Emerging cicadas' cacophony triggers calls to police in South Carolina from confused residents

The emergence of cicadas in South Carolina has caused a disturbance so loud that it prompted uneasy residents to call police for help.

The Newberry County Sheriff's Office said they had several calls Tuesday about a noise in the air that sounded like "a siren, or a whine or a roar." 

"The sound is cicadas," deputies informed residents. On hot, sunny days, the brood's collective sounds can reach the volume of a lawnmower or motorcycle.

"Cicadas are a superfamily of insects that appear each spring," the sheriff's office added. "The nymphs have lived underground for 13-17 years, and now this time they are hatching."


FILE - A drop of water lands on the back of a periodical cicada, a member of Brood X, on June 03, 2021 in Columbia, Maryland. (Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)

Two groups of cicadas, Brood XIX (13-year cycle) and Brood XIII (17-year cycle), are expected to emerge when ground temperatures reach around 65 degrees. 

Brood XIX can be found from southern Iowa to Georgia and South Carolina, while Brood XIII will emerge in communities across the Midwest from northern Iowa to Ohio. 

The emergence is not simultaneous and started in April in southern locales and is expected to begin in June in more northern areas.

"Although to some, the noise is annoying, they pose no danger to humans or pets," Newberry County deputies said. "Unfortunately, it is the sounds of nature."

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