If You Live in These States, Brace Yourself for More Copperhead Snakes

This bug emergence is aligning with copperhead snake mating season, experts warn.

Indiana

If you've somehow missed the news—and haven't seen them with your own eyes—trillions of cicadas have begun emerging from the ground for the first time in 17 years. The cicadas that only come around once every couple of decades are called Brood X, and they may be drawing out some other unwelcome visitors. Yes, it's not just bugs you need to be on the lookout for. Experts say you might also see an unusual number of copperhead snakes as they come looking for nutrient-packed cicadas to munch on.

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Matt Evans from the Smithsonian National Zoo told ABC 7 that with so many cicadas for the taking, you may see more copperhead snakes. "It's a distinct possibility that you might come in contact with [copperhead snakes] more if they're out gorging themselves on food," he said. "So I think that it is something that could be different, and why people might see them during the day."

Entomologist Ryan Smith, a pest control expert, says cicadas are a top-choice snack for many species of snakes, but the Brood X emergence has aligned especially well with the copperhead snake's mating season. With food at the ready, copperhead snakes can focus on mating.

And that doesn't just mean you'll be seeing more snakes in the short-term. "The readily available food source in the spring may cause more copperheads to reproduce than usual, which could lead to a higher amount of young in the fall," says Ed Spicer, CEO of Pest Strategies.

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These snakes are venomous, but their bites are rarely fatal to humans, Spicer notes. Entomologist David Price, technical director at Mosquito Joe, a Neighborly company, says you're most likely to encounter snakes at night or shortly after a rain when it's hot and humid. If you do see a copperhead snake, "back up slowly and give the snake some room," he advises. "They normally only strike if they feel threatened or are hunting."

Smith says that if you are seeing more copperhead snakes than usual, "you can lay out traps or use a snake repellent to deter these snakes from your yard." He notes that you should also be prepared for other predators that you might see more of while they're trying to get in on the cicada feast, including birds, lizards, and squirrels. Price adds that raccoons, opossums, and even your own pets will also try to nibble on the cicada carnage.

Cicadas are set to emerge in 15 U.S. states, so residents should be mindful of the copperhead snakes that might follow. Read on to find out if you live in one of the states that could be dealing with a multitude of pests.

RELATED: If You Live Here, Prepare for a Mosquito Invasion Like You've Never Seen.

1
Delaware

cityscape photo of Wilmington, Delaware
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2
Georgia

cityscape photo of fast moving traffic on a highway and building in Atlanta, Georgia at night
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3
Illinois

oak lawn illinois, fastest shrinking cities
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4
Indiana

USA War Memorials and city skyline in Indianapolis, Indiana at twilight
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5
Kentucky

ohio river in kentucky
Shutterstock / Nat Chittamai

6
Maryland

aerial view st michaels maryland
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7
Michigan

road and trees in Highland Park, Michigan
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8
New Jersey

aerial view of Keyport New Jersey
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9
New York

Exterior of brick building in the historical centre in Saratoga NY.
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10
North Carolina

Bald Head Island, historically Smith Island, is a village located on the east side of the Cape
iStock/paulync

11
Ohio

a row of houses in granville ohio
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12
Pennsylvania

a road in jim thorpe pennsylvania
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13
Tennessee

aerial view of gatlinburg tennessee
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14
Virginia

cityscape photo of buildings next to and boats on a lake in Norfolk, Virginia
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15
West Virginia

cityscape photo of Charleston, West Virginia
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Allie Hogan
Allie Hogan is a Brooklyn based writer currently working on her first novel. Read more
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