With soil temperatures up to 64 degrees, billions (maybe even trillions) Cicadas from Brood X appear in states such as Virginia, Maryland, Indiana, and Tennessee.
Brood X’s cicadas appear once every 17 years and are known as the “Great Eastern Brood” due to the extremely high concentration and diversity of cicadas.
Up to a billion cicadas PER SQUARE MILE!
In fact, entomologists estimate the number of cicadas appearing at up to 1.5 million per acre! At that density, just 667 acres (about one square mile) could suddenly become home to more than one block. a billion cicadas!
(For comparison, scientists recently estimated that between 50 and 430 billion birds live on the entire Earth. You can see how cicadas “overcome” predators, swimming out in such large numbers at once!)
Since the Brood X cicadas are rapidly emerging from the ground, you are probably wondering, “What does 1.5 million cicadas per acre look like?”
The reality is that the concentrations of cicadas vary greatly. Since Brood X cicadas only appear once every 17 years, areas with heavy development since 2004 are likely to experience a shortage of cicadas. However, in densely forested areas, the soil of which has practically not been disturbed, there will be large clusters of cicadas.
Where are the cicadas as of May 19
The Cicada Safari tracking app allows users to upload photos of Brood X cicadas to track their appearance. As of May 19, the vast majority of sightings were in the Washington region.
At AZ Animals, we recently explored forest forests in the Washington DC area, which is one of the epicenters of Brood X. Below you will find photos of what 1.5 million cicadas look like per acre.
To find cicadas, look for trees not disturbed by recent developments.
Brood X’s cicadas that emerge from the ground first develop into winged adults. Moulting occurs on vertical surfaces, so you will often see large piles of moulting under trees and other shrubs.
In the picture above, you can see a tree with dozens of melted cicadas shells. Under one tree there are thousands of shells stacked in layers. With thousands of molten cicada shells under one tree, you can begin to understand how over a million cicadas appear per acre!
Walking back on the ground, you will see what looks like a bunch of leaves. However, take a closer look, and you will see that it really is thousand cicada shells accumulated at the base of the tree. In the area, there were thousands of cicada shells on every tree. Fewer cicadas that successfully molted continued to dig in the pile, while nearby squirrels and birds were happy to find light food throughout the day.
Below you can find a tweet from Twitter user Mitch Zuckerman showing what the cicadas look like in Silver Springs, Maryland. In places where cicadas have emerged from the ground in recent days, there are now piles of shells, while most of the cicadas have not climbed higher in the trees.
The appearance of billions of cicadas will not last long!
After molting, the shells of the cicadas will retain a lower profile as the body and wings develop. During this period, which is currently taking place in most of the Washington area, you will see many cicadas in the grass. After that, they will fly to the trees, where the males will begin their mating calls.
Male cicadas live only two to four weeks after molting, while females lay eggs longer. In total, so far in the coming weeks will get highly loudly in the forested areas where Brood X appeared, by July the life of the last generation of cicadas will be over. Tiny nymphs will fall from trees and burrow into the ground next to tree roots, starting another 17-year cycle!
Find out more about our Cicada coverage: