The Return of the Cicadas

March 22, 2021 | Inside Washington {Metro} | By: The Goodhart Group

After a 17-year hiatus, Brood X, or the Great Eastern Brood, of cicadas will re-emerge in the United States. Fifteen midwest, mid-Atlantic, and southern states, including all three in our area, will be graced with the presence of these large, winged, strange-looking insects. You’ll easily spot them by their striking red eyes, black bodies, and orange wings.

Cicadas are perhaps best known, however, for the almost deafening sound they create. This buzzing noise is the sound of the male cicadas up in trees, emitting their mating calls. This sound can reach up to 100 decibels!

What You Need to Know about Cicadas

It’s important to note that while they may look and sound scary, these cicadas are really quite harmless. They do not bite or sting, nor do they carry diseases. While they may sometimes fly into homes, they won’t stay since cicadas cannot breed indoors. The main problem homeowners will have with cicada is with their cast-off skins, which will piles up on walkways, decks, and patios. Read more here on handling these insects around your home.

When Will We See Them?

As nymphs, cicadas burrow underground and draw fluids from the roots of plants. Eventually, they burst above ground as adults in this widespread, synchronized event. They will emerge when their soil hits 64 degrees about eight inches below the surface. In our area, this is likely to happen mid-to-late May. According to the Washington Post, Prince William County and points south will not have periodical cicadas this year as that part of the DMV was the epicenter for the 2013 Brood II cicada emergence.

Fun fact: Cicadas are edible and actually quite nutritious. Best enjoyed when they appear with their white, soft exoskeleton, cicadas are low-fat and high in protein. If you’re feeling adventurous, give them a try this spring!

The Bottom Line

While certainly a noisy nuisance, cicadas are harmless. Try to enjoy this marvel of nature that we’ll see just a few times in our lifetimes. And no, they will not impact the sale of your home if you are thinking about selling. You’ll just need to sweep the sidewalks and patio every day!

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