Billions Of Cicadas Will Emerge In Ohio Soon. Here’s What You Need To Know

A 17 year Cicada from Brood X 2004 - Princeton, NJ. via WikiMedia Commons
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Things are going to get a little loud around here.

After 17 years, a brood of cicadas known as Brood X will be emerging from the ground, and they’ll number in the trillions. This particular group of cicadas come out of the ground every 17 years once ground temperatures reach 64 degrees.

Every 17 years, Brood X cicadas tunnel in all their glory to the surface of the ground, lay eggs in trees, and then die off in several weeks. The young burrow back underground to safety where they’ll remain until they re-emerge in 2038.

From Georgia to New York, these loud critters can certainly have an impact on outdoor events. The collective noise made by male cicadas calling for mates can reach up to 100 decibels. That’s as loud as a jackhammer, except instead of it ever getting turned off, it will go on for weeks.

Active Periodical Cicada Broods of the United States via USDA Forest Service

Over those weeks, you’ll likely encounter cicadas just about everywhere. From tree trunks to your car to the ground beneath your feet, you’ll see these unique bugs and their discarded skin all around.

The density of the cicada brood can be as much as 1.5 million per acre, so if there’s one thing I can guarantee in 2021, it’s that you’re going to see your fair share of these dudes this summer.

We last encountered this particular brood back in 2004, when up to as may as 10 trillion cicadas emerged from the ground.

Brood X has been appearing every 17 years for at least hundreds of years. The earliest written mention of them came back in 1715, when Reverand Andreas Sandel, the pastor of Philadelphia’s “Gloria Dei” Swedish Lutheran Church, noted them in his journal.

Although the idea of billions or trillions of cicadas may not sound too enticing, it is important to remember that this is a unique natural event. This is one of the largest broods of cicadas in existence, and when you think about it that way, it makes the idea of running around through all of the bugs a little more bearable.

After all, these cicadas aren’t harmful to humans and mature trees shouldn’t see a significant impact.

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