M.Benton, Maryland: Other than eating of the trees and noise making, do they affect people in any way?
Roylance: Cicadas have no chewing mouth parts, can't bite or sting. They're
non-toxic and affect only those people with irrational fears of insects, or
a bad reaction to cicadas that blunder into their cars while driving.
Barbara Steele, Parkville: What is the range of this cicada experience? Do
they get these in Asia, Europe, Australia?
Roylance: There are cicadas all over the world, but only eastern North
America has the long-lived periodical cicadas that emerge every 13 or 17
years. This year's emergence of Brood X is the largest in the world,
extending across parts of 16 states from New Jersey to Tennessee.
Richard Veilleux, Canterbury, Conn.: I know there will be fewer cicadas
downtown, but I'm curious how one defines "fewer." I'm coming into town
Memorial Day weekend along with 25,000 of my closest friends for the NCAA
lacrosse tournament, and we wonder whether we should have screen tents to
save the tailgating parties.
Roylance: Cicadas shouldn't be a problem out on the tarmac at M&T Bank
Kathy, Lockland, Ohio: Do they get in your mouth?
Roylance: Only after they've been properly battered and fried.
DeShanda L. Eason, Randallstown: It seems that many people agree that they
are not harmful, however, they affect many peoples' activities of daily
living and therefore the issue should be taken seriously and methods aimed
at reducing/maintaining the outbreak/infestations and/or swarm of these
insects should be developed.
Roylance: Why stamp out an infrequent natural phenomenon that aerates our
soils, provides a bonanza for birds and squirrels and compost for the
gardens? Our human instinct to "control" nature is not always well-advised.
Carol, Fallston: My home in Harford County was only 3 years old the
last time the cicadas came. We did not have them in our neighborhood. Will
we escape again?
Roylance: If there were no adults there 17 years ago, there were no eggs
laid, and no nymphs hatched to return in 2004. It takes a long time for
cicadas to colonize new territory.
Monica, Columbia: Although I was 8 years old during the last cicada
invasion, I have not forgotten our little buggy friends because they
smelled so bad. Will Brood X stink as well?
Roylance: Cicadas have not changed much since the last Ice Age. When they
die, they decompose and stink up the joint.
Kurt Kroncke, Baltimore: Will there be cicadas in all parts of Maryland?
Roylance: No. Western Garrett County, southern Maryland and most of the
Eastern Shore are outside Brood X's territory.
Mildred, Baltimore: Do cicadas fly into houses through the chimney? Do we
need nets over our chimneys? Someone told me to cover my chimney.
Roylance: Not likely, unless they die and fall in. They're trying to find
each other in the treetops, so your chimney is the last place they want to
Susan Lipinski, Bel Air: On May 30, will the cicada numbers on Long Island,
N.Y., be as bad as predicted for Baltimore. Why are some locations worse
Roylance: Brood X doesn't extend past New Jersey. But Brood XIV
will be emerging on Long Island in 2008.