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17-Year Cicadas Begin To Emerge In Tri-State Area

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The 17-year cicadas are emerging, and for the next few weeks, millions will be filling the night with their ominous buzz.

As 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported Wednesday, while the human population may not appreciate the cicadas, there are plenty of creatures that do.

"The birds and the raccoons and so on – these animals will feed on them so much to the point where they get just sick of eating them, and there are still millions left," said biology professor Dr. Gene Kritsky. "That's their whole survival strategy, and they're doing this just to reproduce."

17-Year Cicadas Begin To Emerge In Tri-State Area

Kritsky said hundreds of cicadas may fill one tree.

As CBS 2's Lou Young explained last month, scientists are tracking 15 different broods of periodic cicadas, insects that spend 17 years below ground and emerge with wings, flying around, making noise and mating in the last weeks of their life.

The current group, Brood No. 2, is one of the largest ever -- numbering in the billions.

Their noisy mating call has been measured at 100 decibels, similar to the noise created by a subway train.

This year, the activity is expected to spread from Georgia to New Hampshire, with parts of the New York Metro area seeing the largest numbers. People in northern New Jersey, Westchester and coastal Connecticut are expecting a noisy summer.

The thing to remember is that the cicadas will not hurt you, beyond keeping you up at night and crunching underfoot after they mate and die.

And the adults only have a lifespan of four weeks.

After the cicadas mate, the females lay their eggs and then they die, University of Connecticut research scientist John Cooley told WCBS 880's Wayne Cabot. The eggs then hatch six to eight weeks later and the little cicadas go into the ground to start the 17-year cycle all over again.

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