17-year cicadas begin emerging

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AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) — After spending 17 years underground, Brood X cicadas are ready to make some noise. The insects have been spotted and heard all along the East Coast.

“They’re probably the loudest thing in your backyard during that time because there are thousands to trillions out at one time,” Dr. Jessica Reichmuth, an associate Biology professor at Augusta University, explains.

The brood has captivated scientists, like Dr. Reichmuth for decades. The insects undergo several stages of development while living underground. They slowly begin making their way to the surface. When the soil is warm enough, approximately 64 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit, they emerge to mate.

“The reason they emerge all at one time is so they can overwhelm predators. That also ensures the survival of their own species so there are enough left over to mate and start the entire cycle over again.”

Don’t expect to see them for very long. These cicadas will die off in late June or early July.

Reichmuth says cicadas are not harmful to plants or animals. But they will be loud. A group of them can sound like a lawnmower.

CSRA residents will not have to worry about their ears. Brood X Cicadas will not emerge in this area. Reichmuth says they will be found in Georgia’s northeastern counties that border North Carolina and Tennessee.

“Union, Fannin, Lumpkin and Towns are the counties that will be the most active.”

Seeing Brood X Cicadas is something Nancy West will never forget.

“There were thousands of them all over our tents and greenhouses. My friends were afraid of them and ran away,” she explains.

Have no fear if you can not make the trip north this summer to see and hear the crawling critters. The Great Southern Brood, a 13-year cyclic cicada, will emerge in the CSRA in 2024.

How to track Brood X Cicadas

You can get in on the cicada fun with an app developed Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati. Cicada Safari allows people to upload photos of cicadas they see. The photos are then verified and posted to a live map so people can track the creatures.

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