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Brood X Has Arrived In Indiana. What Now?

Two Brood X cicadas molt out of their exoskeletons, May 17, 2021.

Two Brood X cicadas molt out of their exoskeletons, May 17, 2021. (Joey Mendolia, WFIU/WTIU News)

Brood X cicadas began emerging over the weekend in southern Indiana, marking the beginning of a month-long natural event that only comes around once every 17 years.

Researchers predict Bloomington will be one of the places hardest-hit by the periodical cicadas, with millions expected to emerge over the next couple of days to begin molting and mating.

Cicadas will emerge as nymphs - smaller, browner versions of their adult selves. Once they emerge from the ground, they search for a vertical surface, usually a tree or a plant, to settle on and begin molting. During the molting process, cicadas shed their exoskeletons, commonly known as shells.

READ MORE: No, Cicadas Won't Eat Your Flowers: Here's What To Expect Before Brood X Arrives

Immediately after they shed their shells they'll appear larger and lighter in color, with filmy wings and red eyes.

Once cicadas have shed their shells and toughened up a bit, they will begin the noisy process of looking for a mate. Male cicadas sing and females respond. 

A graphic showing the life cycle of a cicada.

Female cicadas deposit their eggs in little slits they make on the surface of tree limbs. Once the babies hatch, they briefly feed on the tree's fluids before falling to the ground and making their way back underground, where they will remain for the next 17 years.

Cicadas do not pose a threat to humans, animals and most plants and trees. They don't bite or sting, and while your pets shouldn't be allowed to eat as many as they want, a few cicadas to the tummy won't hurt your dogs and cats.

READ MORE: The Cicadas Are Coming. Here's How To Help Track Them

However, the female cicadas can damage small, young trees when they lay their eggs, which is why many homeowners and businesses have covered smaller trees with gauzy white fabric. 

Looking for cicadas? Check around the base of deciduous (leafy) trees. You'll often find cicadas clinging to the trunks or hanging off lower branches. Don't forget to look up! Sometimes they can climb quite high.

And yes - you can eat them.

Cicadas are best collected for consumption right after they shed their exoskeletons, when they are softest and lightest in color. 

Here are some recipes from the University of Maryland "Cicadamaniacs."

Want to contact your legislators about an issue that matters to you? Find out how to contact your senators and member of Congress here.

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