U.S. awaits huge, 17-year cicada hatch

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. JESSICA WARE, ASSOCIATE CURATOR OF INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, SAYING: "This is one of the periodical cicadas that comes out in the eastern part of the United States and periodical cicadas either come out every 13 years or every 17 years."

Brace yourself, May is going to be a loud month

A once-every-17-year hatch of periodical cicadas, aka Brood X

is set to occur across the eastern parts of the U.S.

Billions of them have been living off tree roots underground

and will crawl out once the soil reaches a certain temperature

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. JESSICA WARE, ASSOCIATE CURATOR OF INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, SAYING:"Well, it can be tricky to know exactly when Brood X is going to emerge, when a particular brood is going to emerge in a year, but based on what we think the temperature is going to be like and what past years tells us, we think around May 13th."

Male cicadas make a loud, chirping sound

by vibrating a plate called a tymbal located on their abdomens

Scientists say it's a cicada love call meant to attract the female cicadas

(SOUNDBITE) (English) DR. JESSICA WARE, ASSOCIATE CURATOR OF INVERTEBRATE ZOOLOGY, AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY, SAYING:"It's this kind of dance; males are showing that they can call as loud and as long as possible, which means they're probably a good mate. Females are listening; are they calling loud? Are they calling long? And are they calling at the right in the right pattern in the right song that that means that they're the right species for her to mate with. So it's kind of a complicated acoustic dance that they're doing."