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The Return of Brood X

After 17 Years, the Cicadas Are Coming


17-Year Cicadas Emerge Across Eastern US

17-Year Cicadas Invade Northeast & Midwest

USDA Agricultural Research Service
Updated June 30, 2013
They're back... After a 17-year wait, billions of large, noisy, winged, red-eyed insects known as periodical cicadas will overrun large sections of the eastern United States. The first sign of the cicada emergence will be little mounds or mud turrets that look like miniature volcanoes around the bases of trees. The insects emerge soon after. Also called the 17-year Locust (a misnomer - locusts are actually in the grasshopper family), the periodical cicada requires 17 years to complete its life cycle.

When and Where?
The large cicada outbreak begins around the third week in May in parts of Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey, western North Carolina, Kentucky, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio, Indiana and southern Michigan. They're expected to be especially prevalent in the DC Capital Region. The cicada activity will peak between mid-May and mid-June, and the insects will die off about four weeks after first emerging.

What's the Big Deal?
Often confused with their annual cousins, the Annual or Dogday Cicadas we hear every year around late July and August, Periodical Cicadas emerge in much larger numbers. Literally appearing by the trillions, expect the periodical cicadas to overrun many yards, pelt windows, fly into people, clog storm drains and basically wreak buggy havoc.

Will They Hurt Me?
Although cicadas may give many people the creeps, the bugs won't sting or bite. They may cause vomiting or constipation in dogs, cats and other animals who find the cicadas tasty and injest too many, however.

What Can I Do to Prevent Landscape Damage?
Although cicadas rarely cause major damage to plants, they may harm young or newly-planted hardwood and fruit trees, as the female cicadas make small incisions near the tips of tree branches, where they lay eggs. The branch beyond the incisions often dies.

What's Brood X?
The 17-year cicada (Magicicada sp.) is the largest of the various cicada populations, so it is referred to as Brood X, or the Big Brood. Other cicada broods have different cycles, and are not as intensely populated.

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