911 Calls About Ear-Splitting Cicada Eruption Are Bugging Authorities

The Four Percent


As millions of “chirping” cicadas emerged this summer, authorities in one Georgia county issued a desperate plea: Don’t call 911 about the insects!

Yes, there are a ton of the “Brood X” emergents, and yes, they make a piercing sound that can sound like an alarm. They’re the loudest insects on the planet and the males meld their calls to create an overwhelming, amplified chorus that captures the attention of females.

But please don’t dial 911 to alert authorities about them.

“Union County E911 is receiving multiple 911 calls for ‘alarms’ in the neighborhood. More than likely these ‘alarms’ are not alarms at all but a bug, Brood X,” the Union County Fire/Rescue noted on Facebook. “If you think you hear an alarm, ensure that it is an alarm and determine the location before contacting authorities.”

The cicadas can be so loud — creating a din measuring as high as 120 decibels (the equivalent of a chainsaw) — that they can cause hearing loss, but they are generally harmless. They can’t “sting or bite,” officials noted on Facebook.

Formally known as periodical cicadas, or Magicicada, the insects spend 13 to 17 years beneath the ground in a slow period of maturation during which time they feed on the roots of plants and trees. The cicadas emerge once the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees. They usually begin to appear in mid-May and stick around through June. 

The last time Brood X made an appearance was in 2004. 


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