The 17 Year Cicadas Are Back! - Insight Pest Solutions

The 17 Year Cicadas Are Back!

April 22, 2021


Cicadas are widely misunderstood insects. People often confuse these black, orange, and red insects with locusts. They are 1-2 inches long, with a wingspan of 3-4 inches. They are known for making annoying loud noises and traveling in huge swarms.

Unbeknownst to many Americans throughout the US, billions of periodical cicadas have been living underground for the past seventeen years. The last time they emerged was in 2004, and in the spring/summer of 2021, they will come out of hiding again. Billions of cicadas will emerge and be seen across fifteen states! They will swarm and be seen as far south as Georgia, as far north as Illinois, and as east as New York. Scientists are calling this round of cicadas “Brood X.”

What They Are

Brood X contains 3 out of 15 periodical cicada species; Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassinii and Magicicada septendecula. While there are many different cicada breeds, not all of them make as dramatic of an entrance as Brood X. The less dramatic cicadas hide out for 2-5 years and come out in smaller numbers.

Brood X cicadas emergence depends on the weather, density, and temperature of the ground. They generally come out at the beginning of May and ending in late June. If the weather is warmer than normal, they can come out in late April.

What is Their 17-Year Life Cycle?

These periodical cicadas hide a foot or two underground for 17 years. They spend their time below ground eating roots, growing, and hiding from predators. Then, in unison, after seventeen years, they come out in the sun to mate. When they come up to the world, they shed their skins and become adults. They fly around, mate, drive people crazy, lay eggs in trees, then die in a few weeks.

When they emerge in a few weeks, the billions of cicadas will be hard to miss, not only by their large numbers but by their sound! Males have loud mating calls, and they are known for it because they can get as loud as 90-100 decibels; that is louder than a lawnmower! Females then lay up to 600 eggs in trees. These eggs hatch after 4-6 weeks, bringing to life nymphs or baby cicadas. The nymphs fall from trees and bury themselves into the ground, where they won’t be seen again for another 17 years. The next cicada emergence will be in the spring or summer of 2038!

Advice from Insight Pest Solutions- Are Cicadas Dangerous?

Thousands of loud, small bugs buzzing around may feel overwhelming or uncomfortable to some. However, if you are wondering, “are cicadas harmful to humans?” the answer is no! They do not cause structural damage to your home or ruin your plants. They are not equipped to bite or sting, thus making them a nuisance for a few weeks. However annoying they may seem, this interesting species of periodical cicadas are quite fascinating. 

If you are wondering how to get rid of cicadas, our advice to you is this; you don’t need to. After a few weeks, they will die off on their own, and you will not see them for another seventeen years. Compared to other insects, they are pretty low maintenance! 

Our professional exterminators at Insight Pets Solutions are aware of cicadas and their emergence coming soon. We are here to help answer any questions, though treating or attempting to eradicate cicadas is wholly unnecessary. Instead, we can take the time over the next couple of months to admire this interesting cicada species!

Posted in: Pest Knowledge

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