Environmental Protection

Billions of Cicadas May Soon Swarm Eastern U.S.

The East Coast of the U.S. may soon be swarmed with billions of cicadas, outnumbering people from North Carolina to Connecticut by 600 to 1. But not to worry, even though the insects may be a nuisance, they’re not a threat to anything but a few shrubs.

For the past 17 years, these cicadas have been underground, waiting until they grow wings so that they can go out in the world and breed. Scientists have dubbed this latest upcoming cicada infestation as Brood II and expect billions of the insects to swarm Eastern states in the U.S. any day now. Cicadas aren’t dangerous to people or animals, and they will only feed on plants during their few weeks of life. Scientists estimate that 30 billion cicadas will swarm the East Coast this year, and the insects will only live for two to three weeks.

This large group of cicadas has been living underground in nymph form since 1996. Soon, they will emerge from the ground as winged insects and will live for a few weeks in order to breed. The insects will then die and their offspring will go underground for another 17 years, expected to return in 2030.

In the U.S. alone, there are 15 broods of cicadas that infest the country about every 13 to 17 years. This means that cicadas swarm some part of the U.S. each year. Illinois, Iowa, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Missouri are expected to experience their own cicada infestation next year.

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