Ex out Brood X

Brood X, a periodical cicada, comes out from underground every 17 years and can be seen in the billions.

Photo used with permission from Google Commons

Brood X, a periodical cicada, comes out from underground every 17 years and can be seen in the billions.

It’s the middle of August and you decide to wake up at 5:30 a.m. to watch the sunrise. You hear crickets chirping, maybe an owl, but most noticeably, you hear the buzz of cicadas. You hear these pesky insects every year, but what makes the once-per-17-years Brood X any different?

What is Brood X?

Brood X (10) cicadas emerge in May of this year in the central and east regions of the U.S. Brood X can be found in parts of Delaware, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia and D.C., according to the National Geographic.

The last time billions of these pesky insects came out was 2004; before some high school students were born. The reason why cicadas seem so loud is due to the mechanism that they use to create noise called the tymbal, which is located in their abdomen.

What to expect

In short, expect a cicada-themed apocalypse, without the loss of human life. There will be billions of cicadas that emerge this spring and the noise made by one can reach 100 decibels. If that isn’t bad enough, Brood X cicadas also happen to be clumsy fliers and will be everywhere, even in places you may not expect. Your windshield, hair, window sill, house, clothes, grass and more are all realistic places you may see cicadas. 

Regardless of this year’s Brood X, every summer you will see thousands of cicada shells all over the ground. According to pestword.org, “Your yard may be littered with cicada shells. Cicadas emerge from the ground by the hundreds or thousands per acre in their nymph stage. Once above ground, they will shed their shells, which you may find discarded near trees or on the ground.”

How to prepare

Cicadas are noticeably loud every year, but Brood X takes sound to another level. For those sensitive to sound, make sure to wear headphones when outside (noise-cancelling headphones would be best). In order to keep your home cicada-free, ensure that all windows and doors are screened when open. If not, limit the amount of time spent with doors and windows open. Additionally, it is best to ensure that your windshield wipers are working properly in order to discard all cicadas or cicada shells that could be on your windshield, and to rake your lawn regularly to clear the shells. 

Since Brood X will be everywhere, bring an umbrella or wear a hood or hat to avoid getting cicadas in your hair or on your body. If possible, try to limit the time spent outside during midday. Brood X will be most active during the sunnier, warmer parts of the day, and least active during the cooler parts of the day, such as morning and nighttime.  

Brood X may sound and feel completely terrifying, but they are completely harmless and a normal part of nature. If well-prepared for them, you will have an enjoyable and relaxing summer.