After a long wait and for the first time since 2004, the Brood X group of periodical cicadas recently started emerging across parts of the eastern United States. Although the beginning of May was cooler-than-normal in the East, the buzzing of the cicadas could be heard loud and clear across parts of the South and mid-Atlantic.
According to National Pest Management Association (NPMA) chief entomologist Dr. Jim Fredericks, the cooler conditions in the northern range of Brood X territory from the start of May slightly slowed the emergence of the cicadas. However, they are already chorusing in north Georgia. Fredricks told AccuWeather, “As daytime temperatures continue to rise we should see an increase in adult cicada activity. Cicadas, like all insects, are cold-blooded, so when temperatures are [lower], activity slows down.” Fredricks’ said that based on the ground temperature, most Brood X cicadas should be above ground by late May or early June.
The current brood’s geographic footprint spans as far west as Illinois, as far south as Georgia, and right up north into Michigan. Hurricane Alex, which lightly touched the Southeast in early August, and Hurricane Charley, which traveled up the Eastern Seaboard a week later, may have affected some cicadas near the Atlantic Coast. Only the male cicadas can sing, and their mating calls can reach up to 100 decibels.
The departure of the cicadas depends more on their life cycle and location than the actual temperature. University of Maryland emeritus entomology professor Dr. Michael Raupp said, “Individuals live from two to four weeks, but because they emerge over the span of several weeks, they will be with us for about two months.” He added that the current emergence, previously referred to as a cicada palooza by him, was well underway across northern Virginia and Maryland.