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Why are there so many cicadas making noise this summer?

Tuesday - 9/1/2009, 10:19am  ET

Brennan Haselton, WTOP.com

WASHINGTON - For many of us, the sound of a cicada has been associated with the dog days of summer. While it wasn't that long ago the 17-year cycle of cicadas invaded the D.C. area, certain kinds of the insect can be heard every year - especially this summer.

The loud and plentiful amount of cicadas can be attributed to a wet, cool spring and early summer, according to University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp.

"Loosening up the soil makes it real easy for those guys to get out of those subterranean crypts, wiggle up to the surface of the Earth, and come on out and sing," Raupp says. "I don't think I've heard as many annual cicadas as I have heard this year."

That "singing" you hear are males making a mating call to female cicadas.

While the cicadas can be noisy, they shouldn't be feared.

"If one of them should flutter down and land on your leg, I think that's a real bonus," says Raupp.

(Copyright 2009 by WTOP. All rights reserved.)