Coming Soon: 13-Year Cicadas

It's gonna get loud in the South
By Matt Cantor,  Newser User
Posted May 19, 2011 5:28 PM CDT
This photograph shows a 13-year periodical cicada emerging from its shell in 1998, in Tennessee.   (AP Photo/Frank Hale)
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(Newser) – We saw their parents in 1998; now the 13-year cicadas are emerging again from underground. Get ready for raucous mating calls and shells everywhere, advises the Herald-Review of Decatur, Illinois. (The 13-year cicadas stay mostly in the South but hit parts of Illinois and Indiana.) “They are out in Tennessee. Out and flying in Georgia,” says an expert. But the population could be smaller than last time, he notes. “The broods have tended to be a little bit less each time they come out. That's probably because of how we're cutting down trees.”

Soon before they appear, the insects push up little piles of mud, says an entomologist. “When you see those little mud chimneys everywhere, we'll have a huge emergence soon.” After a few weeks, the insects will return underground. In the meantime, should you fear for your trees? “If you had young trees, that would be a concern,” the expert says. But don’t get too worried: The creatures “have been around for thousands of years, and the trees have also.”

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