Rare cicadas hatch in Moore after 17 years underground

Posted on: 6:35 pm, June 11, 2013, by , updated on: 08:06pm, June 11, 2013

MOORE, Okla. – It’s the sound of summertime you are probably familiar with, that constant buzzing throughout the day.

That’s caused by cicadas but experts say this year’s sounds may be different than in the past.

“It’s a unique song,” Robert Sanders said. “If you hear it up close it’s kind of surreal, it kind of makes waves that go through the tree.”

Robert Sanders is an expert on insects and is tracking a new fleet of cicadas that are now making their way to the City of Moore.

The periodical cicada is emerging in our state after spending 17 years in the ground, hatching and feeding off roots.

Sanders is working with entomologists at the University of Connecticut to gather as much information as they can before the periodical cicadas die.

“They spend 17 years in the ground and then they’re only alive for seven days and then they go away,” Sanders said. “All of these will be gone in a matter of weeks.”

While the periodical cicada is already rare, experts said it is even stranger to see them in this part of the country.

They mainly stick to the East Coast but this year’s hatchlings are showing up in the Midwest.

“They’re smaller, they’re blacker, they’ve got big red eyes,” Tracey Payton Miller said, an entomologist at OSU. “They’re active for a little while, lay their eggs, do their thing and then they’re gone for another 13 or 17 years, just depending.”

Because this is such a unique event, it’s important to find out not only where it’s happening but also where it’s not.

Experts would like to hear from residents on whether or not the insects are present in your area.