Nightly News | May 18, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: Finally tonight, think of what we've reported on this year. We've had record snows, record tornadoes, record rains, record flooding in 2011 , and it's just May. What'll it be next? All we're missing is locusts. Well, would you believe the cicadas are coming. They've been living underground for 13 years as part of their life cycle, so it makes perfect sense that this will be the year we'll have to deal with them, too. NBC 's Kevin Tibbles reports tonight on the buzz sweeping the American South .
KEVIN TIBBLES reporting: They're playing a little louder in the honky tonks of Nashville these days. Musicians in the Music City have to compete for your ears with a band that hasn't been heard around here for 13 years. They are the cicadas. Those inch-long, red-eyed noise makers that crawl out of the ground, sprout wings, and call for a mate. Frank Hale is an entomologist with the University of Tennessee . You get a gazillion of these things, they make a lot of noise.
Mr. FRANK HALE: That's right . They could probably get up to 100 decibels or so.
TIBBLES: That's a lot.
Mr. HALE: Think of these as little bioacoustic instruments.
TIBBLES: Like guitars.
Mr. HALE: Just like guitars. Her in Music City , they're making a lot of noise, aren't they?
TIBBLES: Yes, they are. It's all part of their genetic makeup. This year's brood, the largest in the world, will awaken from a 13 year slumber and line dance across the better part of 16 states.
Mr. HALE: Go forth and multiply.
TIBBLES: The perfectly harmless bugs have caused quite a flap on Twitter , and on YouTube some brave souls are eating them. Look at that. After such a long wait, why not celebrate with a cicada party.
Mr. JOEL ANDERSON (Anderson Design Group): We've got cicada swatters. We had earplugs that we sold out of immediately, because they get pretty loud. We have beer mugs, coffee mugs, magnets, postcards, posters.
TIBBLES: Eight-year-old Thea Wills is a cicada hunter.
Miss THEA WILLS: Get off there cicada.
TIBBLES: You can tell she likes them by her necklace, and by the dozens she's got in her little box. What are they doing?
Miss WILLS: Just making a lot of noise.
TIBBLES: And within five weeks they will sing, they will mate, and they will die. Now, that even sounds like a country and western song. Kevin Tibbles, NBC News, Nashville.