If you haven’t already heard, the Cicadas of Brood X are here. They are emerging from Georgia all the way to Pennsylvania. Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it, Alabama will miss the cicada invasion this time. According to Alabama Extension specialist Katelyn Kesheimer,
“Unfortunately, Brood X cicadas will not be emerging in Alabama in 2021. The next emergence of a brood in Alabama will be in 2024 when Brood XIX emerges after 13 years.”
However, if you get the chance to go to a neighboring state to witness an emergence, it is quite a sight to behold. This is one critter the experts at Covenant Wildlife Removal would encourage clients to travel to witness. In any case, you should know about the cicada invasion, as it will happen here in Alabama in 2024.
What is the Cicada Invasion All About?
You see, after 17 years under the ground, the cicadas crawl out from the ground pushing the dirt and tree roots aside. And they come out in mass numbers to roam the earth, but for a few short days.
Cicadas are extremely loud, and they only have one thing on their minds. Due to their sheer numbers, the entire group singing in unison can be louder than a lawnmower!
These magnificent creatures are coming out of their holes in the ground to transform, sing, mate, and then die. (Sad reality) Invasions started in Georgia and worked their way up to South Carolina, Tennessee, Maryland, Virginia, Washington DC, Philadelphia, New Jersey, New York City, Pennsylvania, and Albany. And what causes them to emerge in such a loud and boisterous scene? Keep reading to learn more about the cicada invasion of Brood X.
The Brood X Cicadas
The current brood of cicadas is named Brood X (ten), that last emerged in 2004. The larvae deposited that year have been growing for the past 17 years, and it is time for them to be seen once more.
The body consists of a head, thorax, and abdomen with two antennae. Cicadas have five eyes, two that are compound and three simple eyes. In addition, they have two sets of wings, forewings and hindwings, and six legs.
But in case you are wondering, they are not poisonous, they do not bite, and they do not sting! They are utterly harmless unless you consider the mess they make. So, there is no reason to fear the cicada invasion. And they are really quite fascinating.
Interesting Facts about Cicadas from the Environmental Protection Agency.
- Cicadas benefit the wellness of trees when they aerate the soil around the roots. And they trim weak or damaged limbs away from the healthy tree branches.
- These bugs drink tree fluids or sap, but usually not enough to damage the trees.
- Females may harm young trees by splitting the thin bark into slender branches where they lay their eggs.
- Cicadas only feed on woody perennials, so vegetable and strawberry crops are not at risk. That is good news for farmers.
- Therefore, this could be an unfortunate year for fruit tree orchard farmers.
- “It’s going to be a wonderful year for anything that can eat cicadas. City pigeons and songbirds love them, dogs will gorge themselves, squirrels will eat them like corn on the cob, turkeys gobble them up, plus they make great fishing bait.”
- Some insist that cicadas are a delicacy and make delicious high-protein meals.
- If you want to avoid the cicada invasion in 2024, pack up the family and head to the beach since cicadas don’t like sand.
The Life Cycle of a Cicada
The cicada life cycle begins as a rice-shaped egg in a tree limb. Looking like a small termite, when they hatch, they start to feed on the tree’s sap. Then when the cicadas are ready, they will crawl from the tree branch and drop to the ground below. There they hurry into the ground until the next 17 years. Here is how the emerging cicada invasion looks.
Then, when the matured nymphs wriggle their way out of the ground when the ground reaches 64 degrees, and it has been 17 years. How do they know when 17 years is up? We will get into that in a minute.
When they emerge, the cicadas crawl up the nearest tree for safety and to do what they have waited for for 17 years. Under the ground, they have been preparing for this day, eating the sap from the tree’s roots. And scientists believe they may know when 17 years is up due to the age of the fluid in the tree.
With full bellies and on a mission, the cicadas reach the tops of the trees, and then the transformation begins. The backs of their exoskeletons will break open, and out comes the adult cicada in all its glory. Then… let the mating ritual begin.
The Song of the Cicada
If you were not aware, the song of the cicada is actually its mating ritual. As you can imagine, after a 17-year underground feast, the cicadas are ready to mate. You see, the males are the ones making all the noise. As they prepared to look for a female, the males will flex their tymbals – drum-like organs found in their abdomens. Considering the body is primarily hollow, the sound is quite loud, especially when there are millions.
With what sounds like a finger snap, the female cicadas respond with a two-click sound. To listen to the song of the cicada, simply click here.
Clues to Look for Before They Emerge
When traveling to an area that typically gets cicadas every 13 – 17 years, you will not have to look too hard. As stated earlier, their song is loud, and they swarm in incredible numbers. But if you are unsure if a place will have an invasion, here are some of the signs to look for.
- Do you see little chimneys or turrets of mud on the ground? That is where they will emerge.
- Tell-tale holes in the earth beneath a tree mean they will appear soon.
- When looking under stones, you may get so fortunate to see one close to the surface building their tunnel system.
- When gardening, you can sometimes turn them up and disturb their digging and your own.
Covenant Wildlife Removal Celebrates the Cicada Invasion
The emergence of cicadas should be celebrated for the scientific wonder it is. The event is utterly unique, well, until you are sweeping them up. However, this is not a service we provide at Covenant Wildlife Removal as they are not nuisance wildlife. We are here for all your critter control needs in Alabama.
You can count on Covenant to celebrate the incredible lives of critters, just as long as they are not getting into your home. What’s more, we believe in the safe and humane removal of animals in Jefferson and Shelby counties.
For Wildlife Removal, Alabama residents choose Covenant again and again. We offer the following and more.
- We are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to help you with your nuisance wildlife.
- Our team shows up on time for your appointment.
- Covenant has maintained excellent customer service for over 30 years.
- Satisfied customers are our pride and joy.
- Our team will remove wildlife carcasses, so you don’t have to.
- We are licensed and insured to do the work we need.
- Covenant is committed to rapid responses and removal.
- We specialize in environmentally responsible treatments and removal.
Covenant Wildlife Removal is a licensed and insured full-service wildlife trapping, removal, repair, and insulation company with over 30 years of experience. Contact us for all your wildlife removal needs.