Residents of southwestern Virginia and beyond will soon begin to hear the buzz of cicada wings as the insects known as Brood IX begin emerging from the ground in early May to mate. This brood of periodical cicadas have spent the past 17 years underground, feeding on the nutrients from wooded plants in the soil.
While most people are familiar with annual cicadas that make an appearance every year near the end of summer, the 17-year Brood IX arrives in tremendous numbers, swarming trees and dive-bombing people as they mind their own business outside. Dogs love them– they make a delicious, crunchy snack.
Though they’ve spent the last 17 years maturing underground, Brood IX cicadas live only 4-6 weeks above ground. Their purpose is to mate—that loud, buzzing sound you hear is produced by adult males to attract females.
In order for the insects to emerge, soil temperatures about
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