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It’s the year of cicadas that can ‘drown out a chainsaw’

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A batch, or brood of cicadas, that have spent 17 years underground will make themselves heard in the northwest part of the state this month. Another group will surface in southeast Missouri after a 13 year subterranean existence.

There are periodical cicadas and there are annual cicadas. Periodical cicadas, according to the Missouri Department of Conservation, emerge every 13 or 17 years, depending on the brood. These periodical cicadas are the ones Missouri will see in 2015.

Periodical cicadas generally start emerging in May and remain above ground through most of June, while annual cicadas emerge from the ground every year and make their droning noise during the heat of the summer.

Other differences: Annual cicadas have dark colored eyes, with brown, green and white bodies. Periodical cicadas have red eyes and a black body with orange markings.

Another fun fact about cicadas from the Missouri Dept. of Conservation:

Although periodical cicadas are about half the size of an adult pinkie finger, these musical insects can drown out a chainsaw. Male cicadas are the singers. They use a pair of drum-like structures called tymbals to produce their song. The tymbals are located on their abdomens, just behind the last pair of legs. They make sound in a similar way to a plastic soft drink bottle popping back into shape after being compressed.  Cicadas flex the tymbals rapidly making a loud click each time, which creates a high-pitched droning sound.