CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The cicadas are nowhere to be seen in Charlottesville. An insect specialist at Virginia Tech says while they don’t know for sure, it most likely has to do with human activity and development.
“So, we think that those populations have died out, and the thing about cicadas, periodical cicadas, is that they’re very susceptible to development, so that’s when you got roads built for housing developments and the trees are cleared that take up space,” said Eric Day, an entomologist.
Cicadas feed on the roots of trees starting from the time their eggs are laid there. That tree has to be there for 17 years, undisturbed, for the cicadas to finally emerge.
“So, if you have any interruption that was cleared to a subdivision or something like that, then those trees are removed, you know if trees are replanted in that subdivision, then that has interrupted the cycle,” said Day.
If you take a drive up to Northern Virginia, you’ll be sure to hear the cicadas. That’s because cicada broods are synchronized emergences that are geographically distinct.
“That’s kind of one of the things you see about cicadas with development and clearing of land populations can be spotty so you can go through areas without cicadas and you go through areas where they’re just outrageous,” Day said.