Cicadas mount an invasion on the South after two decades underground

By Cory L. Higgs

Like a scene from the book of Exodus, millions of cicadas will begin their descent on the southeastern United States. Unlike the Egyptians in Exodus, there is no need to mark your doors or look out pestilence. These big noisy bugs are here for one thing and one thing only, to mate.

A cicada perches on a Hosta plant at a home in the Patrick Springs area.

There are 190 varieties of cicadas in North America and 3,390 worldwide. However, this year marks the emergence of the 17-year cicada that spends nearly two decades underground to reemerge for a few weeks to mate and do it all over again.

These critters have one of the longest lifespans of any bug; however, only a tiny portion of their life is spent in the sun. The insects live and grow in the ground for 13 to 17 years before emerging like the undead and shedding their exoskeletons.

While the bug isn’t dangerous to humans, they can prove detrimental to plant life from the sheer number of eggs they may lay on a plant, causing damage.

The cicadas primary defense is the number by which they emerge, like an unstoppable army, overwhelming birds, frogs, and other predators, allowing the creepy crawly to push through its life cycle.

After the adults have mated, they die off fairly quickly, and the nymphs ( a stage of life in the cicadas development) will fall to the ground and burrow down where it will spend nearly two decades before reemerging to repeat the process.

Do you have cicadas in your neck of the woods? Please send us your pictures and videos of your cicadas at facebook.com/theenterprise or facebook.com/henrycountyenterprise




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