Sex-seeking cicadas begin to emerge in Southern Maryland

A newly emerged cicada dries its wings. The mid-Atlantic region is getting ready for the emergence of Brood II, which has been lurking underground for 17 years. (AP)

WASHINGTON – They’ve lurked beneath you for 17 years. Now cicadas are about to overrun the mid-Atlantic region. Get ready for a racket.

The cicadas have been spotted in Southern Maryland in St. Mary’s County and are moving north.

“These are not critters that are going to harm you, or your pet. They’re not going to breed inside your house,” says University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp who has already captured a few of them for study.

However, Raupp says you will hear them mainly in Southern Maryland and Northern Virginia.

“They’re going to be singing away at 90 decibels. It’s going to sound like a rock concert.”

The reason the male cicadas sing so loudly is that they’re looking for sex.

The worst of the cicada invasion will hit by the first week of June.

The greatest danger cicadas pose will be to young trees, particularly fruit trees.

“Netting can be highly effective in protecting fruit trees,” says Raupp who suggests orchard owners use them.

He also recommends not letting pets eat the insects and being ready to sweep them out of the driveway because the corpses do smell, especially when crushed by a car.

The cicadas will be gone by mid-June, for another 17 years.

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