NOTTINGHAM, MD—Growing tired of all the noise? Good news…the Brood X periodical cicadas are hitting peak emergence in many parts of the state, according to the Maryland Department of Agriculture. This means millions of fully-grown winged adults are flying and blundering into things (and us), “singing” as loud as they can, and starting to mate.
The male cicadas are now earnestly belting out their love songs. In some areas, this ensemble chorus is being measured at 100 decibels – that’s louder than a lawnmower or low-flying jet.
So what now?
Mated female cicadas are laying eggs in small twigs of woody plants and mature trees. This will cause ‘flagging’ or browning of branch ends. Later this summer, they can be pruned out.
Spent adults are already dying and joining the piles of brown nymphal exoskeletons they shed earlier this spring. Adult periodical cicadas are expected to be gone by the end of June.
In late July-early August, after their parents are gone, tiny cicada nymphs will hatch, fall from the trees, and quickly burrow underground to harmlessly feed on roots. They will quietly live here for the next 17 years.
So take a big sigh of relief or sadness. We are more than halfway through the 2021 Big Brood X emergence!
Try to appreciate the fascinating, mysterious life cycle of these unique insects that are found nowhere else on Earth. Soon enough they will be gone, not to be seen again until 2038.
[Image via Chris Montcalmo Photography]