Eastern states prepare for six weeks of the cicada
COLUMBUS, Ohio — The noisy bugs are coming! The bugs are called cicadas. They have red eyes and orange wings. They can be noisier than a jet plane.
The bugs will be out for around six weeks. The cicadas will turn up in Ohio, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland.
Cicadas are harmless and good for the earth. When they lay eggs, it helps trees to grow. Their digging adds air to the ground. Their bodies become food for plants and animals.
Jim Fredericks and Gene Kritsky are scientists. They share what they know about cicadas. Kritsky says the bugs will start appearing in the next few days.
Six Weeks To Live
When the ground warms up, cicadas fly in the air. They have been drinking from tree roots for 17 years. They will shed their outer shells. Then they will stick themselves to branches. The bugs will lay eggs before dying off in about six weeks.
Finally, the hatched baby cicadas will drop off the trees. It will be their turn to dig underground. They will live there for 17 years.
Cicadas beat a part of their little bodies like a drum. When millions of them do it, the noise is super loud.
Dogs And Cats Love 'Em
Dogs and cats love to eat the tasty bugs, Kritsky says. Eating them will not hurt pets, unless they have too many. Cicadas were once eaten by American Indians. The bugs are still eaten by many people around the world.
Kritsky says cicadas taste like asparagus. He always brings one back as a treat for his cat, Boudie.
There are 15 groups of cicadas. The bugs live for either 13 or 17 years. This group has not appeared since 1999.
People have been studying cicadas for hundreds of years in the United States. Early Americans from England called them locusts. The name was not true, but it has stuck around. (Locusts are grasshoppers.)
Roll Up Your Windows!
Cicadas make noise and fly onto car windows. They leave their little dead bodies. The bugs are mostly harmless to living things.
Fredericks says they could hurt very young trees. The cicadas can also fly through open car windows. Usually they do not hurt too many things.
"They don't bite, they don't sting, they won't carry away children," Kritsky says.
"This is your chance. Go outside and enjoy the show," Fredericks says.