Millions Of Cicadas To Emerge In US After Lurking Underground For 17 Years

by : Emily Brown on :
Millions Of Cicadas To Emerge In US After Lurking Underground For 17 YearsJanetandPhil/Douglas Mills/Flickr

Cicadas that have been lurking underground for 17 years are set to ’emerge in massive numbers’ in the US in the coming months. 

The brood of periodical cicadas – known as Brood X, the Great Eastern Brood or the ‘Big Brood’ – is expected to emerge first across the southern US at the beginning of spring before surfacing in states along the East Coast.


The University of Connecticut explains that while Brood X is not the largest of the broods, it is among the largest broods of 17-year cicadas.


Americans can likely expect to see the swarm across 15 states as the ground temperature gets warmer, including Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Georgia and Tennessee. They will also be seen in the District of Columbia.

Speaking to Fox News about the upcoming event, University of Maryland’s professor emeritus Dr. Michael Raupp explained that it is so impressive in part because ‘it happens nowhere else on the planet’.


He said:

We have periodical cicadas. There are cicadas on every continent except Antarctica, but it’s just in the eastern half of the United States that we have the periodical cicadas.

The other piece of this puzzle is that they’re going emerge in massive numbers. And, when I say massive, I mean massive.

CicadaPA Images

Raupp suggested there are going to be as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre; a figure that will ‘translate up and down the coast west of the Mississippi’.


Millions Of Cicadas To Emerge In US After Lurking Underground For 17 Years

published at2 years ago

Raupp continued, ‘People say billions. I tend to hyperbole, but I’m saying there are probably going to be trillions. That’s a whole lot of acres in there, so there are going to be a lot of cicadas up and out of the ground in the middle of May and the end of May this year.’

The last huge appearance of the black insects was in 2004, but a larval Brood X has survived a foot or more below the ground for almost the past two decades. The bugs lived on sap from tree roots, and after having grown into teenagers, the emerging cicadas will now be focused on sex.

According to The Washington Post, per Fox, the brood is made up of three different kinds of species, namely Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula.


Though the influx of cicadas will likely be noisy, Raupp has assured the invasion is largely harmless and that the bugs won’t ‘carry dogs or small children away like in The Wizard of Oz‘.

He added:

It’s just, you know, it’s been a COVID year, a year of social unrest, a year of political unrest. Hey, this is a chance to go out in your backyard and have a National Geographic special happening right there.

It’s going to be birth. It’s going to be death. It’s going to be predation. It’s going to be competition. It’s going to be better than an episode of ‘Outlander.’ There’s going to be romance in the treetops when the big boy band cranks it up.

The adult cicadas die following intercourse, and the next generation will surface in 2038.


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Emily Brown

Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.

Topics: Animals, Bugs, Insects, Now


Fox News and 1 other
  1. Fox News

    Cicadas living underground for past 17 years to emerge in these states this summer

  2. University of Connecticut

    Brood X