There’s a good chance that in the past few weeks that you’ve heard mention somewhere of the 2021 Brood X cicadas. For the past 17 years, they’ve been content underground, but this is the year of their periodical resurgence; as soon as the soil warms to 64 degrees Fahrenheit, billions of cicadas will make their way through the ground in swarms.
Where is the reappearance supposed to occur? Should you be worried about Brood X?
Here’s everything you need to know about the Brood X cicada resurgence:
What is Brood X?
The Brood X (10) cicadas differ slightly from the usual cicada species that we may see annually. Orange-eyed and black bodied, these cicadas resurface in 17-year periods. Although there are about 15 other broods of periodically reappearing cicadas, Brood X has both the most significant concentration and range. The density of these cicada swarms is projected to be astronomical at about 1.5million per acre.
Where is the Brood X resurgence occurring?
Although scientists pinpoint Maryland as a hotspot for the emergence, the brood is also expected throughout the midwest, namely Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia.
Within Michigan, the cicadas are projected to stay in the southern part of the state; only a few counties will observe Brood X. In the 1987 brood, they mapped them to remain within Lenawee, Livingston, and Oakland Counties. Scientists are expecting them to follow a similar trajectory this spring. They are not likely to travel much farther north than Ann Arbor or farther west than Hillsdale County.
What can I expect from the 2021 cicada resurgence?
Primarily active at dawn and dusk, their time above ground will be prioritized for mating and laying eggs. Adult cicadas typically die after reproduction. The nymphs will hatch out of their eggs, fall to the ground, and go about digging into a tree root and back underground, where the next 17-year cycle begins. The whole process of mating, egg-laying, and hatching can be estimated to last about six weeks.
We can expect the next Brood X resurgence in the spring and summer of 2038.
Should I be worried about Brood X?
This significant number of cicadas do not pose a threat to humans. In some locations, they may only be noticeable through the great flocks of birds that will gather to eat the cicadas. In hotspots, they may pose an annoyance to outdoor activities (dining, receptions, etc.,) but summer plans will hopefully carry on regardless.
The greatest threat will be to trees. As the females cover trees with eggs, this creates a phenomenon called ‘flagging’, which cuts off the tree’s circulatory system, causing the branches to wilt or die.
Because of this phenomenon, homeowners should not plant saplings until July, when the local cicadas have died, and the threat of flagging has passed. Farmers and homeowners with vulnerable plants/saplings can take protective action against the Brood X cicadas by covering plants with thin branches or protective netting. Nets with one-centimeter gaps are ideal for protecting vulnerable plants so that pollinators will still get through, but giant female cicadas will not.
Should I use pesticides to prevent Brood X?
In most cases, using pesticides to prevent Brood X is not advised. These cicadas will only be around for a few weeks and in this case, using pesticides is not an ideal precaution. In addition to the cost, they can also be harmful to other seasonal bugs, to the birds will eat the Brood X cicadas as their main diet within these weeks, and perhaps even to the house animals that may snatch a cicada here and there.
It is essential to keep in mind that this is a regular, scientific occurrence; the cicadas will only be present for a short time and are nothing to worry about in the long term.
Are you struggling with summer insects or infestations?
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