Harmless insects pester the community

Published 12:00 am Monday, August 29, 2005

“What people are hearing are cicadas,” said Kathryn B. Friday, county extension coordinator for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

Every year, area residents are faced with menaces who leave their exoskeletons on backyard trees and fly

around making irritating sounds that penetrate the air. Many people erroneously refer to this creature as the locust, but in fact, it is the cicada.

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There are many varieties of cicada that exist in this area, from the 13 and 17 year cicadas to those affecting residents today, Friday said. Those cicadas hatch every year, with there greatest hatching in the spring.

Cicadas lay their eggs on tree branches, then nymphs drop from the trees and borough underground, feeding on tree roots.

“Cicadas normally aren’t that harmful,” said Friday, “They’re just loud.” The male cicada produces a loud “song” to attract females.

Residents should not be afraid of cicadas because they won’t bite or sting. Plus, they are naturally exterminated by prey, such as birds, wasps and spiders, Friday said.