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Cicadas Ready To Buzz In Oklahoma After 13 Years Underground

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A Cicada A Cicada
Brian Jervis, with OSU Extension. Brian Jervis, with OSU Extension.

Emily Baucum, News On 6

TULSA, Oklahoma -- In a few weeks we'll get to witness a natural wonder that happens only once every 13 years: the roaring drone of cicadas emerging from the ground.

Before you see them, you'll hear them.

"I'm from Oklahoma and they make the locust sound everybody would recognize," Brian Jervis, with OSU Extension, said.

After 13 years hibernating underground, thousands of cicadas will emerge in 15 states, including Oklahoma.

"They do emerge heavily, and when they do, what we're going to notice in Oklahoma, the noise is going to pick up a lot and we may see a lot of activity with these guys flying around," Jervis said.

They're loud, they have beady red eyes. You could call them creepy-crawlies.

"They are a big bug. They're the size of a quarter, if not bigger," Jervis said. "When they come up out of the soil they're going to actually be short-lived. Once they're out of the soil, they're going to last for about seven days, is all."

The bugs are busy bees during that short week; they mate and lay their eggs before dying off.

"Good thing is, they're not going to hurt us, they're not going to attack us, they're not going to sting," Jervis said.

And gardeners, they won't turn your green thumbs red. All cicadas want to do in the garden is go straight to the tree. That's where they lay their eggs. The eggs will burrow down into the ground and you won't see them another 13 years.

"It's kind of an oddity. The cicadas have kind of a cool life cycle," Jervis said.

The reason people of all ages are fascinated by the sizzle. Until the sound, just like the summer season, eventually fizzles.

We'll see a much larger cicada emergence in four years. 2015's when another brood will leave the ground and that brood only emerges every 17 years.

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