Following this month’s news that the Asian giant hornet—a.k.a. the ‘murder hornet’—has arrived in the U.S., there's now a new insect invasion possibly on the rise: cicadas.
As many as 1.5 million of the bulgy eyed, underground creatures (known to emerge in 13 or 17-year periods) per acre may crop up from the ground in Southwest Virginia, areas of North Carolina, and West Virginia, CNN reports. Unlike the Asian giant hornet, cicadas are innocuous, though they can get quite noisy.
“Communities and farms with large numbers of cicadas emerging at once may have a substantial noise issue,” Eric Day, Virginia Cooperative Extension entomologist in Virginia Tech's Department of Entomology, said in a Virginia Tech news release. “Hopefully, any annoyance at the disturbance is tempered by just how infrequent—and amazing—this event is.”
Cicadas are identified as the loudest of all insects in the world by way of their mating calls, which come from the male insects of this species.
Though they're not known to bite or sting humans, they can be harmful to orchids, vines, and trees because of how the females lay their eggs. “Cicadas can occur in overwhelming numbers and growers in predicted areas of activity should be watchful,” Doug Pfeiffer, a professor and extension specialist in Virginia Tech's Department of Entomology, said in the release.
The big, clear-winged flying insects emerge from the ground yearly or periodically. It’s unknown why some cicadas only appear every 13 or 17 years, though it’s been speculated that it’s to bypass coinciding with predator cycles.