A Cicada Surge: All the Facts

Brood X, or the Great Eastern Brood, is characterized by their bright red eyes and loud noises heard everywhere. They will make their first appearance in seventeen years all across the Eastern U.S. and parts of the New England coast. 

Brood Ten first emerged as nymphs in April of 2004, and the full brood post-emergence was somewhere around June 2004, with about half coming out in or around late May. Before then, the sacs that housed the baby nymphs dropped into the ground and began molting and growing, using tree sap and plant roots as sustenance. The considerably larger nymphs will then, seventeen years later, emerge from the ground to latch onto any surface available and shed their skin as they become adult cicadas. There have already been sightings for this year’s cicadas in Maryland, Tennessee, Ohio, and Detroit. You can find out more about cicadas and their sightings here.

Brood Ten is one of fifteen, which all emerge at all different times. The difference in the period they are underground is the reason why they are visible every year. Many cicada species not included in broods will also emerge yearly as well. Part of the excitement surrounding this year’s emergence is the anticipated quantity. Scientists predict about 1.5 million cicadas per acre in some areas and even more in heavily wooded neighborhoods. 

According to Elizabeth Barnes for IndyStar, once the cicadas have fully emerged, you can expect to see and hear them for about one month to six weeks, and the length at which they stay visible depends on the weather. This weather dependency is part of the reason Raleigh and other areas across the Eastern U.S. haven’t seen such a large-scale increase in our cicada population yet. It’s predicted that consistent weather will coax the cicadas up from underground. 

Though they may appear scary, cicadas are completely harmless. They have no stingers, don’t bite, and have absolutely no interest in humans. There is the rare occurrence of a human being mistaken for a tree, but before anything can happen, there’s more than enough time to shoo it away. 

North Carolina is included in the cicada’s visit, specifically the upper half of the state and the mountains. Be on the lookout for those dusty shells on your local fences, trees, and mailboxes.