U.S. Periodical cicadas will emerge in 2024. Here's what you need to know about these buzzing bugs.

U.S. Periodical cicadas will emerge in 2024. Here's what you need to know about these buzzing bugs.

Periodical Cicadas Emergence

Periodical Cicadas Emergence

Periodical cicadas are fascinating creatures with their synchronized emergences, loud buzzing, and peculiar life cycles. They spend the vast majority of their lives underground, only emerging once every 13 or 17 years to reproduce. This year, 2024, is particularly special as two broods, Brood XIX and Brood XIII, are expected to emerge simultaneously in certain areas, offering a rare opportunity to witness all seven species of periodical cicadas in one year. The last time this happened was way back in 1803.

The emergence of cicadas is temperature-dependent, with different regions experiencing their arrival at varying times, typically from May to early June. Once above ground, male cicadas create their distinctive buzzing sound to attract mates, while females lay hundreds of eggs in tree branches using their ovipositor. After hatching, the nymphs fall to the ground and burrow into the soil, where they will remain for another 13 or 17 years.

Despite their large numbers and loud presence, cicadas are harmless to humans and animals. While they may molt and emit a strong odor when they die, they are not toxic, and even pets may eat them without significant harm. In fact, humans can also consume cicadas, provided they are cooked properly and shellfish allergies are taken into account.

However, there is an intriguing aspect to cicadas involving a sexually transmitted fungus called Massospora cicadina, which can infect some individuals, leading to what are dubbed "zombie cicadas." These infected cicadas exhibit strange behaviors, but their impact on other wildlife remains largely unobserved.

Cicadas primarily feed on tree sap and do not pose a threat to plants in the same way as locusts, contrary to common misconception. Nevertheless, precautions such as netting can be taken to protect young trees and shrubs during cicada emergences.

Overall, the emergence of periodical cicadas is a natural phenomenon that offers a unique opportunity to observe and learn about these fascinating insects and their intricate life cycles.

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