen when their bodies decay.
What To Do About Cicadas in Knoxville TN
If you’re the kind of person that just can’t handle bugs or loud noises, the return of Brood X will not be fun. Unfortunately, there’s really not a lot that a pest control company can do to cicada-proof your house. There are simply too many of them to keep under control. Using bug spray on cicadas won’t even put a tiny dent in their numbers, and will probably poison the animals that prey on them.
That being said, if you’re experiencing a pest outbreak on your property, contact our experts at Russell’s Pest Control. We train our specialists to the newest standards of efficiency and environmental awareness, and we will routinely send technicians until your home is pest-free. Contact us today for a free quote!
After 17 years, Brood-X Cicadas are About to Surface in Knoxville TN
Serving East Tennessee since 1971