Trillions Of Cicadas Start To Emerge After 17 Years Underground, Expected To Swamp 15 States
RESON, VA - MAY 16: A newly emerged adult cicada suns itself on a leaf May 16, 2004 in Reston, Virginia. After 17-years living below ground, billions of cicadas belonging to Brood X are beginning to emerge across much of the eastern United States. The cicadas shed their larval skin, spread their wings, and fly out to mate, making a tremendous noise in the process.
Richard Ellis/Getty Images

As The Daily Wire reported in January, “In one of nature’s mysteries, 15 states will soon witness the reemergence of Brood X — or the Great Eastern Brood — of periodical cicadas. These ‘large, winged, kind of scary-looking but mostly harmless flying insects known for their almost deafening buzz’ emerge in-unison every 17 years.”

In May, Brood X is expected to emerge within days, with trillions of cicadas due to appear across 15 states. They’re already emerging in “mass numbers” in Tennessee and North Carolina, according to The Associated Press.

“Though there are numerous broods of cicadas, Brood X comes out in the largest numbers,” reported The Hill, adding that “The brood will emerge in large quantities, covering surfaces in mass and emitting the sounds of a nonstop lawnmower.”

Brood X is expected to appear in Delaware, District of Columbia, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Ohio, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.

University of Maryland entomologist Michael Raupp described the lifecycle of the Brood X cicadas.

“You’ve got a creature that spends 17 years in a Covid-like existence, isolated underground sucking on plant sap, right? In the 17th year these teenagers are going to come out of the earth by the billions if not trillions,” Raupp said, according to The Guardian. “They’re going to try to best everything on the planet that wants to eat them during this critical period of the nighttime when they’re just trying to grow up, they’re just trying to be adults, shed that skin, get their wings, go up into the treetops, escape their predators.”

“Once in the treetops, hey, it’s all going to be about romance. It’s only the males that sing. It’s going to be a big boy band up there as the males try to woo those females, try to convince that special someone that she should be the mother of his nymphs. He’s going to perform, sing songs,” he added. “If she likes it, she’s going to click her wings. They’re going to have some wild sex in the treetop.”

“Then she’s going to move out to the small branches, lay their eggs. Then it’s all going to be over in a matter of weeks. They’re going to tumble down. They’re going to basically fertilize the very plants from which they were spawned. Six weeks later the tiny nymphs are going to tumble 80 feet from the treetops, bounce twice, burrow down into the soil, go back underground for another 17 years,” Raupp concluded.

Periodical cicadas have “black bodies and bold red eyes,” and spend 17 years lying underground in “wingless nymph form,” feeding on sap, waiting for the “right spring day, when soil temperatures reach 64 degrees Fahrenheit,” after which the nymphs emerge from the surface.

The Washington Post also reported earlier this week that cicadas are edible, offering the “best way to catch, cook and snack on them.”

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