Close Window
17-Year Cicadas About to Emerge in Eastern U.S. April 12, 2013
Brood II
“They are going to be a very dark colored body. They have really bright red eyes, and they also have bright red wing veins." — Wildlife Conservation Society entomologist Craig Gibbs.
Eerie sounds like those out of a science fiction film are about to ring ears across the eastern United States.

Every 17 years at this time, like clockwork, Brood II cicadas crawl out of the ground from North Carolina to New England.

The bugs live underground for nearly two decades, feeding off fluids that gather near the roots of plants.

They will eventually emerge by the billions when the temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit.

The Brood II, red-eyed cicada is smaller than the larger common cicada, which has green eyes and comes out every year.

They last emerged in 1996 and will fill the air with high-pitched buzzes that can be so loud they disrupt outdoor events.

But their periodic emergence and return to the ground help aerate the soil, and they return nutrients to the earth when they die. They also provide food for birds and other animals.

The 1.5-inch-long insects do not sting or bite. They spend their brief two-week lives above ground climbing trees, shedding their crunchy skins and reproducing.

Photo: CC/Martin Hauser