Billions of insects are set to swarm the US next month, after hiding underground for 17 years! Countries that are going to be invaded include both Georgia and New York. Insect experts are awaiting their arrival, as they have waited almost 20 years to see one of the cicadas. It is believed that they rarely appear for safety reasons as they are not good defenders against predators such as foxes and birds.
Some cicadas have been known to emerge after 13 years. Experts are looking into whether climate change has impacted their cycle, but this is still under investigation. Cicadas are sensitive to climate change and need deciduous trees to survive, so deforestation poses a huge threat to the species.
The insects are due to appear in April in huge swarms and have been given the name ‘Brood X’. The swarm will create a loud buzzing sound which will last for approximately 4 weeks. Once the cicadas have mated, the female will lay her eggs in tree branches, whereas the male will die. When the eggs hatch, the little nymphs will burrow down into the ground and stay there for 17 years, growing larger and larger until it is time to reappear.
Experts are not entirely sure why the cicada spends so much time underground, however they do know that they go through five growing stages and tree roots are their main food source. When the cicada is big enough, they emerge from the ground and crawl up trees so they can shed their skin to grow wings and find potential mates.