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Terrifying Map Shows Trillions of Cicada Bugs to Swarm US for First Time in 200 Years

Trillions of cicadas are set to invade the United States for the first time in 221 years, scientists say.

In late April, two large broods of periodical cicadas are expected to emerge from the ground for a noisy mating frenzy.

“Billions, even trillions, of cicadas are going to emerge at the same time across 17 states,” Chris Simon, a professor in UConn’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, told Live Science.

Brood XIII and XIX have been living underground for 17 and 13 years respectively.

They will soon emerge at the same time for the first time in 221 years.

Periodical broods are found in eastern North America and tend to emerge in large numbers.

Once they hatch, the nymphs feed off root sap underground until it’s time to mate.

Mating season has been described as a noisy and chaotic display that could happen for weeks.

An event like this hasn’t occurred since 1803 when Thomas Jefferson was president and it’s not expected to happen again until 2244.

“The co-emergence of any two broods of different cycles is rare because the cycles are both prime numbers,” John Cooley, founder of the Periodical Cicada Project and a professor in UConn’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, told the publication.

“Any given 13- and 17-year broods will only co-emerge once every 13 x 17 = 221 years.”

However, despite the large volume of cicadas that will appear next, it won’t look too different from previous emergences, scientists say.

Cicada Sightings Begin

In the first week, people will be able to spot the cicadas sitting on vegetation after they shed their exoskeleton in the morning hours.

They will then go on to climb trees, and the males will emit a loud noise to attract females.

The females will then follow suit, making clicking noises that increase as mating gets underway.

From there, the females can lay eggs, and a new batch of cicadas will appear the next morning.

For the most part, the two broods will not appear in the same locations, except for a small woodland area in Springfield, Illinois, where cicadas from both broods might emerge at the same time.

Brood XIII will be seen around north-central Illinois, Ohio, and Iowa in the Midwest.

Brood XIX, the largest of all periodical cicada broods, will be prevalent in parts of Illinois and the southeastern US in states Louisiana, Virginia, and North Carolina.

“The broods won’t overlap significantly due to the latitudinal spread involved,” Cooley said.

“But there will be a lot of cicadas … just as there are a lot of ants, flies.

“Insects come in large numbers.”

Hybrid Insects

While the co-emergence of these two groups has not happened in hundreds of years, other 13-year and 17-year broods have emerged around the same time.

“2015 was the last time a 13-year brood emerged with a 17-year brood when Brood XXIII emerged with Brood I,” Simon told Live Science.

“However, the two broods weren’t geographically close.

“Similarly, adjacent Brood IV and Brood XIX both appeared in 1998 but, again, weren’t close.”

Because of the limited time between them, the two broods will most likely not interbreed with each other

“Even if the broods were to interbreed, any offspring would be indistinguishable from cicadas that were not hybrids,” Simon said.

According to the researcher, even the life cycles have stayed the same between interbred cicadas.

“Scientists in the past have speculated that mating between 13-year and 17-year periodical cicadas would not create an intermediate life cycle (e.g., 15-year); instead, the offspring would be either 13-year or 17-year, but not both,” Simon said.

“We still only see either 13 or 17-year cicadas in nature. Whether one life cycle is dominant to another is unknown.

“And, importantly, there are very few places where 13-year and 17-year cicadas currently overlap.”

Risque Business

Within two to six weeks, most of the cicadas will die after reproducing or in the process of emergence.

Three weeks into the process, many of the cicadas will be high in the trees, where they laid their eggs.

The eggs will eventually fall to lower ground, where cicadas will hatch and burrow underground.

“Emerging isn’t without risk, as many of the cicadas will be eaten by predators, while others may be killed by later cicadas walking on them while their outer casing is still soft,” Simon said.

“Some will survive to move into the higher vegetation and mate and lay eggs.”

READ 21 COMMENTS
  • John sweet says:

    I guess the yearly appearance of the cicada in Texas and Oklahoma is just a freak occurrence?

  • EZ says:

    here comes the biblical end of earth locust swarm

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