Cicada killer (ThinkStock)
The cicada invasion is about to begin.
Bring on the cicada-killer wasps.
Residents from North Carolina to Connecticut are bracing for the Brood II cicada invasion, 17 years in the making.
The numbers are staggering. According to Charlotte, N.C., NBC station WCNC, Gary Hevel of the Smithsonian Institution says as many as 1 trillion lie in wait underground.
Also, the station reports, the insects will outnumber humans 600 to 1. Perhaps even more staggering: There will be some 1 billion cicadas per square mile in the affected areas.
But that's not all. On the heels of the cicadas come wasps that like to make meals out of cicadas. But even they may not be able to handle the swarms of singing insects.
“With the large swarms of cicadas emerging over the next few weeks, you can expect many more cicada killers,” First Warn Storm Team Chief Meteorologist Brad Panovich told WCNC. “But even they won’t be able to keep up with the swarms coming."
Cicadas are harmless to humans. The large species of wasp is usually harmless to humans, though females can sting if provoked.
Cicadas spend most of their lives underground. Near the end of their lifespans they emerge to climb trees, shed their exoskeletons and mate. Both females and males die soon after the females lay their eggs.
The next generation will emerge in 2030 to repeat the cycle all over again.
- Nature & Environment