Cicadas are a really unique family of insects. They are known for their segmented bodies, their characteristic singing noises, and their large size. Some species are up to 2 inches long as adults!
Cicadas also have another unique habit that you may not be aware of. They spend years below ground in the nymph stage before emerging as adults, in large numbers, to breed. One particular brood of cicadas, known as Brood X, is due to come above ground in 2021. Here's what you need to know about Brood X, along with a few tips for dealing with these big bugs.
The Reproductive Cycle of Brood X
Around the world, there are many different broods, or groups, of cicadas. Brood X is just one of them. This brood stretches across the Midwest through Indiana and Ohio, and also across the Washington D.C. area, including parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Maryland. There are also pockets of Brood X in Tennessee, Georgia, and North Carolina.
The best way to explain the reproductive cycle of Brood X is to start with the last time the brood emerged, which was in 2004. The adult bugs came above ground, bred heavily, and then laid eggs. Those eggs hatched into larvae that quickly burrowed below ground. And they've remained below ground, feeding on plant roots, for the last 17 years. Now, those larvae are ready to mature into adults. When they do, they will emerge above ground, breed, and lay the next generation of eggs — just as their parents did before them.
The Emergence of Brood X
Brood X cicadas are expected to start emerging in March in the southern states, and in May in the D.C. area. Up to 1.5 million cicadas per acre are expected in some areas!
Once the cicadas do emerge, they will be hard to overlook. Not only will you hear their distinct sounds, but you'll likely see a lot of wildlife feeding on them. Raccoons, foxes, squirrels, birds, and even possums all eat cicadas, and they will treat the event as an all-out buffet.
Preparing for Brood X
So, how can you prepare your home and yard for the cicadas? Here are a few tips for before and during their emergence.
- 1. Keep your windows closed. For the time being, rely on your air conditioner for air circulation.
3.Do yard work at dawn when the bugs are less active.
4. Sweep up fallen, dead cicadas and bury them promptly to prevent odors.
5. Keep an eye out for wildlife, like raccoons and possums, which may show up to feed on the cicadas.
The cicada invasion of Brood X is expected to last about 6 weeks. The adults will die after breeding and laying their eggs. With the tips above, you can adequately prepare for the arrival of these pests. Contact Hassle Free Home Services if you need assistance with home prep or other maintenance.