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They have been lurking underground for almost twenty years, waiting for the right moment to emerge. This is not a horror movie or an ancient legend: billions of cicadas will soon occupy part of the United States, including the capital, Washington.

This event is rare and spectacular. Every 17 years, these “period” chicads collectively emerge in fresh air, lay eggs … and then die.

Melanie Asher, who lives in Bethesda, a suburb of Washington, D.C., said: “It looks like science fiction, with vivid memories of the 1987 invasion – when she was a child.

“It was covered with cicadas that had fallen to the ground, dead. It was so weird that it came from another world,” he adds.

This year, cicadas are expected to pass through Georgia, from Washington to some parts of a vast expanse east of the state of Illinois, depending on the region from May or April.

Melody Merin saw the last big wave in 2004. “They were flying everywhere,” said the 46-year-old Washington resident, who works in communications. In the car, he continued, “They hit the windshield and you could not drive with the windows open.”

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In the weeks leading up to the event, what else can you expect on a daily basis? Tell the residents, along with the chicatos that come as an example to get stuck in your hair. Either use – or not – they are produced when your shoes crush “chicadas” corpses.

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Peter Beard mainly inspires their song. The nearly 67-year-old retiree, who lives in the vicinity of Columbia Heights in the federal capital and enjoyed their arrival in 1987 – “it was serious” – and 2004.

“It’s strong, it doesn’t stop, it doesn’t stop,” he says. “But you get used to it, it becomes a background noise,” he says angrily, “delighted” by these “incredible” events, eagerly teasing, wanting to see its effect on people who have not experienced it.

– Hunters –

John Cooley, who teaches ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Connecticut in Hartford, says: “It’s very unique. These harmless cicadas “simply have a life cycle of 17 years.”

This is how their existence manifests, they will last a long time when they are at our feet, and once visible.

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“Once the soil reaches a certain temperature, about 62 degrees Fahrenheit (about 17 degrees Celsius, editor’s note) may be a little humid in the evening, but it doesn’t rain much,” says Dr. Cooley.

Then, “They will leave the plants for no more than a week. Then they will accept the behavior of adults ”. That means getting down to a giant orgy.

Because, as Dr. Cooley puts it, “this is it”: to reproduce. “The noise you are going to hear is the call of the man to attract the woman’s response. When the male and female reunite, they mate and the female lays “soon” they die “.

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“After six to eight weeks the egg hatches and the whole cycle repeats itself,” he continues. So the nymphs will go and bury themselves and eat the sap taken from the roots for the next 17 years.

According to Dr. Cooley, there should be “billions, if not trillions” of cicadas this spring. Even the survival strategy of this species of predators in large numbers, he explains.

This is because if squirrels, birds, raccoons and dogs feed on them for several days, they will be complete without threatening the remaining innumerable cicadas.

Meanwhile, residents of the US capital are trying to philosophize with the fact that the invasion of the “Chikats” will occur with the arrival of beautiful days, which after a year of epidemics and health awaited more impatiently than usual. Restrictions.

Hiking or touring among the insects is not really very tasty.

“It’s a little cruel,” Melody Marin laughs. “Someone like that has a very twisted sense of humor, and plays with our emotions!”

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