Why do 17-year cicadas come out more often than every 17 years?

By: Laurie L. Dove

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Author's Note: Why do 17-year cicadas come out more often than every 17 years?

Biblical plagues come to mind. Native Americans thought they were evil. Early colonists believed a plague had been visited upon them. And in 2013, parts of the East Coast spent much of spring under a sky of buzzing insects. Welcome to the 17th year in the lifespan of periodical cicadas. Emerging by the millions, these large, clumsily flying insects have made their mark upon humans. Including me. The trill of the male cicada, whether the periodical version of the more common annual cicada, is the siren song of summer -- at least in my part of the country.

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