The bugs, each one an inch-long with estimates suggesting there could be up to 30billion of them, are set to emerge with the sole purpose of reproducing before retreating back into their underground hives.
Although scientists claim many people will not even notice they are there, their practice of ‘singing’ to attract a mate can be so loud ‘you don’t hear planes flying overhead’, entomologist Gene Kritsky remarked.
In a 2004 study the sound was measured at up to 94 decibels, or the same level as a lorry passing on a country road as you walk along the pavement.
However, those in the affected areas – most of the east coast of the US, between Connecticut and North Carolina – shouldn’t worry too much about what’s being dubbed ‘Brood II’ by scientists.
Apparently they don’t ‘suck blood or zombify people’ – how reassuring.
The magicicada insects – so named for their ‘magic’ red eyes – are seen only in the eastern half of the United States, and live for nearly two decades on the proteins in tree roots before emerging above ground.
The latest group are expected to number around 1.5million bugs per acre, although residents in cities could see very few – if any – as they tend to congregate in rural areas.
‘There will be some places where it’s wall-to-wall cicadas,’ said University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp.
The infestation, which has been formulating underground since 1996, will last for only a few weeks before the offspring of the adult cicadas return underground, not to return until 2030.
‘It’s just an amazing accomplishment,’ Illinois entomologist May Berenbaum says. ‘How can anyone not be impressed?’
Or a little bit scared.