Cicadas are taking over Georgia and Alabama yards

By Taylor Barnhill  - bio | email

FORTSON, GA (WXTX) -  Every thirteen years during the spring, a new life form pops up in portions of the country. These insects can't be missed because of the intense sound they emit all day and night.

If you are hearing this incessant screeching coming from your backyard, you aren't alone.

Fortson resident Tom Moore has been hearing noises for a few days now. He told News Leader Nine, "I never paid it much attention. Maybe it was equipment, maybe it was a frog sound. You watch some kind of horror movie or show on TV. and you hear all these wild and crazy things going on but no, not out in nature."

The big sound is coming from a little bug called the cicada, and you'll only see and hear it once every 13 years. They haven't been around since 1998, but this year the cicadas are taking over parts of Georgia and Alabama.

"This is a first. It's fascinating and worrisome at the same time but nevertheless, it's very interesting," said Moore.

The insect lives underground for the majority of its life, then emerges in the spring.

Dr. George Stanton, a Biology professor at Columbus State University has studied cicadas and their unusual methods. He explained, "After they have spent their apprenticeship all those years, one night they climb up a tree, the back splits open and out crawls the character with wings."

Dr. Stanton says the cause for that annoying noise comes from the creature's mating ritual, "The males set up a very loud singing. People think they are going crazy, they think their cars are breaking down, some people get really upset. They may keep you awake at night if you keep your windows open. By May 10th they'll start mating and they party for two weeks and then it's all over and the females lay the eggs. Depending on how sensitive your ears are, it may annoy you, but it's kind of an amazing experience and I hope people get a kick out of it."

Although Tom Moore does agree the process is interesting, he isn't a big fan of all the racket, "It's something we'll be glad to see go away. It doesn't sound like something I want to hear for the next few days, weeks or months."

Don't worry about cicadas messing up your yard or your plants, they only feed on tree sap and the only signs of them you might see are some broken off twigs or leaves.

They don't bite, they don't sting, and they usually stay in the top portions of trees.

As long as you can make it through the noise, you only have to put up with the cicadas until they leave in the late summer.

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