Over a million cicadas will return to swarm parts of the US this summer

A new brood of cicadas is emerging after 17 years underground.
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/ Source: TODAY
By Kerry Breen

Some states should prepare for the sounds of cicadas this summer!

Experts predict that more than a million cicadas will be making appearances in the coming months, with parts of Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina serving as hotspots for the insects.

The last time cicadas made a major appearance was in 2013, when billions of the bugs burst out of the ground and infested the East Coast and mid-Atlantic region. This showing is expected to be much smaller, with scientists predicting that just 1.5 million cicadas will emerge, according to NBC affiliate WBALTV.

Cicadas emerge every few years to lay eggs. Alamy

When and why do cicadas emerge?

Cicadas typically appear in 17-year cycles, though some cicadas operate on a 13-year schedule. Cicadas of the same life cycle are classified in different "broods." This year's group will be known as "Brood IX," according to AccuWeather.

Another type of cicadas, known as "dog-day" cicadas, according to NBC News, are much more common and emerge every summer.

Cicadas have an unusual life cycle. Adult cicadas burrow out of the ground, shed their outer skins, then find mates. Female cicadas lay eggs, and then the brood dies off "in droves."The eggs hatch, the new cicadas return underground, and then spend years feeding on plant roots before emerging fully-grown and repeating the cycle again.

Cicadas typically emerge in the late spring or early summer, waiting for the soil temperature to reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit before coming out.

Cicadas are generally harmless and are even eaten as snacks. Getty Images

Are cicadas dangerous?

Typically harmless, the insects pose no threat to people but can do some damage to trees.

The real issue of cicadas is their extremely loud mating hum, which can reach up to 100 decibels — the same sound level of power tools and lawnmowers.

In some cases, people have turned cicadas into a variety of snacks, including chips, chocolate-covered cicadas and even soup. One restaurant in central Missouri created cicada ice cream, and while a public health official expressed concern over the frozen treats, the dessert sold out in hours.