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BALTIMORE, Maryland (WBAL) — It’s been 17 yearssince Marylanders last had to deal with them, but a particular breed of cicadas will make its way back to the region in the next few weeks, experts said.
The Brood II cicadas, which are unique to the eastern United States, haven’t been around since the Ramones were still together and President Bill Clinton was serving his first term in office.
University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp has been waiting for this particular brood for 17 years. The bugs have been living underground the whole time and will emerge at the end of their lives.
“I wait every day for this moment to arrive,” Raupp said. “It’s no wonder, when they get up out of the Earth, that they’re going to sing. They’re going to fly to the treetops with the big boy band, and the guys are going to get eyeball to eyeball with the gals.”
The cicadas should hit in mid-April to late May from Georgia to Connecticut. In Maryland, the hot spots are expected to be Calvert and Anne Arundel counties, experts said.
While cicadas are harmless to humans and trees, the mating call can be a real nuisance — as loud as a lawnmower or a jet engine, experts said. But it only lasts a month. The bugs mate, lay eggs and die, and in between, they try to stay alive.
“Right now, everything on the planet wants to eat a cicada including foxes, skunks, raccoons, birds,” Raupp said.
He said humans like to eat them, too, and are known to boil, bake and stir-fry the bugs. In 2004, that brood got covered in chocolate by some people.
Raupp said he prefers them raw.
“They have a delicate, nutty flavor, and a buttery texture. Sometimes they have a hint of the tannins from the oak trees they fed on for 17 years,” he said.