Cicadas 2024: When and where 2 broods will emerge this spring

Cicadas 2024: When and where 2 broods will emerge this spring

This spring and early summer, a spectacular natural phenomenon will unfold across parts of the Midwest and Southeast United States: the synchronous emergence of billions of cicadas. This event, known as a periodical cicada emergence, is a rare occurrence that only happens every 13 or 17 years, depending on the specific brood. But 2024 marks a truly extraordinary occasion – a double emergence!

Brood XIII and Brood XIX

Cicadas are famous for their long lifespans spent underground feeding on tree roots. But unlike most insects, they emerge above ground not annually, but on a remarkably precise prime-numbered schedule – either 13 or 17 years.

This synchronization strategy serves as a defense mechanism against predators – by appearing in such overwhelming numbers, cicadas overwhelm predators and ensure the survival of enough individuals to reproduce.

Brood XIII (17 Years): Primarily found in the Midwest, centered in Illinois but extending into Wisconsin, Ohio, and Iowa. This brood emerged last in 2007 and is due for its grand reappearance in 2024.

Brood XIX (13 Years): The largest periodical cicada brood, Brood XIX inhabits parts of the Midwest and Southeast. This year marks their first emergence since 2011.

The co-emergence of Brood XIII and XIX in 2024 is a truly historic event. Not only will it be the first time these two broods synchronize since 1803, but it will also be the first time all seven named periodical cicada species can be observed as adults in the same year within the United States.

This unique window won't occur again until 2037, making 2024 a prime opportunity for general public and nature enthusiasts alike.

When and Where to Witness the Spectacle in 2024

The exact timing of the cicada emergence depends heavily on soil temperature. Typically, when the soil reaches a consistent temperature around 65°F (18°C), these subterranean nymphs begin their journey to the surface . This usually occurs sometime in late April or early May and can last for 2-3 weeks, with peak emergence concentrated within a shorter timeframe.

Expected emergence window and affected regions:

Timing: Late April to Early June, with peak emergence within a 2-3 week period centered around mid-May.

Location: A swathe stretching from southern Wisconsin through parts of

  1. Iowa

  2. Illinois

  3. Missouri

  4. Arkansas

  5. Alabama

  6. Georgia

  7. Indiana

  8. Kentucky

  9. Louisiana

  10. Michigan

  11. Mississippi

  12. North Carolina

  13. Oklahoma

  14. South Carolina

  15. Tennessee

  16. Wisconsin

  17. Virginia

For a more detailed and interactive map of the affected regions, refer to resources like the University of Connecticut's Periodical Cicada Information Pages

Cicadas 2024 map

These traps can be used to Control the cicada population in your yard.

  • Cicada Killer Traps

  • Insecticides

  • Landscaping Fabric

  • Mesh netting

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The Mating Ritual and Lifecycle

Once above ground, the adult cicadas undergo a final molt, revealing their hardened exoskeletons and distinctive clear wings. Their primary mission now is to find a mate and reproduce.

Males Take Center Stage: Male cicadas, equipped with specialized abdominal structures called tymbals, unleash a deafening song to attract mates. The buzzing sound, reaching up to 90 decibels, is one of the loudest produced by insects.

Attraction: Each brood has a unique song pattern, allowing females to identify potential mates of the same brood. This chorus, involving millions of cicadas, creates a truly remarkable soundscape.

A Short but Significant Life: After mating, the female cicadas lay eggs in tree branches, and the adults die within a few weeks. The newly hatched nymphs then burrow underground, initiating the 13 or 17-year wait for their own emergence.

The Ecological Impact of Cicadas

While the sheer number of cicadas might seem overwhelming, their presence is actually beneficial for the ecosystem. Here's how:

Food Source Bonanza: The emergence provides a temporary feast for birds, small mammals, and reptiles, offering a valuable source of protein and fat. Studies suggest predators can barely make a dent in the massive cicada population.

Nutrient Cycling: As cicadas decompose, their bodies return valuable nutrients to the soil, enriching the forest floor and promoting plant growth.

Tree Tolerance: Despite feeding on tree roots, cicadas rarely cause lasting damage to healthy trees. Their feeding strategy is more like pruning, stimulating new root growth.

Tips for Observing Cicadas Safely

Protect Your Ears: The cicada chorus can be incredibly loud. Consider wearing earplugs or noise-canceling headphones if the noise becomes uncomfortable.

Respect the Environment: Avoid harming the cicadas. They are not pests, and their presence is beneficial for the ecosystem. Refrain from collecting them unless you have a scientific permit.

Mind Your Footing: Be cautious when walking through areas with a high cicada density, as they may be crushed underfoot.

Dress Appropriately: Long pants and closed-toe shoes are recommended, as cicadas may cling to clothing or fall from trees.

Capture the Moment: The 2024 emergence is a prime opportunity for capturing stunning photographs and videos. Research macro photography techniques to get close-up shots of these fascinating insects.

Citizen Science: Contribute to scientific research by reporting your observations on platforms like Cicada Safari. You can document the emergence date, location, and species (if identifiable) to help scientists track brood distribution and behavior.

The Cultural Significance of Cicadas

Early American Encounters: Native American tribes incorporated cicadas into their folklore and even used them as a food source. Early European settlers(1634) in North America documented their encounters with these noisy insects, often with a sense of wonder and even annoyance.

Symbolic Meanings: In different cultures, cicadas have symbolized rebirth, transformation, and even music. Their long underground wait and dramatic emergence resonate with themes of renewal and cyclical change.

Modern Inspiration: Cicadas continue to inspire artists, musicians, and writers. Their unique life cycle and captivating sounds have found expression in various artistic mediums.

This blog post provides a starting point for your exploration of the 2024 cicada emergence. With a little planning and preparation, you can witness this awe-inspiring event firsthand and gain a deeper appreciation for these incredible insects.

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