What to know about ‘Brood IX’ cicadas emerging in several U.S. states by the ‘millions’ after 17 years underground

HOUSTON – Get ready for noisy nights this summer, as cicadas are projected to emerge from the ground “by the millions.”

This year alone, 1.5 million cicadas are expected to pop up in parts of North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia by the acre, according to Virginia Tech’s Department of Entomology. People who live in those areas will experience a phenomenon like no other compared to 2004, CNN reported.

This particular cicada is part of a group called Brood IX, or periodical cicadas, and they are different from the ones that arrive annually in southern states like Texas, according to CicadaMania.com.

According to Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension, these particular types of cicadas emerge from the ground after 13 or 17 years of developing underground, beginning in early May and fading to around July.

“The timing of a 13- or 17-year cycle is one of the great mysteries of the insect world,” Virginia Tech stated on their Entomology website.

With the increase of these loud-buzzing bugs, farmers and residents in rural communities can expect a louder-than-normal noise, but entomologists say this event is “infrequent, and amazing.”

Cicadas can grow up to 1 1/2 inches and can be seen mostly on the ground. Most people can identify them by their long body and large transparent wings, Texas A&M AgriLife Extension said.

Normally they do not bite or threaten humans, but they can harm gardens, vineyards, trees and orchards with their eggs. Animals like raccoons and birds eat them for a snack.

The broods are expected to live up to six weeks as adults, so residents may not have to worry about the constant buzzing throughout the summer, entomologists say.

You can see a map of cicada activity by Brood year courtesy of USDA Forest Service by clicking here.

About the Author:

A graduate of the University of Houston-Downtown, Ana moved to H-Town from sunny southern California in 2015. In 2020, she joined the KPRC 2 digital team as an intern. Ana is a self-proclaimed coffee connoisseur, a catmom of 2, and an aquarium enthusiast. In her spare time, she's an avid video gamer and loves to travel.