The brood of cicadas — dubbed Brood X or The Great Eastern Brood — will hit parts of Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Illinois in great numbers, according to experts

By Gabrielle Chung
March 03, 2021 08:38 PM
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Periodical cicadas
Periodical cicada
| Credit: Getty Images

A specific brood of periodical cicadas that have been living underground for the past 17 years will emerge in great numbers this summer, experts say.

This brood of cicadas — dubbed Brood X or The Great Eastern Brood — is slated to tunnel their way to the surface in parts of Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Illinois once the ground temperature gets warmer, according to a cicada mapping site from the University of Connecticut.

Other states in which the brood may surface include Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio and Pennsylvania.

Periodical cicadas
Periodical cicada
| Credit: Getty Images

One of 15 broods of periodical cicadas found in the eastern United States, Brood X is among the largest by geographical extent of 17-year cicada broods, the university said.

Unlike annual cicadas, periodical cicadas live underground in larval form for most of their lives and emerge every 13 or 17 years as adults to mate, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

After mating, female cicadas excavate furrows in slender tree branches to deposit their eggs.

Once the eggs hatch, young cicadas drop to the ground and burrow beneath the soil, waiting more than a decade to emerge in the open air again.

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Periodical cicadas will tunnel their way to surface when the soil temperature reaches 67 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology at the University of Tennessee.

Brood X was last seen in 2004.

The Washington Post reports that Brood X will likely emerge in mid-May if there's a warm spring or early June if there's a cold spring.