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Biology

As cicadas emerge four years early, scientists wonder if climate change is providing a nudge

As cicadas emerge four years early, scientists wonder if climate change is providing a nudge

Cicadas overwhelm tree branches across Maryland once every 17 years, like clockwork. But something — some suspect climate change — could be sounding their alarm clocks four years early.

In recent days, the red-eyed, nugget-shaped insects have been spotted crawling out from beneath trees from Northern Virginia to Bel Air in large — though not overwhelming — numbers.

The phenomenon is confusing entomologists who weren't expecting to see many of the screeching insects in the region until 2021.

Small numbers of cicadas can sometimes grow fast enough to emerge four years early. But there have been a thousand reports of cicadas up and down the Interstate 95 corridor in just...

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