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Thursday
May122011

Cicadas Back in South After 13 Years

Jupiterimages/Thinkstock(NASHVILLE, Tenn.) -- They're noisy. And can be a nuisance. But for the most part they are harmless. Thankfully, they only come out every 13 or 17 years.

The dreaded cicadas have emerged in middle Tennessee this week. Brood XIX to be exact. This particular brood is of the 13-year variety, as are most of the cicadas in the South. Around cities like Nashville, the cicadas are being spotted emerging from their eggs, clinging to trees and flying around. And soon the air will be filled with an almost deafening, high-pitched shrill as the males sound their mating call.

"It's not something to fear, it's actually an exciting thing to see," said Dr. Frank Hale, an entomologist with the University of Tennessee agricultural extension service.

Hale has been studying insects for more than 30 years. He sees this emergence as a teaching opportunity, because there are a few misconceptions about cicadas.

They do not bite or sting. And they are not attracted to humans, despite the fact that they may fly into you as they are buzzing around. There are two different cicada cycles; a 13-year cycle and a 17-year cycle. Cicadas of the latter variety are generally found in the northern United States. The time from emergence to death is approximately four to five weeks. After that the cicadas die en masse. It's not uncommon to find hundreds of dead cicadas piled up under trees in early June.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio