A horny insect horde is set to hit the East Coast of America in search of sex after lying dormant for almost two decades.
Billions of cicadas are hatching out of the ground and swarming across the eastern seaboard looking for love. They have been sighted around the East Coast but numbers are expected to swell to biblical proportions in the coming days.
Members of the creepily named Brood II will hatch out of the ground as part of their 17-year breeding cycle.
“There will be some places where it's wall-to-wall cicadas,” said entomologist Mike Raupp from the University of Maryland.
The red-eyed insects are two inches long and look like massive grasshoppers. Although they don't carry any notable diseases and cause no harm to humans or crops, their bark is significantly worse than their bite. A male cicada can produce a sound of about 100 decibels when singing for sex - roughly the same volume as a passing motorbike.
Jim Fredericks, from the National Pest Management Association, said that cicadas sometimes all burst into song at once in a bid to overwhelm predators.
"Bird species, raccoons, possums, foxes and whatever can get their mouths on these things, can eat their fill and have no impact on the population," he said.
Brood II is one of several North American cicada hordes. The 'orrible looking creatures have been dormant for 17 years, buried underground in their juvenile state. Triggered by hormones, they will become adults before having huge orgies in front of horrified East Coast residents.
The men come out first and shed their juvenile nymph form to become fully fledged winged cicadas. They then perform a few songs and do a little dance for the women when they come near, before getting down to the serious business of making babies.
Females then lay 600 eggs, generally on the edge of branches. Larvae hatch from the eggs and chew into nearby foliage, before heading back underground and getting some shuteye for the next 17 years, before erupting for yet another insect sex-fest.
Some Americans are reacting with horror to the swarmopocalypse, as it's been dubbed, while others are quite literally licking their lips.
Here's a few recipes for cicada, which apparently have been eaten all the way through history. Aristotle used to chow down on them back in the 4th century BC and he seemed to have a decent enough career after all that insect-eating. How bad can they really taste?
For a real-time map of cicada sightings, click here. ®