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Not all Seaboard communities are battling cicada infestations, but what if yours is?

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(Read caption) A cicade moulting, frame by frame.
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For months now, East Coast residents between North Carolina and Connecticut have kept a watchful eye on the cicada forecast. Bug lovers eagerly awaited one of nature’s biggest—and arguably weirdest—coming out parties, while more squeamish residents dreaded the impending infestation.

It seems that many areas, such as Baltimore, Washington D.C. and parts of New Jersey have been spared, while others are positively overrun with the flying critters. It turns out that the cicadas have spent the last 17 years burrowing in rather sporadic clusters. If you have not seen any cicadas yet, chances are you won’t see them this time around, though it’s possible they may hit your area in 2021 when Brood X make their debut; this year’s crew is known as Brood II.

If your area is teeming with cicadas and the idea of a swarm of insects sends shivers down your spine, a little background knowledge can go a long way to take control of those emotions. Framing the event as a fascinating phenomenon for kids could help calm their fears and prevent lasting insect phobias.

So, what are cicadas anyway?

Cicadas are herbivorous, flying insects that grow to be about 0.75 to 2.25 inches long. There are over 1,500 species of cicadas around the world and more than 150 different species in North America. The particular species making headlines this spring is the periodical cicada, or Magicicada.

While many species of cicadas are present throughout the year, periodical cicadas spend the majority of their lives underground. This particular species surfaces only once every 17 years, for four to six weeks in a mad dash to mate. .

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