Click up on your computer or phone to put a Brood X cicada in your space using Yahoo’s augmented reality.
Cicadas also come according to scientists, it’s a sight – or really a sound – to watch.
Occasional cicadas – found in the northeast, usually in the central and eastern United States – occur every 17 years. The upcoming group, known as Brood X, is expected to leave the country by the billions in late April or May when the ground level warms to about 64 degrees.
Brood X consists of three different types of cicadas. “But they all act like one group, one population,” Nancy Hinkle, a professor of entomology at the University of Georgia, told Yahoo Life.
How much would I worry about a cicada drone?
The group will crawl out of the ground at night – likely to avoid predators, Hinkle says – in waves for several days. “They will crawl on poles or tree trunks or fence posts and allow their bodies to harden,” Hinkle explains. “There are nymphs in the underworld and they have soft bodies. So they have to take off their skin [or exoskeleton] so their wings will be free. It takes an hour or two [for their adult skin] to harden. “
And when it reaches a certain temperature, Hinkle says, it starts “singing” – and it’s not quiet either. In fact, chicory is one of the noisiest insects. Their singing can be loud up to 100 decibels – the equivalent of a lawn mower about three meters away. But don’t worry if singing will keep you awake at night – cicadas sing during the day.
“Occasional cicadas don’t call at night unless it’s very hot during the night,” Chris Simon, a professor of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut, told Yahoo Life. “Since these are spring cicadas, this is less likely.”
However, not all cicadas can carry a melody. “Only men sing and sing for sex,” Hinkle says. “That’s how they attract a female.” Each type of male cicada also produces its own distinct sound. “You can learn to distinguish each species only by sound,” she explains.
The serenade tends to get noisier before the sun sets, which is when cicadas call it night. “The last exclamation before sunset,” Hinkle says. Think of it as the last call at the bar.
What is the best way to deal with the constant singing of cicadas?
But if singing is boring during the day, especially with so many people now working from home, there are steps you can take. Using noise canceling devices, machines and applications “makes more sense because the sounds of cicadas are similar to white to begin with,” says Dr. for Yahoo Life. Steven Holfinger, a sleep medicine physician from Ohio Wexner University Medical Center.
Holfinger explains that there are two general categories of noise attenuation – active or passive. “Passive noise cancellation is when you try to reduce the volume, for example by using earplugs,” he explains. “Active noise cancellation is when headphones emit the opposite sound wave to cancel incoming noise. The point of passive or active noise cancellation is to make the sound disturb quieter, while white noise should mute the sounds making the environment louder. All in all, for cicadas I would consider to wear a comfortable set of headphones that provide active or passive noise reduction if the cicadas are too loud. “
However, Holfinger says “many people are likely to adapt to the sound because it is fairly consistent, similar to white noise, which our minds can drown out if it’s not overly loud.” Or as Hinkle says, “People pay money for white noise generators – you get them for free here!”
What makes Brood X cicadas so special?
Of course, not all bug lovers – especially so many at once – but Hinkle suggests accepting the rarity of this event. “This is the equivalent of our generation to Halley’s Comet,” Hinkle says. “It only happens every 17 years. There’s a good chance you’ll only experience this four or five times in your life.”
Simon shares Hinkle’s enthusiasm: “They are one of the most amazing natural phenomena in the world!” And unlike some insects, cicadas are “perfectly harmless,” says Hinkle. “I can’t bite and sting. And they’re nasty fliers. They’re pretty bulky. Kids can catch and hold them. When they try to sing, they’ll vibrate in your hand.”
If you live near or within a distance from where cicadas usually occur, Hinkle says, “It’s a great opportunity for grandparents to take their grandchildren out into nature and experience it together. And when those grandchildren grow up, they can take their children with them. “
Even scientists who have studied cicadas for years find musical insects fascinating. Hinkle shares how fascinating she still is that cicadas know how to emerge from the underworld after exactly 17 years. “It’s a mystery,” she says.
Produced by Kat Vasquez
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