Cicadas underground for 17 years start to emerge

WASHINGTON (WUSA9) - Cicadas are back!

Some people love them, others are revolted. Cicadas, those big, loud, harmless bugs are emerging across the Mid-Atlantic. Cicadas have been reported in recent days in Fairfax, Va., Potomac, Md., and Annapolis, Md. A cicada brood emerges once every 17 years, but since there are different broods, you'll see them more than once every 17 years.

This year's cicadas were last seen in 2000. They come out of the ground, mate and then die while their offspring nymphs go back underground and wait another 17 years before they emerge. Cicadas are usually above ground for only six to eight weeks. Cooler weather can make them last a little longer. The loud chorus of cicadas typically is only around for three to four weeks.  

This year's group is mostly made up of Brood VI (Brood 6). You may recall the big cicada invasion in 2004. Those were Brood X. Some Brood X cicadas are also emerging with the Brood VI. Cicada experts refer to these as precursors because they emerge earlier than the rest of the brood. Bug experts are not exactly sure why some cicadas emerge early. The Brood X is expected to have a very large emergence in 2021.

Cicadas emerge when the ground temperatures hit the mid 60s. With low 90s in the forecast this third week of May, you can expect if there are cicadas by you, they will emerge.

Scientists need your help tracking the cicadas. If you see cicada nymphs, shed skins, adults on vegetation or on trees, please report your sightings to magicicada.org. Cicada experts are attempting to map the distribution of these magnificent and magical insects.

Learn more at: http://www.cicadamania.com/ and also Mike Raupp's Big of the week blog.

© 2017 WUSA-TV


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