One of the most unique natural phenomena experienced in the world, the return of hundreds of billions of cicadas to the skies, is soon to be upon us.
Feelings on the matter range between extremes for different kinds of people: some are disgusted and freaked out by the sudden explosion of these noisy creatures, others travel across the country to watch the event unfold. Wherever you stand on the matter, we can all agree that the life cycle of the cicada is quite fascinating.
What Are Cicadas?
Cicadas are insects that live underground almost their entire lives. A generation of cicadas emerges from the ground either every 17 years or every 13 years, depending on the brood. This upcoming species, Brood X, last emerged in 2004 and is gearing up to come back to the surface this May.
You’ll probably be able to tell them apart from other insects by their unmistakable noises, but here are a few other ways to identify cicadas:
- You can expect to see cicadas with short black bodies and clear wings with orange markings.
- Cicada nymphs are smaller and light brown in color with undeveloped wings and a wider body, scaled to their size.
- They will come out in extravagant numbers, so you will be able to distinguish them from other insects by the density of a population of insects that hasn’t surfaced for close to two decades.
- Of course, you’ll hear screeching sounds that reach up to 100 decibels in volume, similar to a motorcycle or a jackhammer.
What Do Cicadas Do?
Male cicadas are the noisy ones, emitting a piercing high-pitched vibration by rapidly flexing their tymbals, which are specialized noise-making devices. The sound they create reverberates in their hollow abdomen, amplifying the noise for all to hear.
Male cicadas make noise to attract a mate. They’ll then reproduce, and shortly after, die. The females lay their eggs in the tops of trees, and their young climb down and burrow into the dirt, looking for tree roots to feed on.
Are Cicadas Harmful?
Unlike locusts, another type of insect that comes out in swarms, cicadas aren’t harmful creatures. They cause some damage to trees by eating at their roots when they live underground, but cicadas actually provide nourishment to a hoard of other animals when they arrive, and also supply trees in their area with necessary nitrogen.
What To Do About Cicadas in the Springfield VA Area
If you’re particularly squeamish and would rather not deal with cicadas, there’s not a whole lot that you can do besides staying inside and keeping your doors and windows shut. The cicada reemergence is an event that is far outside the control of any exterminator, and using bug spray on cicadas doesn’t do much besides potentially poisoning the animals that eat them.
If you are experiencing a pest outbreak on your property (hopefully not one of this magnitude), contact our experts at Elrich Pest Control, formerly Connor’s. We are trained to tackle a wide range of pest problems and have your home looking pristine and pest-free.