While much of the east coast will be forced to deal with an annoying swarm of periodical cicadas next month, local officials said that they don't expect the small, noisy insects to make a significant impact in McDuffie County.
"This year... (they) don't quite come down as far as us," said County Extension Officer Frank Watson. "That's not to say we won't have a few, but it won't be the kind where there's so many of them as soon as you go outside that's all you can hear is that buzzing because there's billions of them everywhere."
Known as Brood X, this specific group of cicadas appears once every 17 years in states up and down the east coast. Experts predict that some northern parts of Georgia will be visited by the harmless pests, which come out of the ground to mate, only to return to the ground a few weeks later. While above ground, their high-pitched mating call can become a nuisance. The good news, said Regional Supervisor of Game Management Vic VanSant, is that they don't tend to gather on buildings or cars -- only trees, grass and sometimes water.
While McDuffie County may miss out on Brood X, it is hit by another species of periodical cicadas -- one that appears every 13 years and last surfaced in 1998.
"In the far south where we are, they tend to be a 13-year species. We have cicada outbreaks but these periodical ones come in May, and they're totally different from the ones you have in the summertime that you have in July and Augusta, and you have those every year," said Mr. VanSant.
Mr. VanSant added that there isn't much of a difference between the 13- and 17-year periodical cicada, despite the fact that they're a different species altogether. What they do share, however, is their ability to be disruptive.
"When those 13 and 17-year ones hatch, they're always real noticeable unless there's something really off about the weather," said Mr. VanSant. "They'll be all over the place, out in water, in the yard."