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Brood X: Trillions of cicadas are about to appear in 17 years underground

Insect invasion movies have frightened viewers for decades. But now, a real insect invasion of what is called periodic cicadas will embarrass Hollywood by its enormous size and scope.

Over the next few weeks on the East Coast and Midwest, cicadas will emerge from the ground, skinning themselves, and participate in a one-month mating ritual, doing a lot of scenery – climbing trees and singing mating songs up to 100 decibels, with the same intensity as a team. hammer.

“It’s a pretty big event. I mean, we’re talking about trillions of cicadas that will show up, sing, call, find partners in your yard,”

; said Dr. Jessica Ware, an entomologist at the American Museum of Natural History, said a meteorologist and climate expert. on CBS News Jeff Berardeli.

There are over a dozen known cicada chickens in the United States, categorized by when they come out of the ground together. Brood X is considered one of the largest and makes its appearance like a clock every 17 years.

“I think cicadas don’t know anything by themselves. I think part of it is tightly connected. So there’s a series of biochemical cascades, you know, hormones that go up and down, which triggers. And if you have a certain hormone. level and the soil temperature is 64 degrees, it’s time to go, “Ware said.

Once the cicadas appear, time is not on their side. Ware said they were on a “short watch” – about three or four weeks to find a mate and lay their eggs before they died.

“If you spend your entire adolescence, 17 years underground, then you have three or four weeks to complete all the tasks,” she said.

What excites about cicadas can be scary for some people. But Ware told you not to worry: they don’t bite or hurt.

“They don’t actually hurt people. They don’t even cause that much damage to your garden,” Ware said. “Their goal is really to find, mate and then make the next generations of cicadas.”

Although they do not pose a threat to us, people pose a threat to them. Urban sprawl and overdevelopment have wiped out entire cicada populations. And because of the warming climate, periodic cicadas appear everywhere from a week to a month earlier than decades ago. Ware said this could even shorten the years they stay underground.


But with a more positive note, cicadas will become a holiday for many of nature’s other creatures, even some brave people.

“They’re a great source of protein, you know? I’m happy to eat some cicadas. I think that’s a beautiful reward. A horn of plenty, a source of food,” Ware said.

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