This Spring, Millions Of Cicadas Are Set To Emerge In North Carolina After 17 Years Underground

published: March 31st, 2023 by in Local Nature, Local News, Natural

You’ll want to make sure you have earplugs on the ready this spring when billions of cicadas will emerge in 16 eastern states, including North Carolina. This year marks the 17th year for the Brood X (that’s Brood 10) emergence, last seen topside back in the spring and summer of 2004. Brood X is the largest in mass of the 15 different broods of cicadas.

If you remember the sound cicadas make, then you know how significant the largest group of them in the world will be in terms of enjoying a quiet evening this spring or early summer.

And who can blame them? After being burrowed deep underground since their nymph stage 17 years ago, it’s time to rise up and live a little!

Actually, they emerge from their resting spots deep within the earth for another reason. Seen here are several emergence holes found underneath a large, flat piece of flagstone in a previous emergence year.

In the spring, when the soil temperature rises to 64 degrees at eight inches below the surface, the cicadas will surface.

The life cycle of Brood X is 17 years. Every 17 years, the entire brood climbs out of the earth in order to mate.

The males make the majority of the nuisance noise associated with cicadas by popping the tymbals found on their abdomen in and out to make the sound in order to call out to females. (If only it were this easy for humans!) Females merely flutter their wings in response. And at some point, the two will have a magic moment resulting in procreation of the species.

You may recall in 2004 (or a previous emergence of the cicada) a scene on a tree limb that looked something like this.

Once the male and female mate, the female retreats to the branches of a tree to lay her eggs.

Once the nymphs emerge, they won’t waste any time finding a hole to burrow back down into the ground to begin their 17 year wait to rise again. (We’ll see you in 2038!)

The reason so many emerge at the same time each year is speculated to be survival of the species. No matter how many predators they have, it’s not likely the entire lot of billions of them will be wiped out all at once.

Most people don’t realize cicadas have five eyes.

There are the two obvious red ones, and another three smaller ones in triangle layout found between the two red ones.

How do you usually cope with the overwhelming sound the cicadas make when they emerge?

Have a great weekend!