Annual cicadas return to York County

Christopher Dornblaser

It's that time of year for Yorkers to hear a familiar sound again — cicadas.

According to officials, the cicadas, known as "annual cicadas," come out around this time every year and don't last long.

Kelsey Frey, a naturalist at Nixon County Park, said the lifespan for cicadas is less than a month. She said they hatch around this time of year and then search and find a mate.

A cicada clings to its exoskeleton, which clings to another that clings to a tree branch in Springettsbury Township, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016.

“They’re are calling just like frogs,” she said.

Gavin Smith, assistant park manager for Gifford Pinchot State Park, said the cicadas come out in the morning and make noise throughout the day.

Cicada exoskeletons line branches and vines in Springettsbury Township, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016.

"It can be deafening," he said.

After that, they die.

The exoskeleton of a cicada remains in Springettsbury Township.

Frey said Nixon Park hasn't seen an influx of cicadas, but some years there is a resurgence of ones called "periodic cicadas."

Those have 13- or 17-year life cycles during which they live underground and feed off tree nutrients before coming up. In York County, Frey said, periodic cicadas typically are orange, whereas the annual ones are typically green.

A cicada sheds its exoskeleton in Springettsbury Township, Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2016.

She said periodic cicadas could potentially appear in smaller areas throughout the county, but it isn't likely that they would appear in residential areas because they need a lot of trees to sustain their lives for so long.

Smith said that while park visitors could definitely hear the cicadas, they present no danger to people.

— Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser.