Cicadas re-emerge after 17-year sleep

by Connor Danik
Magicicada, better known as cicadas, have started to emerge. From Memorial Day to mid-July, billions of the insects will crawl out of the ground, shed their shells, fly around, mate and die. The eggs they leave behind will fall underground where they will live as nymphs for the next 17 years until the emergence cycle begins again.
The first sighting in New Jersey this year was at Hartshorn Arboretum and Bird Sanctuary in Short Hills on May 3. Normally, cicadas begin to arise when the ground temperature is 64 degrees or higher.

Cicadas could outnumber humans 600 to 1, and there will be as many as 1.5 million cicadas per square mile.
“When they swarmed me it felt like the cicadas were everywhere, and you couldn’t walk one foot without feeling their presence around you,” said  sophomore Jacob Salem.
Cicadas are classified by region, cycle length, and years in which they reappear; the ones that are currently emerging are Brood II cicadas, which range from Georgia to Connecticut.
Cicadas do not pose any threat to humans as they do not bite, sting or transmit communicable diseases.
However, they can harm pets that consume them. Dogs and cats can choke on the ridged wings of the cicadas and other body parts. Pets can also become ill or sick if they consume too many and could have an allergic reaction to the cicadas.
One of the most notable aspects of the cicada invasion is their persistent buzzing, which can reach 100 decibels and be heard from dawn to dusk. While mating, the males use their song as a way to attract the female cicadas.
“Every time I leave my house I hear the annoying sound of buzzing,” said sophomore Zach Refinski.
Despite their dangerous appearance,  cicadas pose only a minor threat to the environment. When female cicadas lay their eggs, they can cause damage to developing trees, a problem called flagging. Flagging is the result of female cicadas making slits in twigs and limbs of trees as they deposit their eggs. The trees most susceptible to damage are oak, maple, cherry and other fruit trees, hawthorn, and redbud.
While cicadas are generally regarded as a nuisance in the U.S., in countries such as China, Malaysia, Myanmar, Congo and some Latin American countries, they are considered a delicacy. They supposedly taste like lobster and have the texture of soft-shell crabs.
See page 2 for photos and more information.