Cicada Sighting on Upper West Side Has New Yorkers Bracing for Bug Invasion

By Elizabeth Barber on May 9, 2013 3:51pm | Updated on May 9, 2013 4:49pm

 The elusive cicadas emerge on a 17-year cycle.
The elusive cicadas emerge on a 17-year cycle.
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Yale

UPPER WEST SIDE — It's about to get biblical. The cicadas are coming.

For the first time since the Clinton Administration, cicadas have begun to crawl out of the ground, stoking panic about a mass bug invasion, West Side Rag reported Wednesday.

Between one and five adult cicadas were spotted around West 108th Street near Central Park on Wednesday, according to WNYC's Radio Lab, which tracks cicada sightings on a "Swarmageddon" map. The news came as a bona fide doomsday for New Yorkers who prefer their sidewalks without the crunchy bodies of the dead bug underfoot and their parks absent its high-pitched drone.

Cicadas, scientifically known as Magicicada Brood II, emerge only every 17 years, though it's not exactly clear why. Temperatures must reach a sustained temperature of 64 degrees at 8 inches below ground before a cicada will wriggle upward.

The cicadas are expected to expand their campaign to seriously bug New Yorkers as temperatures warm. Central Park could be ceded to the critter as early as later this month, according to the Smithsonian.

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