For the first time in over two centuries, the United States is gearing up for the simultaneous emergence of two cicada broods, creating a bug explosion that will be witnessed in various parts of the country, including certain areas in the Washington, D.C. region. This extraordinary event involves Brood XIX, the 13-year cicadas, and Brood XIII, the 17-year cicadas.
The anticipated emergence is scheduled to begin in mid-May and extend through late June. According to Cicada Mania, the affected states include Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Virginia. Michael Raupp from the University of Maryland’s Entomology Department mentioned that southern parts of Maryland’s St. Mary’s County and specific areas in Virginia, such as Caroline and King George County, may also witness this cicada spectacle. However, the immediate Washington, D.C. area is not expected to host the emergence.
Michael Raupp highlighted the unique occurrence where the two broods will converge, potentially taking place in central Illinois. This convergence presents a rare opportunity for the 13-year and 17-year cicadas to interbreed, creating an intriguing natural experiment. Raupp emphasized that the densities of cicadas in overlapping areas would be incredible, resembling the notable Brood X emergence in 2021.
As the cicadas prepare to emerge, Raupp reassured the public, stating, “We’ll be okay, and we’ll get through this thing.” He encouraged people to appreciate the phenomenon, emphasizing that cicadas do not pose a threat as they neither bite nor sting. Raupp acknowledged that cicadas might cause some damage to trees, but he also pointed out that dogs often enjoy eating cicadas, cautioning against letting them consume too many. Additionally, for the adventurous, Raupp suggested that cicadas are quite tasty.
Addressing the inevitable noise generated by the cicadas, Raupp humorously remarked, “I mean, that’s what they do. They’re teenagers. They’ve been underground for 17 years. Of course, they’re going to sing. They’re going to mate. They’re going to party in the treetops.” Regardless of how people choose to approach the situation, Raupp urged them not to step on the cicadas, emphasizing the insects’ challenging life underground and encouraging observers to let them enjoy their brief four-week appearance above ground.