Maybe you've seen the headlines: soon, hundreds of millions of cicadas will emerge after 17 years of living underground and swarm cities all over the eastern United States.

That is certainly true, but a University of Alabama expert says the pending plague of periodical cicadas that has been dominating the news cycle won't be a problem in Tuscaloosa -- at least, not yet.

Dr. John Abbott, the director of museum research and collections at the University, said the 2020 brood of periodical cicadas will infest Virginia, West Virginia and North Carolina.

“The numbers we’re talking about are millions of periodical cicadas in the range of about 1.5 million per acre,” Abbot said.  “I’m sure some people will equate their emergence to an apocalyptic plague, unfortunately, but it is what it is.”

The good news is that periodical cicadas are not expected in Tuscaloosa and the rest of West Alabama until 2024, so don't stock up on earplugs to drown out the cacophony that hundreds of millions of chirping cicadas will make just yet.

Of course, we'll still have to contend with hundreds of thousands of the more common annual cicadas this summer, but at least the Druid City will not be completely overrun by a red-eyed and black-bodied horde of the periodical species.

Abbott also added that though the unusually loud insects may be considered a nuisance, they do not pose a danger to people or to vegetation.

Want to see what the emergence of periodical cicadas looks like? Check out this video from Planet Earth below.

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