The Great Cicada Invasion of 2021

The Great Cicada Invasion of 2021

The emergence of the 17 year (Brood X) Cicada has been creating quite the buzz (pun intended!) in our area. With swarms expected to emerge in Nothern VA, DC and Maryland, we thought it might be fun to do some research and figure out what we really should expect when they start to arrive in our region. 

What is a cicada? 

Britannica describes the Cicada as:

"Cicada, (family Cicadidae), any of a group of sound-producing insects (order Homoptera) that have two pairs of membranous wings, prominent compound eyes, and three simple eyes (ocelli). Cicadas are medium to large in size, ranging from 2 to 5 cm (0.8 to 2 inches)."

Cicadas emerge as nymphs and will shed their shells (or exoskeletons) on the closest vertical surface such as tree trunks, fence posts, plants....etc. 

Are they Loud? 

Unfortunately, the answer to this question is a big YES!! 

If you are located in an area with a 17 year cicada emergence you will definitely be aware of them and you will definitely hear them. According to Smithsonian Magazine, "A full-scale cicada emergence like the one coming for the eastern U.S. can reach a deafening crescendo as millions of males all call for mates at the same time. The amorous din can reach roughly 100 decibels, which is just shy of standing three feet from a chainsaw. To make their love buzz, the male cicadas rapidly vibrate a pair of white, ribbed membranes called tymbals that sit on either side of their abdomens."

WHEN can we expect them? 

The emergence is expected sometime this month, give or take a couple of weeks. Some areas on the emergence map have already started to see signs of their arrival. 

WHERE can we expect them? 

While parts of Northern Virginia, and DC will see some of the Brood X emergence, almost all of Maryland, which is considered to be the "epicenter" of the event in our area will definitely see, hear and experience the entire phenomenon. 

Whether we like bugs or not, the cicadas are coming and they will definitely make their presence known. 

We found a great article written by the Smithsonian Magazine: "14 Fun Facts about Cicadas" by Alex Fox that describes their lifecycle, survival mechanisms, and many more interesting facts about these noisy visitors. Click on the photo below to read and learn more! 


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