Are Cicadas Coming Out Of Their Long Sleep Early?

May 25, 2017 | Posted In: General | Posted In: Georgia Pest & Termite Control

Anybody who lives in the Southeastern region of the United States is definitely acquainted with the humming sounds of numerous cicadas. Some find their humming to be relaxing; while others cannot tolerate the sounds they make. Typically cicadas are supposed to remain underground for seventeen years before surfacing. However, one species of cicada, brood X, is out and about a whole four years early, and many residents from Tennessee to Florida want to know why.

During the span of just two days, one thousand people from Maryland to Tennessee reported brood X sightings. Scientists say that these premature brood X sightings are not unheard of. A minority of brood X cicadas could manage to escape early, but very few cicadas pull this off. However, researchers have also noted that the brood X cicadas seem to be in particularly high numbers this spring, which could indicate to experts that climate change may be a factor behind the cicadas early visit. Some scientists are saying that climate change may be accelerating the cicada’s growth.

Cicadas remain underground for either thirteen or seventeen years, depending on the type. Cicadas spend their time underground feeding on routes. It seems that cicadas are able to count the seasons somehow since they emerge exactly seventeen years later. Some scientists hypothesize that cicadas can count the seasons by interacting with tree sap that finds its way to a tree’s routes. Once the nymphs are large enough, they emerge from the ground, but only when the soil is sixty four degrees Fahrenheit at exactly eight inches underneath the dirt. This stage occurs every May and sometimes at the tail end of April. The cicadas then molt one last time, reproduce and then die. However, as earth heats up, temperatures underground will be higher than sixty four degrees, and deeper points underground will become warmer as well. This could be the reason why we are, and still will be, seeing cicadas much earlier.

Can you recall how a cicada sounds? Which insect produces the most pleasing sounds, if any?