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Millions of cicadas to emerge in sections of the US

Millions of cicadas, are expected to start emerging in sections of the United States after spending 17 years underground.

Periodical cicadas are expected to come out in early summer across southwest Virginia, parts of North Carolina, and in West Virginia.

The last time the cicadas emerged in many of those regions was in 2003 and 2004, though some areas saw an emergence in 2013.

As many as 1.5 million of the insects can emerge per acre of land.

While they are some of the longest-lived insects in the world, periodical cicadas spend almost their entire lives underground as what entomologists call "nymphs".

According to Virginia Tech university “ they live in the soil and feed on tree roots for periods of either 13 or 17 years depending on the species.”

When the nymphs are ready, they build mud tubes - called a cicada hut - in the soil and crawl out to find a place to moult into their winged adult form and to mate.

They are not harmful to humans and can be a food source for animals and birds.

They only live for two to four weeks as adults but during that time can cause significant damage to young trees - including apple, dogwood, peach, hickory, cherry, and pear - as well as to vines and saplings where females lay their eggs.

The male cicadas are also very loud, "singing" by vibrating membranes on their abdomen to court females.

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