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March 25, 2021

All About Brood X

It’s been 17 years since we last saw Brood X, the cicadas that emerge throughout Northern Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia. They are expected to be visible from mid-May through early June, and if you remember anything from last time, there will be a lot of them.

Brood X Is Ready to Emerge

Brood X are periodical cicadas, which means that they are not visible year-round but instead emerge during periods of warmer weather. The ground temperature is the deciding factor in when they start to come out, so they are not easily tricked into coming out prematurely. Experts anticipate that cicada numbers will peak in late May, and there will be many, many cicadas all around.

The Cicada Lifecycle

When the ground temperature is warm enough, nymphs will crawl out of the ground under the cover of darkness and climb any structure above ground level, including trees and buildings, to mature. They will first have a pale white shade and soft shell, but as the shells harden their color will darken. They will shed their hard exoskeletons and expand their wings, which marks their transition to maturity. The sound of cicadas at peak in summer can be measured at over 90 decibels, and areas with a lot of them will be able to hear it. Once the current members of Brood X have mated and laid eggs, the eggs will hatch. The young cicadas will eat tree sap and have short lives before they crawl back underground to tunnel and feed for seventeen long years.

Are They Dangerous?

No! They will not bite or harm you. You might spot them on your landscape, but the only damage that they will cause to your landscape will be small slits placed on plant stems to lay eggs. Adults do not feed on leaves either, so you don’t need to worry about your landscape being harmed.

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