Billions of Brood II periodical cicadas are wiggling from their subterranean lairs as ground temperatures warm to 64°F along the East Coast.
Reports of the cicada nymphs emerging to cast off their crunchy shells after 17 years are already being posted to a map on the website magicicada.org, and a map of average soil temperatures produced by the USDA and NOAA for the week ending May 4 shows that the southern part of the bugs' range is just about right for their emergence.
Brood II cicadas appear at 17-year intervals from North Carolina to Connecticut. Another brood of periodical 17-year cicadas, Brood III, is sprouting from the ground in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois this year.
The National Pest Management Association noted in April that female cicadas can lay 400 to 600 eggs during their summertime frolics. "Although cicadas may be intimidating with their large size and striking red eyes, the good news is they do not pose any health threats to humans," explained the NPMA's vice president of public affairs Missy Henriksen in the group's April statement.
Some companies, however, are advertising pesticides to people who just cannot stand the incessant chirping.
U-spray, Inc. guides visitors to its website through a wide range of cicada-killing poisons. For non-garden applications, the company recommends mixing the insecticide Bifen with a "spreader sticker" for the biggest punch.
If the bugs are ruining your vegetable patch or swarming through your orchard, U-spray recommends Permethrin, which lasts 1-2 weeks but is safe for humans, or Permethrin dust, which lasts 2-4 weeks without rain.
Have a 30-year mortgage on your house? Apply Bifen granules around trees and shrubs on at least three occasions over the summer and you stand a good chance of killing future cicadas too.
Or grab a tennis racket: