A rare natural spectacle is about to occur: a trillion cicadas are flooding the USA, their deafening concert breaking the silence. These insects, which spend years underground, now dominate the landscape.

A rare phenomenon is about to occur: In the United States, naturalists and the public are preparing for a gigantic cicada invasion. More than a trillion of these insects are expected to break the silence in the coming weeks and start a deafening concert. The red eyes of these creatures are a sign of their special way of life – they spend most of their lives underground, only to emerge in large numbers and dominate the landscape for a short time. According to Carolyn Kaster from the AP news agency, parts of the USA will become the scene of this natural spectacle. The males of the genus Magicicada chirp at a volume comparable to that of a lawnmower.

Experts like Floyd Shockley, an entomologist at the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History in Washington, warn about the level of noise the cicadas produce. He recommends earplugs in areas with high cicada concentrations to prevent hearing damage. In such areas the volume can reach up to 110 decibels – similar to the noise of an aircraft turbine. This loudness is used by males to attract females – an effective but challenging method of finding a mate for humans.

The double invasion the U.S. is experiencing this year is a particularly rare event, entomologists say. Two large swarms, Brood XIX and Brood XIII, are active at the same time, last observed in 1803. This encounter is unique and will never be experienced a second time by anyone alive today. The cicadas in these swarms have spent 13 or 17 years underground and are now waiting to experience their short but impressive phase above the ground.

Not only for researchers, but also for the residents of the affected US states, the number of cicadas is hard to believe. They mainly populate forest areas and create an impressive natural spectacle there. Despite the animals’ enormous numbers, they are not a threat to agriculture. Instead, they play an important role in the ecosystem by serving as a source of nutrients for the soil after their death.

Although the cicadas populate millions of trees and develop an impressive volume, they pose no threat to vegetation. They feed on plant juices without causing any damage. With their death, the cicadas contribute to soil enrichment and serve as a food source for many animals. Reproduction takes place in the treetops, where the females lay their eggs and prepare the next generation, which will only appear again years later.