Brood II Cicadas Have Taken Over Prince William County

5:35 PM, Jun 5, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- The swarm of Brood II cicadas is in the height of mating season right now. 

They make a buzzing sound; it's the male's mating call. It's loud, but people in Prince William County say it's not bothering them. 

The only real annoyance is the fact that there's so many of the little buggers.

Nicole Cook says, "It gets in the way when you're walking to the bus stop, or trying to catch a cab or out for a job, but other than that they really don't bother me." 

Elizabeth Lonton takes it even further, saying that the sound is "relaxing to me, in the evenings... they're kind of relaxing".

The cicadas only appear once every 17 years, and their life cycle is as weird as their appearance.

Once the ground temperature is above 64 degrees, the cicadas climb out of their holes at night and climb up the trees to find their mating spot. Then, the females bore holes into the ends of tree branches to lay their eggs. With their life mission complete, both males and females start dying. The eggs then hatch, and the new larvae drop to the ground, burrow holes in the dirt, and that's where they will remain for the next 17 years. This year's eggs won't reappear as cicadas until the year 2030.

So why are folks in Prince William County seeing the cicadas, but most of the rest of us aren't? 

University of Maryland bug expert Mike Raupp told the Washington Post that Brood II is not evenly distributed. So while places like Southern Maryland and parts of Virginia are buzzing, the rest of the region is basically cicada free. 

But don't forget, the metro area was inundated by brood ten back in 2004. 

So you only have to wait 8 more years for their return.

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