It’s time to stock up on earplugs: The cicadas are coming.
Billions of the chirping, red-eyed bugs are set to rise out of the ground across the East Coast next month for a once-every-17-years mating spree.
The insects — known for their loud, droning mating songs — will pop out of the soil in New York, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia when the ground warms to about 64 degrees.
That should happen sometime in May, according to cicada blog Cicada Mania.
The pests only surface once every 17 years. They spend several weeks above ground mating and laying eggs in trees before dying off. The baby cicadas drop to the ground when they hatch and burrow underground — where they’ll stay for 17 years before emerging as adults to mate, continuing the perpetual cycle.
The brood set to emerge next month was born in 1999. Their offspring will see the light of day in 2033.
If it seems like the annoyingly loud bugs invade more frequently than every 17 years, you’re partially right: There are multiple broods of cicadas, all on different mating schedules.
A different family emerged in the northeast in 2013 and a group in Texas and the Great Plains came above ground just last year. Another cicada brood will rise up in New York in 2018 and a giant family stretching from New York to Georgia to Illinois and Tennessee will plague the eastern half of the country in 2021.
A few broods in the South have 13-year mating cycles. Expect to see those guys next in 2024, 2027 and 2028, Cicada Mania reported.
And while the screeching mating calls might get on your nerves, the buzzing bugs cause no real damage. They drink tree sap, so they won’t ruin garden plants or chew up leaves. And they don’t have jaws or stingers, so they can’t bite or sting people.
“They might try to pierce and suck you, but don’t worry, they aren’t Vampires nor are they malicious or angry — they’re just ignorant and think you’re a tree,” Cicada Mania reported.