Seventeen-Year Cicadas…Not Your Typical Teenagers

Brood X is coming! If you think that statement has a science fiction ring to it, read on…There is nothing fictional about the massive eruption of billions of periodical cicadas. These buzzy insects with their huge, lacy wings and red-orange eyes are preparing for their grand entrance into the above-ground world as temperatures rise and the soil warms to 64 degrees.
They have spent the past 17 years (or 13 years depending on the brood) as wingless nymphs, feeding on fluids sucked from the roots of plants and trees. After they poke their heads above ground, they’ll crawl en masse up the trees, where they wiggle out of their exoskeleton and emerge overnight as winged wonders.
They’ll spend a few short weeks swarming trees, finding mates, and being eaten by just about every animal (chipmunks, raccoons, squirrels, skunks, birds, turtles, frogs) that can wrangle them into their mouths. After laying their eggs in the branches, their exceptional lives will end and the forests will fall silent.
Although there are at least 3400 species of cicadas worldwide, the seven species of periodical cicadas (the ones that emerge at 13 and 17-year intervals) are only found in the Eastern United States. Read many more fascinating facts about periodical cicadas at: 14 Fun Facts About Cicadas | Science | Smithsonian Magazine
The emergence of periodical cicadas are some of nature’s most well-timed events—humans have been documenting them for hundreds of years. Please remind your friends and family—cicadas are big and loud, but they are harmless to people. We hope you enjoy the upcoming 17-year cicada show…one of Mother Nature’s beautiful mysteries.
Information courtesy of the Ohio Wildlife Center

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