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Cicadas Return: 17-year Cicadas to Overtake East Coast by the Millions this Spring

In May, cicadas in Maryland and along the Eastern seaboard will wake from their 17-year slumber.

Marylanders can expect to see Magicicada Brood II cicadas starting in May and June, a sight not seen for 17 years. 

There have been cicadas in Maryland over the past 17 years, but not this particular brood of cicada and likely not in the numbers that we'll see this spring. 

According to magicicada.org, these periodical cicadas are unique in their life cycles (13 or 17 years), their mass emergence and their well-known chorus. 

Here are some more interesting facts about Magicicadas:

  • Many people know periodical cicadas by the name "17-year locusts" or "13-year locusts," but they are not true locusts, which are a type of grasshopper.
  • Magicicada adults have black bodies and striking red eyes and orange wing veins, with a black "W" near the tips of the forewings.
  • Cicadas do not sting or bite.
  • Experts believe that cicada "nymphs" emerge from the ground (where they sleep for 17 years) when the soil temperature inside their exit tunnel exceeds 64 degrees. 

Periodical cicadas can reach population densities as high as 1.5 million per acre. Densities of tens to hundreds of thousands per acre are more common according to magicicada.org

Experts say that the cicadas will hang around for about four to six weeks after they start emerging from the ground and that they make most of their noise during the daytime hours.

For more cicada information, visit the Cicada Central website. 

Suzanne April 06, 2013 at 06:24 PM
I remember the last invasion. My recollection is that in addition to be very noisy, they are incredibly dumb! They are very slow, thud when they land, and fly right into you.

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