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Cicadas are set to appear in a “double brood emergence” this year

The bugs will emerge in parts of the U.S. this spring

Written by
Gerrish Lopez

The cicadas are coming! This spring, billions of cicadas will dig their way out of the ground and unleash their deafening buzz on parts of the South and Midwest. Two large broods will emerge at the same time, overlapping in a rare “double brood emergence,” something that hasn’t happened with these two specific broods since 1803. It sounds like a horror movie—and it could be for entomophobes—but the cicadas are ultimately harmless. Here’s what you need to know about the 2024 cicada emergence.

What is the timeline of cicadas?

There are two main broods of periodical cicadas—one that emerges every 17 years and one that emerges every 13 years. These periodical species tend to emerge, after spending time growing underground, in the spring. Annual cicada species tend to emerge each summer around August. Cicadas are lumped into “broods” depending on when they emerge. This year, we will see cicadas from Brood XIX (the 13-year group) and Brood XII (the 17-year group).

What states are affected?

The cicadas are set to emerge in parts of the Midwest and Southeast. Brood XIII will pop up in Northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, eastern Iowa and northwest Indiana. At the same time, Brood XIX is set to emerge in central and southern Illinois, most of Missouri and parts of Kentucky, Tennessee, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana and Arkansas. A map from the University of Connecticut shows the areas that will be affected.

How long will they be around?

Cicadas emerge when the ground temperature 8 inches deep reaches 64 degrees. Because the South tends to warm up faster, cicadas could emerge in those areas in April, while cooler areas might see them starting in mid-May or even June. The cicada life cycle is just a few weeks, but they should be around for about six weeks as the emergence is staggered.

Do cicadas bite or sting?

They may look scary, with their beady red eyes, large wings and incessant buzz, but they are harmless. And there’s good news: the overlapping emergence of these two broods won’t happen again until 2245.

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