Tuesday, September 30, 2014

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Plague of cicadas heading to New York

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Albany/HV: Plague of cicadas heading to New York
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After 17 years living underground, millions and millions of cicadas are about to emerge all along the East Coast, including in Albany and the Hudson Valley. YNN's John Wagner reports.

HUDSON VALLEY, N.Y. -- "It's a phenomenon, that's exactly what I'd call it," said Stephanie Radin, the Agriculture & Horticulture Program Leader, at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Dutchess County.

You will soon grow to love - or, maybe just live with - these bug eyed, alien looking creatures called cicadas. Scientists say once the ground warms to 64 degrees, a swarm of the teenagers will emerge and immediately begin flirting.

"The males woo the females by singing," explained Radin, an entomologist.

Cicada's melody is a human cacophony. For a short four to six weeks, the insects will mate, lay eggs, and then die.

"They're not a health threat, they can't bite you and the biggest problem I guess will be the singing and the noise you'll be hearing," said Radin.

A chorus of cicada mating calls can reach more than 90 decibels, that's the equivalent of an average lawnmower, motorcycle, or garbage disposal. But not quite as bad as a rock concert. You'll only experience this brood four to five times in your life, so scientists say you should embrace it.

"Insects as I say, are fascinating," said Radin. "I think they're smarter than us, to tell you the truth."

"Once you've seen them you won't forget them," said one woman who remembers the last two 14-year cycles. "The walkway crunches because they're all all over the walkway and they're kinda creepy too," said another.

That's a second kind of sound you'll need to get used to. The good news is they shut up at night and will only hurt weaker, young trees.

"You can easily protect them by some bird knitting or some cheese cloth," said Radin.

Bug lovers say they won't harm your children either. It's actually a good science lesson.

"To learn about Mother Nature and hopefully teach them to have an appreciation for insects," continued Radin, "and not that fear or phobia that a lot of people have."

Whether you love them or hate them, if you get through this season, you can live without them for another 17 years.

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