TODAY   |  May 23, 2013

Cicadas emerge from 17-year hibernation

If you’ve noticed holes suddenly appearing in the ground, get ready – warmer weather means cicadas have begun to come out of a 17-year hibernation along the mid-Atlantic, from North Carolina to New York. NBC’s Tom Costello reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we warned you they were coming and right on cue, the cicadas are here. one of our producers shot these images in her own backyard in new jersey. can you see them? there's tight shots there. they're on just about every leaf of those plants. she says her dog is eating them. nbc's tom costello has the latest on what some are calling swarmageddon. tom, good morning.

>> reporter: yeah, they're everywhere. this is what you're up against right there. this is actual size .

>> if they get that big, i'm moving to another country.

>> reporter: no, it's about this size, actually. not to freak you out too much. the bottom line, depending on where you live in the country, the ground under your feet could start to sound a little crunchy. it's late may 2013 and the cicada orchestra is just warming up, and no one could be happier than the self-professed bug guy. he insists this is going to be a great show.

>> this is going to be like a drama. there's going to be birth, there's going to be death, there's going to be romance, there's going to be sex.

>> reporter: and best of all, no one will get hurt. the bugs don't bite and pose little danger to plants. but if you've noticed holes suddenly appearing in the ground, get ready the cicadas are coming out of a 17-year hibernation. they're expected from north carolina up to new york and parts of new jersey, maryland and virginia they're already here. everywhere, actually.

>> i think they're really cool. we may not like them in a month when we're listening to them.

>> reporter: oh, you'll hear them, that's their mating call . and mating is the whole reason they climb out of the ground. there can be 1 billion in a single mile. singing together, their chorus can reach 90 decibels and the bug guy loves it.

>> it'll be as loud as a rock concert , but hey, these are teenagers, they're going to get into trees, they're going to sing.

>> reporter: the warmer it gets, the louder that i get until they mate and die in about six weeks. then a 17-year wait as those cicada eggs transform from larva to bug. that means they'll be back again in 2030 . now, i hate to gross you out at breakfast time, but some people actually like to eat these things. they call them land shrimp. and our professor bug guy even offered to eat one on camera and we said, you know, we've got people getting up in the morning, that's not a good idea. guys, back to you.

>> we've got to eat more than one to do anything about this problem, tom.

>> didn't the united nations encourage us all to eat more bugs?

>> protein.

>> on a silver platter.

>> i think i've reached my quota of bug and larva footage for the morning. thank you very much.

>> reporter: see you in 17 years.