Cicadas, the loud yet harmless insects, have begun rearing their unattractive heads across the southern U.S. after a 13-year lull spent underground.
States like Tennessee, Alabama and Georgia are reporting the insects emerging in droves, and are preparing for that incessant buzzing that will soon fill the atmosphere as the male cicadas seek out mates in a clamorous event that last occurred in 1998.
Meanwhile, scientists are bustling to study the enigmatic creatures, well aware they won't have another chance to do so until 2024. Nancy Hinkle, a professor of the department of entomology at the University of Georgia, told CVN News that these 13-year cicadas, also known as periodical cicadas, belong to Brood XIX in Georgia. There are other periodical cicadas in the U.S. that only appear every 17 years.
While many people see the mysterious cicadas as a nuisance and some find them frightening, they are actually harmless creatures that don't bite or sting in any way. According to the Jackson Sun, the red-eyed cicadas can even be eaten, and in some countries "are considered delicacies because of the high amount of protein they provide."
From The Tennessean
“There is no toxic component to cicadas,’’ [Grassmere Animal Hospital Veterinarian Carol] Machery said. “I’ve even heard of people storing them in a freezer for dog treats.”
WKSR reports that the cicadas should be around for 5-6 weeks before returning underground for another 13 years.