With all that sun and all that warmth out there, you might think going barefoot outside is a good idea.
Below your feet, any day now, emerging from the ground will be Brood II 17-year cicadas. Lots of them.
Cicadas are common in the mid-Atlantic region and some come out every spring and summer—but this year, local residents will definitely see more than any year since the spring and summer of 2004. And with the weather as warm as it is, you may see them, and hear them, earlier.
"It's an amazing natural history event that we'll get to see," Dan Babbitt, the manager of the Smithsonian's Insect Zoo and Butterfly Pavilion, told WUSA.
He says it'll happen when the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit.
"About a week before they emerge they'll dig a hole up to the surface. And then they'll wait underground for about a week and then we'll get emergence of about 75 percent of the population. Which is probably millions and millions of cicadas. The end of April, beginning of May. So it all depends on soil temperature," Babbitt told the station.
There won’t be quite as many cicadas this year as in the infamous Brood X 17-year cicadas of 2004, but a sizable population of spring.
"I think by Memorial Day it's just going to be spectacular," University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp told WTOP recently. "There will simply be millions of these things in the tree tops, and the boys are going to be singing their hearts out."
In some areas of the world, primarily in Southeast Asia, cicadas are a delicacy. If you’re brave enough to eat one, here are a few recipes for cooked cicadas.
What Do Cicadas Look Like?
Watch the YouTube videos in the media box above from the 2004 Brood X cicadas for an idea of what to look for this spring.
There’s no mistaking cicadas for other large insects. Cicadas are generally three-quarters of an inch to two inches long. They have wide set eyes, long transparent wings and six legs. (See cicada photos here.)
Male cicadas make a rapid clicking noise by flexing and contracting an organ in their abdomen called a tymbal, according to Cicadamania.com. Female cicadas also make noise, but it is quieter and made with their wings. (Listen to the sound here.) Male cicadas are among the loudest insects in the world.
Do you remember the 2004 Brood X cicadas? Are you dreading this round, or do you think the bugs are interesting? Tell us in the comments!