By now you’ve probably heard about the upcoming cicada frenzy that will soon be descending upon the East Coast, but you might not be sure where to see these fascinating insects for yourself in New York. The crooning bugs will be emerging soon for the first time since 1996, but according to experts, you’ll only be able to see them in one borough of NYC. If you’re hoping to catch a glimpse (and a live impromptu bug concert), read on for the details on where you might be able to spot one.
According to Ed Johnson, director of science at the Staten Island Museum, there is only one borough in NYC where New Yorkers will be able to see cicadas. “You have to come to Staten Island–it’s the only borough that will see cicadas. Even then they won’t be everywhere. Cicadas have what you call a patchy distribution, with lots in one area not a lot in others,” he told the Wall Street Journal. He recommends High Rock or LaTourette Park as some possible cicada-watching locations.
Operating on a 17-year cycle, the last cicada wave, also called the “Brood II”, last made an appearance in 1996, and before that in 1979. Don’t be too alarmed by the appearance of this relatively unseen insect. The cicada is relatively harmless, lays its eggs inside tree branches and doesn’t have a mouth for biting or stinging. Humans need not worry.
No one knows for sure why these insects have the longest life cycle of any other insect but scientists suspect it all comes down to survival. The cicada evolved in such a way to avoid being eaten by bigger animals like cats, dogs, fish, frogs, and even people, which still take a liking to them once they do emerge. Unfortunately, periodical cicada breeds are decreasing each cycle. Scientists suspect that their shrinking over the years is due to climate change and land development.