MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — The East Coast is bracing for an invasion:
“An entire tree may have certain barks covered with them, and when the husks hit the ground, you will say it’s like acorns falling from the tree – which are all the discarded skeletons, and then the animals are climbing up to the tops of the trees and start their chorusing. The males are chorusing,” according to Dr. Jim Siegel who is an Ecology Curriculum Manager/Biologist at U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Conservation Training Center in Shepherdstown. He says put down the bug spray:
“This isn’t an animal that you need to kill. This isn’t an animal that you need to use insect repellant to keep them off your arms and legs. They don’t bite. They don’t eat,” he says.
And while the thought of ‘billions’ of bugs may be unnerving, he says they don’t destroy vegetation save some small fruit trees.
“Over one million of them per acre is possible, and so it’s billions of insects emerging all at once during from about mid-May to maybe another six weeks after that. And they’re going to be all doing that to breed, and to mate, and lay their eggs. And then they will die, to start the cycle again.”
The Eastern Panhandle will likely see the bulk of West Virginia’s emergence of the 17-year-cicadas.
Pictures, from L-R Picture 1: Dr. Jim Siegel
Picture 2:Discarded Cicada exoskeleton