Emergence Event: Witness the Spectacular Cicadas 2024 Brood XIX Across the U.S.
In May 2024, the U.S. will witness the emergence of Brood XIX, the periodical 13-year cicadas. This article unpacks the when and where of cicadas 2024, the science behind their synchronized appearance, and what you can do to coexist with these creatures during their brief stay above ground.
The 2024 emergence of periodical cicadas, specifically Brood XIX, coincides with the concurrent emergence of the 13-year and 17-year broods across more than a dozen U.S. states.
While the large-scale emergence of cicadas may cause minor damage to trees and shrubs through egg-laying, the overall impact on the environment is beneficial, including their role in the food chain, soil nutrition, and aeration.
Preparation for the 2024 cicada emergence involves protecting young trees and bushes with fine mesh screens and utilizing noise management strategies to mitigate cicada songs, which can reach as loud as 90 decibels!
The Great Cicada Emergence of 2024
The Great Cicada Emergence of 2024 is on the horizon, a once in a lifetime event. Brood XIX, the largest group of periodic cicadas, will emerge from their underground dwellings in mid-May 2024. This highly anticipated phenomenon has an added element of excitement as both the 13-year and 17-year periodicals (Brood XIII) are set to emerge at the same time for the first time in over two centuries!
This remarkable display will take place across more than twelve states including Alabama, Arkansas and Georgia where it’s expected that these populations will be most concentrated. The synchrony seen among cicada emergences can be attributed to predator satiation, a survival strategy where large numbers emerging simultaneously saturate an area minimizing risk of individual predation. Witnessing this incredible tactic ensures not only their survival, but also makes this emergence truly exceptional.
Northern vs. Southeastern Broods
The upcoming 2024 Cicada Emergence is not only an impressive event in terms of scale, but also offers a captivating variety. It will witness the simultaneous emergence of two distinct broods, one located in northern regions and the other in southeastern United States. The northern cicadas are distinguished by their black bodies with red eyes and orange-red wing veins, following a 17-year cycle.
On the side that says "y'all", southern states like Alabama, Arkansas, and Georgia experience large numbers emerging every 13 years as part of southeastern cicada broods including Brood XIX. Additionally, the climatic conditions can trigger earlier emergences for these regions while climate change has potential to disrupt their regular patterns. Between May and June, expect both Brood XIII & XIX to surface respectively, capturing attention of Americans across the country.
Impacts on Trees and Shrubs
While the appearance of cicadas is fascinating (and loud), their relationship with trees and shrubs plays an equally important role. The female cicada deposits her eggs into the bark of trees and bushes by creating small cuts, which can cause minor damage, particularly in smaller plants. Despite this potential harm however, cicadas pose no threat to the environment.
Overall, the egg-laying behavior may raise concerns for gardens, but it should be noted that these insects have a positive impact on their surroundings.
In fact, cicadas hold vital significance within ecosystems. As they serve as valuable nourishment for both birds and larger animals. Upon dying, the decomposing bodies provide nutrients to enrich soil quality, and young cicada nymphs play an essential role in enhancing water filtration systems.So while concerns may arise over potential tree or bush infestation caused by female egg-deposition, it’s crucial not overlook the overall advantageous effects these creatures offer to nature’s delicate balance.
Periodical Cicadas: A Unique Life Cycle
Cicadas are famous for their periodic appearances and unique life cycle. The 13-year and 17-year periodical cicada broods, known as the longest-lived insect species, spend most of their lives underground in nymph form, nourishing themselves with plant roots. This subterranean stage can last for either a span of 13 or 17 years depending on the type.
Otherwise, there are annual cicadas and as the name implies they appear on an annual cycle - most Americans are used to seeing these insects.
As this extended phase comes to an end, the nymphs undergo incomplete metamorphosis to become adults. These adult insects only have a few weeks after emerging before they perish. During which time they must mate and lay eggs. This brief but critical adulthood is what sets apart periodic cicadas from other annual cicadas that have shorter lifespans.
The life of a cicada begins as an underground nymph, where it spends most of its existence. These nymphs feed on the sap from various tree and shrub roots, including deciduous trees, shrubs, and herbaceous plants. During their lengthy time below ground, they go through multiple stages in which they shed their exoskeleton to grow larger.
While consuming nutrients from tree roots may seem damaging to these plant sources, cicada nymphs do not cause significant harm to these plants and instead play a vital role in aerating and nourishing the soil through their activity.
Adult Cicadas' Final Weeks
After spending years living underground, cicada nymphs eventually emerge as adults. Their time above ground is short-lived. Adult cicadas only live for a few weeks before they mate, lay eggs and then die. Despite this brief lifespan, adult cicadas make the most of it by filling the air with their loud mating songs.
