by CHELSEA SWANGLER Staff Writer
After 17 years of hiding, the cicadas are starting to emerge from the ground.
Cicadas are large homopterous insects with long transparent wings. Homopterous insects are defined as insects that have a membrane, forewings, and hind wings. Other examples of homopterous insects are aphids and scale insects.
These insects live underground most of their lives, but comes out of the ground in intervals of 17 years to find their mate, and lay their eggs. After about a month, cicadas usually go back into the ground to wait another 17 years.
Cicadas do not harm or hurt humans, or the environment. Although this insect cannot bite or sting, it can suck on your skin. This process is not harmful as it does not suck your blood like mosquitoes. Cicadas might simply think that you are a tree, so you should just remove the insect and go on with your day.
Freshman Karin Mulrein said, “Although they can’t hurt me, I still wouldn’t want to have a cicada on my arm.”
Cicadas are known for their annoying buzzing sound. The male cicadas make this sound by contracting the Tymbal muscle, and then it buckles the membrane inward, which produces a loud click. The females answer back to the males with a brisk movement of the wings. The male can both see and hear the wing flick, and will reply with more of their clicking sounds.
The cicada makes the loudest sound of any insect. You can hear the cicada’s song up to half a mile away, but luckily, they only sing during the daytime.
Cicadas are very good for the earth as they aerate the soil of trees when they emerge. They prune the weak branches of trees, earning the title of nature’s garden helpers. They also help out trees after they die by releasing a large amount of nutrients into the soil. All those added nutrients can help spur growth in trees, as well as seed production, come the next spring.
Freshman Aiyanna Jones said, “These insects should come out of the ground more often to help make the environment better.”
As a nymph, cicadas suck the sap from the roots of trees. As an adult, they have piercing sucking mouthparts and drink the juices from plant stems.
Cicadas mostly show up on the east coast in Washington D.C, Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, Maryland, and Connecticut.
In New Jersey, cicadas have been spotted in the cities of Belvidere, Colonia, Edison, Far Hills, Martinsville, Metuchen, Scotch Plains, Short Hills, Springfield, Warren, Watchung,and Westfiled.
Cicadas have not yet have been found in Monroe Township, though. They are expected to show up in our area anytime soon, so be on the lookout for them.
How long do you think it will take for the cicadas to come to the Monroe area?