17-Year Cicadas to Emerge in PA Again This Year

But southwestern PA should dodge the swarm until 2016.

No, it's not the end of the world. After all, these aren't actually locusts.

But swarms of cicadas—often erroneously referred to as locusts—will emerge from the ground in parts of Pennsylvania this year to breed in large numbers, filling the air with their loud mating calls and frightening children (and squeamish adults) with their appearance.

Specifially, Brood II of the magicicada genus will crawl and fly along the United States' eastern seaboard this year, according to magicicada.org. The 17-year periodical cicadas are at the end of their life cycle, and so, it's time to breed.

According to cicada-enthusiast website cicadiamania.com, when temperatures 8 inches below the ground reach approximately 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the insects will come out of the ground—where they've been feeding off of plant life—and attempt to procreate.

The sound of their mating calls can be very loud, sometimes hitting more than 120 decibels at close range and approaching the pain threshold of the human ear, according to Animal Planet.

But while parts of Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York and Virginia will see and hear the insects this year, folks in southwestern Pennsylvania should be spared.

This cicadamania.com map shows that Brood II should only get as far as central PA. But Brood V (in 2016) is a different story, with the site's map showing the Pittsburgh area, including eastern Ohio and West Virginia, as being hit hard by the insects. Brood VIII (in 2019) should bring them back to Pittsburgh, as well.

"If you are seeing Magicicada in an area where no emergence is expected, you are likely seeing an off-cycle emergence," magicicada.org states. "Since Magicicada are 'predator-foolhardy,' relying on mass numbers to satiate predators, most cicadas that emerge in the wrong year ('stragglers') are quickly annihilated by predators such as birds."

Check out the above video to watch a Brood XIX cicada swarm in Tennessee from 2011.

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