First in 17 Years, Cicadas Headed for NY


Billions of cicadas are headed to New York City at the end of the month, bringing their noisy calls and ravenous appetite to the Big Apple for the first time since 1996.

Cicada experts say that the insects mysteriously appear out of their underground slumber every 17 years, lay eggs that will create a new generation of cicadas and then die. It will be over in just a few weeks.

“You are going to find them anyplace where old-growth trees haven’t been disturbed for at least 17 years,” said entomologist Craig Gibbs, assistant curator at the Wildlife Conservative Society’s Queens Zoo.

Cicadas come out when the weather hits 64 degrees, every 17 years in the Northeast and every  13 years in the South. The sounds they produce can sound like a motorcycle or overhead train.

Cicada expert Ed Johnson said he expects Staten Island to have the largest infestation but all five boroughs will see some cicadas.

“Their little … clocks are ticking,” Johnson said.

Cicadas do not carry diseases and are harmless to humans.