Many Americans are calling it “cicada apocalypse” the phenomenon that is about to occur in the United States. For the first time in 221, two insect broods are expected to emerge from the ground simultaneously during spring in the Northern Hemisphere.
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The University of Connecticut reported that brood XIX, aged 13, and brood XIII, aged 17, will emerge at the same time from the ground in the Midwest and Southeast US in the coming months. Unlike annual litters, which appear every year, periodic cicada emerges once every 13 or 17 years. Both species are found in large numbers in these regions of the country.
The life cycle of periodic cicadas is quite long. Nymphs, as immature insects are called, spend around 13 or 17 years underground after hatching. They feed on roots before finally emerging to become adult cicadas.
Where to observe the phenomenon?
According to researchers at the University of Connecticut, the 13-year-old XIX brood will emerge from parts of the southeastern US. XIII, 17 years old, will make her appearance in the north of the state of Illinois. A BBC North American estimates that the events will begin at the end of April.
According to the educational institution, both litters should not overlap significantly. The greatest chance of contact between the two exists in a few forested locations around Springfield, Illinois.
The map below represents brood XIII with red cicadas and their absence by blue crosses. Look:
Unusual but not unique event
The last time both periodic broods emerged at the same time was in 1803, while the next one is expected in 2245. “This is not a common event,” says Gene Kritsky, a cicadas expert and professor emeritus of biology at Mount St. Joseph.
Billions of insects are expected this spring in the US, but the size of the population is difficult to estimate. In any case, they are not considered pests and the population should not use pesticides.
“Aside from the noise, which can be substantial, this large group of insects is harmless and can be appreciated and enjoyed by nature lovers of all ages,” assures the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.