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Friday, May 31, 2013

Massive cicada emergence not happening in Annandale

If you’re excitedly anticipating a plague of cicadas, don’t get your hopes up. The Annandale area won’t see a massive load of the bugs.

The bulk of Brood II will emerge south of here, says Michael Gates, a USDA research entomologist based at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. He’s seen only about 15 cicadas in his backyard in the Parkland community in Mason District.

People in the Ft. Belvoir, Quantico, and even southern Springfield areas should expect to see a lot more cicadas than residents of the Annandale area. We could see more around here as it gets hotter. Cicadas wake up when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees. 

Brood II is one of several cicada broods on a 17-year cycle. There are also 13-year cicadas. Once they emerge, cicadas stay active, and noisy, for about two four weeks. After mating, they die, leaving a brittle skin behind. There are several 17-year and 13-year cicada broods.

Here are a few cicada facts: Only the males sing. They don’t kill flowers or shrubs but could damage ornamental trees. They have five eyes. They are edible. For more information, visit the Magicicada and Cicadia Mania websites. 

Cicadas are extremely loud. Turn up the sound on this video recorded in Springfield earlier this week by Patricia Jetson:

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