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Get Ready, East Coast, the Cicadas Are Coming

If creepy-crawly flying insects are not your thing, you might want to stop reading now: Brood II has arrived. What is it? It's the infestation of cicadas that takes over the East Coast every 17 years. The insects do not bite or sting and have no intention of causing pain or damaging crops. Their only goal is to mate.

In between infestations, they stay underground for 17 years, emerging only when the ground temperature reaches precisely 64 degrees. Their emergence was delayed this time because of the East Coast's uncharacteristically cool spring temperatures. The cicadas have not been seen in these quantities on the East Coast since 1996 (before that, they showed up in 1979). Brood II has already begun in Virginia and some other Southern states. Farther north, in New York and New England, the infestation is expected to begin shortly, as summer quickly approaches.

Cicadas are easily identified by their unmistakable loud chattering noise — which has been measured at up to 94 decibels. East Coast residents have been documenting where the bugs have popped up thanks to tools like 'The Cicada Tracker' on the website for radio station WNYC.

The number of insects is expected to outnumber humans from North Carolina to Connecticut 600 to 1. You may be surprised to learn that this is music to some people's ears — or maybe their tummies. In some regions of the world, cicadas are a delicacy and served as a high-protein, low-carb meal.

Don't worry, these somewhat annoying insects will not stick around for long. They hang around for just a few weeks to mate, and then they die off and their offspring go underground. Those little guys won't reemerge until 2030.

[Related: East About to be Overrun by Billions of Cicadas]

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