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America’s East Abuzz with Cicadas

FILE - A mature cicada dries its wings on a blueberry tree in Fairfax, Virginia. (Photo: Diaa Bekheet)

Much of the eastern United States is buzzing. The sound of periodical cicadas is becoming pervasive with the emergence of Brood X (Ten), or the Great Eastern Brood, which emerges every 17 years.

The big, red-eyed insects come above ground after the soil temperature rises above 18 degrees Celsius, ending their long slumber.

They are now in Virginia and much of everywhere across a 15-state eastern region in the United States.

After spending nearly their entire 17-year lives underground, sipping sap from tree roots, trillions of nymphs are emerging to mate and then die.

The male cicadas are making all the racket — a mating call produced by vibrating membranes in their abdomens.

Their collective symphony approaches a level of 100 decibels — as loud as a motorcycle.

The insects do not bite or sting, but many Americans consider them a noisy annoyance they will have to endure for several weeks.