- Associated Press - Monday, March 14, 2016

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) - A new brood of subterranean insects is about to emerge from the ground and begin their noisy mating season across West Virginia, researchers say.

Insects of the 17-year cicada population known as Brood V are expected to appear across the state’s northern and central counties around mid-May, the Charleston Gazette-Mail (https://bit.ly/24ZRQcg) reported.

West Virginia Department of Agriculture entomologist Berry Crutchfield said the brood last came out in 1999. He said the insects normally emerge when the ground is soft enough from rain to allow tunneling.

It normally takes the insects about 17 years to emerge because the insects must complete five stages of development during their subterranean years before reaching adulthood. Once they emerge and shed their husks, the insects begin a period of mating followed by egg-laying and death.

Four other periodical cicada broods in West Virginia are not expected to emerge until 2019 and 2020.

Crutchfield said the insects cause little harm and they provide protein for lots of wildlife.

“They are completely harmless to people, pets and livestock,” he said. “They don’t bite, they don’t carry disease, and they don’t damage structures,” he said.

Male cicadas fill the air with mating songs once they emerge. Female cicadas will respond with subtle noise-producing wing-beating patterns. Cicadas can also be attracted to the sounds made by lawn mowers and power tools.

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