After 17 Years, the Brood X Cicadas Are Emerging throughout the Eastern U.S.

periodical cicada on a leaf

After 17 years living underground feeding on sap from plants and trees, billions of Brood X (aka Brood 10 and the Great Eastern Brood) cicadas are beginning to emerge throughout more than a dozen states in the eastern U.S. The Brood X cicadas are a type of periodical cicadas that make an appearance every 17 years. Continue reading to learn more about what to expect when these insects are free from the ground.

What Are Periodical Cicadas?

Periodical cicadas are groups of cicadas that remain in the ground for most of their life, only to emerge after either 13 or 17 years to mate and die. The Brood X cicadas are one of the best-known periodicals because of their large geographic spread across 15 different states and Washington D.C.

There are seven species of periodical cicadas in North America: magicicada septendecim, magicicada septendecula, magicicada neotredecim, magicicada tredecula, magicicada cassinii, magicicada tredecim, and magicicada tredecassini.

Where Will These Cicadas Emerge?

So far Brood X cicadas have already come out in several eastern states, but, by June, billions more are expected.

All 15 states that are expecting or already experiencing the emergence of Brood X cicadas include:

  • Delaware
  • Georgia
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Maryland
  • Michigan
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Carolina
  • Ohio
  • Pennsylvania
  • Tennessee
  • Virginia
  • West Virginia
  • Washington D.C.

Check out this map of active periodical cicada broods here.

Why Do Cicadas Stay Underground for 17 Years?

Scientists believe that cicadas remain in the ground to protect themselves against predators. Because these insects are so loud, they easily attract predators such as squirrels, dogs, birds, and more.

What Happens When Periodical Cicadas Come out of the Ground?

When the billions of Brood X cicadas emerge from the ground, you can expect to see them around for about 4-6 weeks. During this period of time, the adult cicadas will fly around, mate, lay their eggs in trees, and then die at the end. Around when the adult cicadas die, their young will hatch, fall to the ground, burrow themselves in the soil, and then wait another 17 years before emerging as adults.

Why Do Cicadas Emerge in Such Large Swarms?

Cicadas emerge in swarms of millions or billions in order to protect themselves against predators. They implement a survival tactic known as predator satiation. By emerging in giant swarms, the majority of cicadas are protected and able to mate without being eaten by predators.

Why Are Cicadas So Loud?

Cicadas are the loudest insects on earth, making an impressive amount of noise when above ground. In fact, the song of the male cicada can often reach as high as 100 decibels. The buzzing and clicking sounds you will constantly hear from these insects are actually the males’ mating call.

Are Cicadas Dangerous?

No. While most people don’t like the idea of encountering millions of insects on their trips outside of the house, cicadas are little more than a nuisance. These insects do not bite or sting, so you will be safe around them.

Is My Garden in Danger?

While cicadas will probably be seen crawling on your plants, they won’t damage them. The only things in your garden that might be in danger are small trees. If you’ve got small trees with a trunk diameter of 2 inches or less, it is likely that they will not survive the damage caused by cicadas. During the 6 weeks that they are above ground, cicadas create small slits in trees to lay their eggs. This damage is easier for large trees to withstand, but smaller trees are at risk. If you are planning on planting a new tree, it is best to wait until these insects are gone.

What Happens If My Dog Eats Cicadas?

Cicadas are extremely noisy and emerge by the millions, which means your dog will certainly encounter them and have a field day. While it is ok for your dog to snack on a couple of cicadas, we recommend making sure they don’t have too many. Overindulging in this rare treat can result in gastrointestinal problems for your poor pup because cicadas have a tough exoskeleton that can be difficult to digest.

Possible side effects of eating too many cicadas include:

  • Stomach aches
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Lethargy
  • Rare allergic reactions

If you’ve got a dog that likes to eat cicadas like potato chips, one after the other, you should limit their exposure to these insects. Some homeowners choose to put a muzzle on their dogs when they go outside to ensure they don’t eat too many cicadas.

Call Enviro-Tech® Pest Services to Learn More

If you have any other questions about what to expect when the Brood X cicadas appear in your area, turn to the most trusted pest control team around. Enviro-Tech® Pest Services knows everything there is to know about these insects and can help you better prepare for them.

Our services include:

For any questions, please reach out to Enviro-Tech® Pest Services at (800) 836-3089 or online.