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This Is Exactly When Trillions of Cicadas Will Emerge After 17 Years

Prepare for noisy evenings of insect mating starting on this date.

This spring, 15 U.S. states will be overwhelmed by an onslaught of Brood X cicadas that have been underground for 17 years. Once trillions of these cicadas emerge, the male insects will make a loud noise in an effort to mate, and the creatures will start shedding their skin en masse. To make sure you're prepared, experts have predicted what day the cicadas are likely to begin emerging. Keep reading to find out when the cicadas will start bursting through the ground, and for more on their return, If You Live Here, Prepare for a Major Bug Infestation, Expert Warns.

Expect the cicadas to emerge around May 13.

Seventeen-year cicada on tree
2manydogs / iStock

While experts say it's hard to predict the exact day of the cicadas' hatching, they have a pretty good idea of when it's likely to begin. Jessica Ware, PhD, an associate curator of invertebrate zoology at the American Museum of Natural History, told Reuters she expects the emergence will be sometime around May 13. "May is going to be a loud month, for sure, for cicadas," said Ware.

The cicadas, which have been residing below ground feeding off tree roots since 2004, must wait for spring weather to warm the soil so they can emerge, according to Reuters. Once they burst from the ground, they will shed their skin, then start feeding and seeking mates. And for signs of infestation you need to know, If You Smell This in Your Bedroom, You Might Have Bed Bugs.

The noise the cicadas make is the sound of them mating.

Woman looking at the trees

You're probably familiar with the sound of your run-of-the-mill cicadas that are boisterous on summer nights. While the Brood X cicadas are a bit different, they make a similar noise. "It's this kind of dance; males are showing that they can call as loud and as long as possible, which means they're probably a good mate," Ware explained. "Females are listening. Are they calling loud? Are they calling long? … It's kind of a complicated acoustic dance that they're doing." The sound is a loud chirping noise produced by a vibrating plate on their abdomens, per Reuters. And for more bugs to avoid, If You See This Terrifying Insect, Call the Authorities Immediately.

If you don't like bugs, you may want to skip town.

Woman packing a suitcase

If you're not fond of bugs, you may want to consider leaving town or at least staying inside during the reemergence. "There will be spectacular numbers of cicadas emerging very heavily," Michael Raupp, PhD, professor emeritus of entomology at the University of Maryland, told ABC 7. "I tell people, look, if you just can't bear this, just get out of town for a few days." Raupp predicted the height of cicada activity would fall between the end of May and the beginning of June.

However, he insisted that cicadas are not something worth running from. Raupp wants the public 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." And for more up-to-date information, sign up for our daily newsletter.

Maryland will likely be the epicenter of the reemergence.


While 15 states will be affected by the cicada re-emergence, Raupp told ABC 7 that he predicts Maryland to be the epicenter. Raupp predicted that some areas in Maryland will see as many as 1.5 million cicadas per acre rising up. This might sound scary to the average person, but Raupp is eager to experience the emergence. "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. And for more insect activity in your backyard, If You See This in Your Yard, Prepare for a Bug Invasion, USDA Says.

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