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Brood X Cicada Population On Par With 2004 Emergence

A Brood X cicada rests on a tree.

(Joey Mendolia, WFIU/WTIU News)

Experts said the number of Brood X cicadas emerging this year is on par with their last appearance 17 years ago.  

Roger Hangarter is a distinguished professor of biology at Indiana University and said colder spring weather delayed the emergence of cicadas by almost one week, but it is hardly a factor once they are above ground. The only weather standing in their way is rain. 

“It is surprising, you know,” Hangarter said. “If it starts raining and its cloudy- which of course it would be- they just sort of stop!” 

Recent construction may be the cause of cicada coverage appearing more sporadic this year.   

“Areas where there’s new developments, usually they’re down because all the trees were damaged or removed,” Hangarter said. “Or all the trees are too young that were planted too far from 2004.”   

He said the total population of cicadas is currently peaking with the latest emergence at the end of last week. It takes almost one week for visible signs of each emergence, which creates a lag in their life cycle.  

"The adults apparently live about two weeks in the adult form until they finish mating, and they die,” Hangarter said. “So, we really shouldn't go much beyond two weeks from now.” 

He anticipates a handful of late arrivals but said a majority of the population will taper off by the end of June. After the adult cicadas die, the only thing left to do is watch the babies hatch in the middle of August.   

Hangarter said small, white eggs with two black dots will be visible using a magnifying glass in the cracks of damaged twigs.  

“Like all babies, they don’t know what they’re doing,” he said. “They come out and they just wobble around on the branches and then fall to the ground and find their way into little crevices to get down to roots.” 

Hangarter said you can even place a twig in a container and watch the eggs hatch on your own. But first, you should place a damp paper inside the container to help control moisture.

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