If You Live Here, Prepare for a Major Bug Infestation, Expert Warns

This spring, 15 states will be overwhelmed by one pest.

As if the COVID pandemic isn't enough to worry about, droves of cicadas will soon be infesting 15 states. This phenomenon, referred to as Brood X, will see trillions of the insects emerge from the ground. The event only occurs every 17 years, and it's nearly upon us again. Although a handful of states will be affected, one is predicted to be the epicenter. Read on to learn more about the impending swarm of cicadas, and for more alarming insect information, You Can't Kill This Bug, Even If You Run Over It With Your Car.

Michael Raupp, PhD, professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Maryland, told ABC 7 that it appears Maryland will be the epicenter of the upcoming cicada reemergence. Raupp predicts that as these cicadas emerge from the ground, some areas in Maryland will see as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre rising up. While this may sound frightening to the average person, Raupp is excited about the occurrence. "This is going to be spectacular—it happens nowhere else on the planet. It's going to be very, very cool, so let's take advantage of it," he said. Raupp described the event as "having a National Geographic special" right in your own yard.

However, if you have entomophobia or even just a distaste for bugs, you may want to consider leaving town or staying inside during the reemergence. "There will be spectacular numbers of cicadas emerging very heavily," Raupp said. "I tell people, look, if you just can't bear this, just get out of town for a few days." If you do want to plan a getaway, aim for the end of May and the beginning of June, as that's when Raupp predicts the height of cicada activity. However, the expert insisted they're not something to be afraid of.

Raupp wants people to understand that cicadas "aren't going to bite their pets, they're not going to harm their cats and dogs, they're not going to carry away small children like the monkeys in The Wizard of Oz." He implores people to enjoy the historic moment. "This is a remarkable opportunity for children of all ages—parents and their kids—to go out and enjoy a biological event that happens nowhere else in the universe except right here in eastern North America."

Once the cicadas emerge, they will head straight for the treetops to mate, which involves the males creating raucous sounds to attract their partners. After the cicadas meet their matches, the females seek out a tree branch to lay their eggs. According to Raupp, they tend to opt for younger trees, and if the creatures shack up in a young tree, it could cause the branches to snap. He suggests protecting trees that were planted in the fall with 1-centimeter netting. And don't even bother planting new trees this spring—hold off until autumn.

To see if you live in one of the 15 states that will be affected, read on, and for other odd insects, If You See This Bug, You May Have to Quarantine.

1
Delaware

Autumn Morning View of the New Hope-Lambertville Bridge Spanning the Delaware River , New Hope, Pennsylvania
George Oze / Alamy

2
Georgia

river in savannah georgia
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3
Illinois

cityscape of houses and shops downtown Galena, Illinois
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4
Indiana

Indianapolis, Indiana, USA downtown cityscape on the White River at dusk.
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5
Kentucky

Kentucky
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And for a bug you don't have to worry about, This Threatening Insect May Have Just Been "Eradicated" in the U.S.

6
Maryland

Maryland
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7
Michigan

cityscape photo of Kalamazoo, Michigan in the afternoon
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8
New Jersey

trees and walkway at a park in Burlington County, New Jersey
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9
New York

hudson valley with two bridges over the river
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10
North Carolina

city skyline of Raleigh, North Carolina at dusk
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11
Ohio

bridge with a bright red railing and buildings in downtown Toledo, Ohio
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And to learn which bugs you should steer clear of, discover The Most Painful Sting You Can Get From an Insect.

12
Pennsylvania

City view from Polish Hill, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA
peeterv / iStock

13
Tennessee

The skyline of Chattanooga, Tennessee
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14
Virginia

a bridge over and rocks on the James River in Richmond, Virginia
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15
West Virginia

buildings and church in the town of Harper's Ferry, West Virginia
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And for more insects to avoid, check out The 50 Most Dangerous Bugs in America.

Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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