Georgia county begs people to stop calling 911 about cicadas

UNION COUNTY, Ga. — We’ve been warning you for weeks: A massive swarm of cicadas are emerging from their dormant states and creating a lot of noise.

Channel 2′s Berndt Petersen was in Union County, one of the areas in Georgia where Brood X is happening. Emergency officials there are asking people to stop calling 911 about the loud noise the cicadas make, which sounds like an alarm.

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“Union County E911 is receiving multiple 911 calls for “alarms” in the neighborhood. More than likely these “alarms” are not alarms at all but a bug, Brood X,” the Union County Fire/Rescue & EMA wrote on Facebook.

The last time Brood X made an appearance was in 2004. The cicadas come out once soil reaches 64 degrees.

They typically begin to emerge in mid-May and will stick around through June. Their calls can approach 100 decibels. That’s the same intensity as a lawn mower.


“It is often difficult to pinpoint where the sound is coming from and can sound like a vehicle or home alarm system,” Union County officials said.

Petersen talked to the Howells family, who were trying to enjoy a picnic, but it was hard to ignore all the noise.

“It’s loud at my house,” Robin Howells said. “I mean, it is LOUD!”

Howells said she remembers the last time the cicadas came 17 years ago.

“It’s deafening. Whether you’re in the yard, on the deck -- upper or lower -- you just have to scream above them,” Howells said.

Petersen also talked to Jammie Murphy with the local UGA extension office. She said the cicadas are most active from dawn until dusk, which is when most of the 911 calls have come in to the fire department.

“It’s very possible for somebody to mistake it for a fire alarm or a house alarm going off,” Murphy said.

The cicadas don’t sting or bite, but folks in north Georgia may see them swarm on a tree, as they feed on sap.

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Union County E911 is receiving multiple 911 calls for “alarms” in the neighborhood. More than likely these “alarms” are...

Posted by Union County Fire/Rescue & EMA on Saturday, May 22, 2021
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