Male cicadas produce sounds to attract females by vibrating membranes on their bodies, this is how male cicadas sing. Once successfully mated, females deposit around 400-600 eggs in trees or shrubs branches that hatch after several weeks and give rise to new nymphs who begin another life cycle when they burrow into the soil.
Thus even though an adult cicada’s phase may be brief, it plays crucial roles such as continuing its species through mating activities, females laying hundreds of eggs, and egg hatching which results in newly emerged nymphs.These events occur during just a few weeks but ensure the survival and propagation of these remarkable creatures.
The Song of Male Cicadas
The loud and distinctive song of male cicadas is a notable characteristic during the emergence of these insects. Produced by their timbals, a drum-like structure on their abdomen that contracts and relaxes rapidly, this sound can reach up to 90 decibels – equivalent to the noise level of a lawnmower! The purpose of this musical performance is crucial in the mating rituals of cicadas as it helps attract females for successful reproduction.
We must consider if such high volumes are harmful. While 70 decibels is considered safe for human ears, prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 decibels can result in hearing damage. As male cicada songs measure at approximately 90 decibels, they have potential negative effects like disturbance while sleeping or causing stress levels to rise along with hypertension and tinnitus symptoms.
But don’t worry! We'll provide some tips on managing this noise next!
Impact on Humans and Pets
While the loud songs of cicadas may captivate, they can also be bothersome at night when their choral performance disrupts sleep. It is important to note that these insects pose no threat to humans or pets. Although pet animals may become startled by the noise, there is no danger involved.
To combat the disturbance caused by cicada songs, you could consider using earplugs or noise-canceling headphones. A good-quality white noise machine can effectively drown out the sound and allow for undisturbed rest. Even though cicada songs can initially seem overwhelming in volume, taking simple measures like these will enable one to still appreciate this unique phenomenon.
Although some folks might actually find cicada songs relaxing despite being incredibly loud! For some it poses as a nice background sound as they fall asleep.
Preparing for the 2024 Cicada Broods
As the cicada emergence looms, gearing up for their arrival becomes essential for some. While cicadas are harmless to humans and pets, their loud songs can be a nuisance, and their egg-laying habits can cause minor damage to small trees and bushes. To mitigate these potential issues, consider installing screens around small trees and bushes and using our aforementioned noise management strategies.
Screens with a 14” hole opening or smaller are ideal for protecting your plants from cicadas, who lay their eggs in slits they create in the bark of trees and shrubs. These screens should ideally be installed in March or April, before the cicadas emerge, and kept up for four to six weeks after their appearance for effective protection.
Embracing the Cicada Phenomenon
Despite the commotion and minor disturbances, periodical cicada emergences remains as a mesmerizing display. The vast magnitude of this event, along with the intriguing life cycle of these insects and their role in ecosystems, makes it an occurrence that should be embraced - not feared! Through involvement in citizen science initiatives, one can contribute to ongoing research on cicada emergences while gaining a deeper appreciation for these remarkable creatures.
By using resources like the Cicada Safari app, you can assist scientists in collecting data on cicada emergence and distribution. The app allows you to capture photographs of cicadas and share your observations, contributing to research on urbanization, climate change, and future cicada emergences.
Participating in such projects doesn’t just help scientists; it also enhances your own understanding and appreciation of cicadas. By tracking, photographing, and sharing your observations, you’ll gain a front-row seat to this natural spectacle and play an active role in uncovering the mysteries of cicada emergences.
Aside from their ecological function, cicadas hold significant cultural value in various societies. In Chinese belief, they represent renewal and eternal life while in Japanese culture, they symbolize the fleeting nature of summer. Even Native American traditions held cicadas as a delicacy consumed through different dishes.
In the United States, the emergence of cicadas is celebrated with events like Indiana Cicada Fest and activities in Bloomington where art exhibits, musical performances, and food offerings add to its festive atmosphere. These festivities serve as a way to honor and remember this unique natural phenomenon along with appreciating its impact on our culture.So let us look forward to this upcoming emergence not only for scientific curiosity, but also for celebrating these fascinating creatures’ rich history.
What year do cicadas come out next?
2024 is significant as it is a co-emergence of cicada broods. However, the next emergence event will be in 2037, and there won't be another co-emergence event until 2076 with broods XIX and XIV.
Graduated from UNC Charlotte, Ian Gunn is an expert in all things pest. After receiving his bachelors of science, he got a job offer with Aruza Pest Control and assists with marketing, networking, and occasionally doing some pest control of his own!