Cicadas Coming to Georgia

Opinions differ dramatically on the welcome status of trillions of these little bugs. Referred in some reporting as “Cicada-geddon,” it appears that the “biggest bug emergence in centuries is headed for Georgia.”

Referred to as “trillions of evolution’s bizarro wonders, red-eyed periodical cicadas are about to emerge in numbers not seen in decades and possibly centuries.” For the curious reader, be informed that the bugs has “have pumps in their heads and jet-like muscles in their rears.”

These cicadas crawl “out from underground every 13 or 17 years, with a collective song as loud as jet engines.”

Notably, these “black bugs with bulging eyes differ from their greener-tinged cousins that come out annually.” Descriptions of the phenomena offer visual precision. “They stay buried year after year, until they surface and take over a landscape, covering houses with shed exoskeletons and making the ground crunchy.”

As reported, this spring, “an unusual cicada double dose is about to invade a couple parts of the United States in what University of Connecticut cicada expert John Cooley called cicada-geddon.” The last such event was a while ago. These two broods “came out together in 1803 Thomas Jefferson, who wrote about cicadas in his Garden Book but mistakenly called them locusts, was president.”

If you’re fascinated by the upcoming solar eclipse, the cicadas are weirder and bigger, said Georgia Tech biophysicist Saad Bhamla.

“We’ve got trillions of these amazing living organisms coming out of the Earth, climbing up on trees and it’s just a unique experience, a sight to behold,” Bhamla said.  “It’s like an entire alien species living underneath our feet and then some prime number years they come out to say hello.”

At times mistaken for voracious and unrelated locusts, periodical cicadas are more annoying rather than causing biblical economic damage. They can hurt young trees and some fruit crops, but it’s not widespread and can be prevented.

The cicadas have several broods and characteristics. “The largest geographic brood in the nation – called Brood XIX and coming out every 13 years — is about to march through the Southeast, having already created countless boreholes in the red Georgia clay. It’s a sure sign of the coming cicada occupation. “They emerge when the ground warms to 64 degrees (17.8 degrees Celsius).” This phenomenon is happening earlier, due to “climate change,” according to some entomologists. The numbers that will come out this year – averaging around 1 million per acre over hundreds of millions of acres across 16 states – are mind-boggling. Easily hundreds of trillions, maybe quadrillions, Cooley said.

The numbers that will come out this year – averaging around 1 million per acre over hundreds of millions of acres across 16 states – are mind-boggling. Easily hundreds of trillions, maybe quadrillions, Cooley said.

D & B Staff

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Episode 151