MEMPHIS, Tenn. (WMC) - There are cicadas that come back every year but one particular species of cicadas are making an early return. This species normally emerges every 17 years but is already making an appearance in many parts of the southeast.
According to entomologists, the last time this particular species of cicadas were active was in 2003 and 2004 but some areas saw them in 2013. Now they are back and there could be as many as 1.5 million per acre.
Thankfully, they are not a threat to humans. They can, however, cause damage to trees and sing loudly when trying to attract the female cicada.
Some species have a 13-year cycle while others have a 17-year cycle. The ones that are emerging early are known as stragglers and entomologists say this is what is being seen and is to come this summer will only account for about 10% of the species. This means there will be plenty leftover to appear on their regularly scheduled time which is 2021.
What makes them so fascinating is that they normally show up in such large numbers. So large that even when they get eaten, there are still so many remaining. The good news is that with these early birds, or stragglers, they show up in smaller numbers.
Most of their time is spent underground and while they are underground, they feed off of tree roots. Some entomologist believe that this is how they are able to tell the seasons. These roots may be the key to cuing the cicadas on when to come above ground.
When it is their time to emerge, the soil temperature has to be at 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
Some entomologists believe that climate change could be the cause. Many scientist believe that warmer temperatures could play a role in why cicadas are showing up before their scheduled appearance.