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Cicadas to emerge in May after 17 years

Cicadas will come out of their long dormancy in just a few months. Brood X is expected to emerge in May after 17 years.

MONROE COUNTY, Pa. — It's a phenomenon that happens every 17 years. Brood X, a big generation of cicadas, will hatch for the first time since 2004 this spring.

"I can't wait for the noise. I mean, they are really loud," said Bob Stern, Quakertown.

Matthew Wallace is a professor of biological science at East Stroudsburg University.

"These insects are pretty amazing because they spend 17 years of their life underground as immatures. It's one of the longest life cycles of any insect, and they all hatch pretty much at the same time in late May and early June in the millions, or perhaps trillions if totaled up all the individuals," said Professor Wallace.

The insects are about one to two inches long. Once they emerge, they lose their outer shell. The males make noise to attract females to mate.

Wallace says while the bugs look scary, they are harmless.

"They won't bite. They might be a nuisance if you're outside, playing golf or an outdoor wedding they might have, their sounds are extremely, extremely loud, but they are patchy, too," said Wallace.

People we spoke to remember the 2004 hatch like it was yesterday, and if anything, they can't believe 17 years have gone by.

"Seventeen years ago, yeah, I do. I remember driving, and everywhere you went, they were everywhere," said Stern.

Carol Lesconage from East Stroudsburg says there's not a whole lot you can do to avoid cicadas, so she embraces the rare event.

"Oh, they don't bother me so much, the noise and all that. I mean, we used to pick the shells off the trees when we were kids. They don't bother me so much," said Lesconage.

Once cicadas emerge in May, experts say they will only live for a few weeks.

The bugs will drop to the ground and burrow for 17 more years, only to come back in May 2038.

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