KEARNEYSVILLE — This month, the 17-year cicadas are expected to emerge from underground in many East Coast states. However the constant buzz of the insect will not be prominent in West Virginia.
[cleeng_content id="304981019" description="Read it now!" price="0.15" t="article"]Tracy Leskey, research entomologist for USDA’s Appalachian Fruit Research Station, said West Virginia is not part of the historic range of this family of cicadas.
“The brood that will be emerging this year is Brood II. We don’t expect too many of this brood in West Virginia,” said Leskey, adding cicadas would begin emerging when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees, approximately 8 inches below the surface.
Leskey said nymphs will crawl from the soil and molt to the adult state, where between four to six weeks of above-ground activity can be expected as adults mate and females lay eggs in the tips of branches in trees.
Once hatched, the new nymphs will fall from the trees and burrow underground, where they will feed on roots for the next 17 years, an event that happens in eastern North America and no place else in the world.
Leskey said there was a lot of activity around the state in 2004 when Brood X emerged.
Periodic cicadas emerge only 13 or 17 years, depending on the species.
The buzz heard from the cicada is actually created with a drum-like organ near their stomach known as a tymbal. They pulse air through it with motions of the body.
Cicadas are ecologically beneficial and they provide food for birds, lizards, fish, mammals like squirrels and field mice, and even dogs and cats. And when they die, their bodies provide nutrients to trees, plants and flowers.
Leskey said West Virginia can expect its next round of cicada activity in 2015 when Brood V emerges from the ground.[/cleeng_content]