Get us in your inbox

Photograph: Shutterstock

Brood X cicadas are back and ready to take over your summer

Billions of cicadas are about to descend upon 15 American states

Written by
Sarah Medina

Just when we thought the world was returning to some semblance of normal, we heard about Brood X, the somewhat menacing name given to the generation of of cicadas that are about to emerge from underground in the billions this summer. 

The very young or those on the West Coast might be wondering: 'What the hell is a cicada?' Let us break it down for you. Introducing the insect Magicicada cassinii. Cicadas are large (1-2 inches in length) and they're loud (the deafening mating hum can reach up to 100 decibels). A relatively small number of them emerge from the ground in the eastern United States every year, but once every 17 years, a truly massive brood descends upon the mid-Atlantic and Midwest. That phenomenon is named Brood X and it's set to go down this May.

There are a ton of calculators and interactive maps that claim to predict when you can expect the cicadas to make their appearance, but typically it's early to mid-May, when the ground soil reaches 64 degrees. Southern states will be the first to witness the invasion, followed by southern Indiana and Ohio, then Maryland, and later Pennsylvania and New Jersey. This specific brood though has made past appearance as far west as Missouri, as far south as Georgia, as far north as Michigan and as far east as Long Island, New York. In total, 15 different states can expect be infested this summer. 

There's not a lot you can do to avoid the giant mass of cicadas if you live in one of the affected areas — there will be billions of them. But at least take solace in the fact that they'll only be around for five to six weeks ... that is, until they come back with a vengeance in 2038. 

Latest news