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Let The Music Play: Cicadas To Invade Tri-State Area For Month-Long Stay

Expert: There Could Be A Billion Of The Noisy Insects Per Square Mile
Adult cicadas dry their wings on leaves May 16, 2004 in Reston, Virginia. (credit: Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

Adult cicadas dry their wings on leaves May 16, 2004 in Reston, Virginia. (credit: Richard Ellis/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — It’s that time again.

After a 17-year slumber, cicadas will be making their unwelcome debut throughout the Tri-State Area in about a month.

Experts said the cicadas will not be out until mid to late May.

And as CBS 2’s Lou Young reported, scientists said the spring and summer will bring record numbers of the noisy insect.

“In places where they’re going to be present, it’s going to be spectacular. There could be as many as one billion cicadas emerging per square mile,” Michael Raupp, a professor of Entomology at the University of Maryland, told 1010 WINS. “This is really a spectacular opportunity for children, for adults, for students to go out and learn about one of Mother Nature’s rarest, most interesting events.”

Entomologist Lou Sorkin of the American Museum of Natural History said he is getting ready for the invasion.

“It’s a great thing,” Sorkin told Young. “It only happens once every 17 years, but you have different broods of these, so if you’re lucky in your lifetime, you have a few broods to actually go out and examine, and try to collect.”

Scientists are tracking 15 different broods of periodic cicadas, insects that spend 17 years below ground and emerge with wings, flying around, making noise and mating in the last weeks of their life.

The current group, Brood No. 2, is one of the largest ever — numbering in the billions. The Tri-State Area last saw it back in 1996.

And are they ever noisy.

“The sound is the sound of male cicadas looking for mates. And only males make those sounds,” Professor John Cooley, a research scientist from the University of Connecticut, told WCBS 880’s Wayne Cabot.

A cicada sits on a fence (file/credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

A cicada sits on a fence (file/credit: Scott Olson/Getty Images)

That mating call has been measured at 100 decibels, similar to the noise created by a subway train.

“One of the things about these cicadas that’s a little bit different from the cicadas that we see every summer is that these cicadas come out in large numbers and chorus together,” Cooley told Cabot.