Billions of the 17-year-cicadas are due to come out over the next few weeks, across a swath of the East Coast ranging from North Carolina to Connecticut, NBC News reports.
People are getting all twitchy about the bugs that are coming out in New York and New Jersey after a 17-year buildup, but when it comes to cicadas, Billy Tesh is seeing the real deal in North Carolina.
"I was so excited," Tesh told NBC News from Greensboro, where he runs a company called Pest Management Systems. "I've never seen so many in one location in my life. They were on almost every blade of grass.
Other species of cicadas break out from the ground every year, but scientists suspect that the 17-year cicadas (and their 13-year kin) adopted a longer life cycle as an evolutionary ploy to overwhelm their predators with sheer numbers and surprise. When the time comes, masses of insects burrow out of their underground homes, shake off the shells of their childhood, unfurl their wings and look around for mates.
This spring's group is known as Brood II — which comes between last year's Brood I in Appalachia and next year's Brood III in the Midwest.
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Source: NBC News