17-year cicadas are back, up to millions expected to emerge

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JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Summer may sound a little louder this year. The 17-year cicadas are expected to emerge from underground.

Eric Day from the Department of Entomology at Virginia Tech explains that they come out every 17 years in massive numbers since predators do not know they are coming.

Southwest Virginia has a good probability of hearing and seeing these red eyed, orange winged insects. Some areas will have none to a few, while others may have over a million per acre. Northeast Tennessee is not expected to have this type of cicada emerge this year.

Weather plays a huge role in when the synchronized emergence of these insects occur. The many wet and cooler than average days the area had in May has made a difference.

“The most recent weather we had in the past month has kind of slowed them down, extended the whole thing, and get a little bit more viewing time for cicadas,” says Eric Day.

This week looks to be the peak of the 17-year cicadas. Don’t worry, other types of cicadas will still be around during the summer, including the annual or dog cicadas in July and August.

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