Sex drives bugs from their beds

Residents from North Carolina to Connecticut can look forward to a red-eyed cicada invasion any day. Photo / AP
Residents from North Carolina to Connecticut can look forward to a red-eyed cicada invasion any day. Photo / AP

Billions of cicadas, with their distinctive black bodies and bulging red eyes, are set to overrun a 1450km stretch of the US East Coast as they crawl out of the earth after 17 years underground.

Residents from North Carolina to Connecticut will be outnumbered by roughly 600-to-1 by the swarm.

The bugs, in wingless nymph form, are looking for just one thing: sex. And they will make a big racket, too. The noise all the male cicadas make when they sing for sex has been measured at 94 decibels.

Since 1996 the bugs have been developing underground and are set to emerge in the next month when soil temperature exceeds 18C. After a few weeks up in the trees, they will die and their offspring will go underground, not to return until 2030.

There are ordinary cicadas that come out every year around the world, but these are different. They are called magicicadas and are seen only in the eastern half of the US.

- Independent

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