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The Sound of Science
WNIJ and NIU STEAM are partnering to create “The Sound of Science,” a weekly series explaining important science, technology, engineering and math concepts using sound. The feature will air at 1:04 p.m. Fridays as a lead-in to Science Friday.The Sound of Science is made possible by Ken Spears Construction

The Sound of Science - 'Cicadas'

Hunman - stock.adobe.com
The Sound of Science

NIU STEAM stop by to bug us about the emerging cicada broods.

Jasmine: Hi, I'm Jasmine.

Chrissy: I'm Chrissy.

Jasmine: We're from NIU STEAM and...

Chrissy: You're listening to The Sound of Science on WNIJ. In the next coming weeks, the quiet you enjoy while drinking your morning coffee or during your afternoon walk will be accompanied by the loud buzzing of the thumb-sized, clear-winged, cicada.

Jasmine: Cicadas aren't unusual, as we typically see the 2-5 year brood annually each summer. They emerge from the ground in less synchronized pattern and therefore don't create much news. The broods that emerge every 13 and 17 years are the species of cicadas that we notice in a big way. In a year of "devil comets" and solar eclipses, why wouldn't we expect to see a cicada event that only occurs every 221 years?

Chrissy: This year, the 13-year and 17-year broods are appearing simultaneously and will affect the South-Eastern States as well as the Midwest. Scientists are expecting trillions of cicadas to climb out of their nymphal burrows, where they have been living/feeding on tree and plant roots.

Jasmine: The cicadas will typically climb trees within their first few days above ground, molt, and develop wings. The male cicadas will then begin to attract mates with their characteristic buzz. The females will lay their eggs in tree twigs, where the nymphs will hatch, fall to the ground, and then burrow back into the soil. Once their evolutionary duty is done, adult cicadas will usually continue to be seen for 3-4 additional weeks.

Chrissy: Cicadas are pretty harmless (as they do not bite or sting) and while we aren't encouraging it, can be eaten without much of an adverse reaction. In fact, if you are the adventurous type, swing by New Orleans for some fried cicadas with a mustard and soy dipping sauce or try locally-sourced cicada tacos in Leesburg, Virginia. They also don't pose a threat to pets or plant life.

Jasmine: You have been listening to The Sound of Science on WNIJ, where you learn something new every day.

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