CICADAPOCALYPSE: Staten Island is ‘ground zero’ in 17-year cicada invasion

Posted at 7:58 PM, May 22, 2013
and last updated 2013-05-22 20:13:27-04

I’ve had difficult assignments in the past.

This one was right up there.

Millions of these guys. You know, for the folks that live here on Staten Island, they’re bracing for their next major invasion.

I gotta tell you something. These guys can be extremely scary, alright? They haven’t been around – as you just mentioned – in 17 years, but these bug-eyed creeps are out in force here on Staten Island.

They call themselves — cicadas.


“I’m gonna move out. I’m going to the West Coast,” a resident told me, laughing

Some people are so grossed out by the sight of thousands of winged insects lining the sidewalks, telephone poles and trees that they now walk in the street.

And if you live here in Staten Island, well, you better get used to it because you’re about to be hit with millions of cicadas, who according to experts are harmless.

It’s one of nature’s great mysterious miracles: every 17 years the cicadas emerge from the earth. They lose their shells and then they mate. The males congregate in thousands at different wooded areas and they start to call the females – a sometimes deafening chirp.

After a few weeks – normally ending in the middle of June – the creatures all die off but their offspring live and they return to their original hideout – the ground. That is, until another 17 years, when they storm back to life.

“Something that’s been happening my whole lifetime. Every 17 years they come out, make a little bit of a mess and an annoyance but they don’t bother me,” a not-too-concerned resident said.

But the kids are scared, right?

“Yes because they say ‘Oh it’s a giant bug!’ They think it’s gonna eat them or something. Meanwhile, if they step on it, it’s dead, so what’s the big deal,” the woman said.

I can tell you, all the experts I spoke to say Staten Island is actually ground zero so you can expect millions more – this is just the beginning of this entire season.

But if you wanna learn more about the cicada, all you have to do is take the Staten Island Ferry over here, it’s a lovely ride, you get to pass the Statue of Liberty and you come to the Staten Island Museum.

They have the second largest cicada collection in the world. It’s very interesting. My cameramen and I had a wonderful tour.

And you know, these guys are all over the place as you saw. So what can I say?

Cicadas are here and I’m on the case.


Mike Sheehan is covering this cicada case from every angle.