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A Double Emergence of Cicadas: The First in Over 200 Years

This year, two groups (broods) of cicadas will emerge from underground, resulting in billions of cicadas appearing throughout the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States. Brood XIX and brood XIII are the two red-eye flying cicada groups that will be seen this year. This double emergence hasn’t happened since 1803, and won’t happen again until 2245. 

Brood XIX has a 13-year life cycle and brood XIII has a 17-year life cycle. While each group can emerge at the same time occasionally, it’s rare for both to have a coinciding cycle, happening once about every 221 years. The goal of both groups is to mate and lay eggs. This will occur in April and the two groups will overlap in Indiana and Illinois. 

Female cicadas lay eggs in trees, which then fall to the ground and burrow. After burrowing, they wait 13 or 17 years to emerge. It makes cicadas the longest life cycle of all insects. Broods will emerge when it reaches 64° F eight inches underground, which usually occurs by warm rain. Once they are above ground, their life span lasts about four to six weeks. Cicadas that emerge every 13 or 17 years are known as periodic cicadas. However, there are annual cicadas that emerge every year. 

Cicadas emerge in large numbers and are known for their high-pitched buzz. This buzz is made by the male cicadas and they usually synchronize together. It’s used to establish territory and attract female cicadas, and it can reach up to 100 decibels. It is equal to the sound of a motorcycle. Both broods emerging this year are known to be the loudest groups.

Cicadas are not harmful to humans and have many benefits to the environment. They are a good source of food for birds and other predators and are good for the soil. The tunnels they make before surfacing create a natural aeration for the dirt and they also provide nutrients for the soil after decomposing. The only thing cicadas may harm are young trees when females lay eggs in them, which can be avoided with mesh or netting. Cicadas do not die with pesticides, either.

The last time Brood XIX emerged was in 2011. The states this group will appear in will be:

  • Alabama

  • Arkansas

  • Georgia

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Kentucky

  • Louisiana

  • Mississippi

  • Missouri

  • North Carolina

  • Oklahoma

  • South Carolina

  • Tennessee

  • Virginia

Brood XIII last emerged in 2007 and will appear in these states:

  • Illinois

  • Indiana

  • Iowa

  • Wisconsin

  • Michigan

The emergence occurring this year will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

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Tags: #USA #USNews #Cicadas #2024News #InsectNews


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