- Associated Press - Monday, May 25, 2015

LINCOLN, Neb. (AP) - It’s that time of the century again in eastern Nebraska, when cicadas emerge and raise their racket of life and love.

This year the Kansas brood, which experts said is one of 12 cicada broods across the country, will come to adult life in part of eastern Nebraska, including Cass, Cuming, Douglas, Johnson, Otoe, Pawnee, Sarpy and Saunders counties.

Male cicadas open and closed two flaps on the underside of their bodies. The flaps cover cavities that work like resonating chambers. The varying sounds attract female cicadas that, after mating, lay up to 600 eggs in the soft twigs and branches of trees and shrubs.

“The sound, I won’t say it’s deafening, but it’s incredibly loud,” said Leon Higley, an entomologist and professor of applied ecology at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s School of Natural Resources. “You couldn’t have a normal conversation, they’re so loud,” he told the Lincoln Journal Star (https://bit.ly/1KhcCbx).

When the eggs hatch, the youngsters find their way to tree roots, where they feed, molt and complete their development.

Cicadas feed on plant juices and don’t sting or bite people.

Some cicada species emerge every year, but others follow life cycles of three, seven, 13 and 17 years - all prime numbers.

The theory is that cicadas have life cycles corresponding to prime numbers so predator species have difficulty synchronizing their life cycles with the cicada life cycles, Higley said.

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Information from: Lincoln Journal Star, https://www.journalstar.com

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