The year 2024 marks a momentous occasion in the natural world, as billions of cicadas are set to emerge from their underground homes after either 13 or 17 years of dormancy. This rare “double brood emergence” will see the convergence of two distinct groups of cicadas, creating a spectacle like no other.

One of the broods, known as Brood XIX, emerges every 13 years and is the largest periodical cicada brood, spanning across the southeastern United States. The other brood, Brood XIII, emerges every 17 years in Northern Illinois. The last time these two broods overlapped was in 1803, during Thomas Jefferson’s presidency, and it won’t occur again until 2245.

These periodical cicadas, part of the Magicicada genus, are known for their striking appearance, with bright red eyes and orange-tinged wings. Their synchronized emergence is a prime-numbered phenomenon that has puzzled scientists for years, with theories about its evolutionary advantage still being debated.

As the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, these cicadas will begin their ascent, covering trees and shrubs with their exoskeletons and filling the air with their deafening song. While some may dub this event as a “cicadapocalypse,” experts assure that these insects are harmless to humans, pets, and gardens.

For researchers studying these unique bugs, community science apps like Cicada Safari provide a platform for citizens to contribute valuable data. By photographing and documenting cicadas in their area, individuals can help scientists track the emergence patterns and understand how climate change impacts these insects.

So, as the cicadas prepare to make their grand appearance in the coming weeks, embrace this rare opportunity to witness one of nature’s most intriguing phenomena. Whether you find them fascinating or find them a nuisance, the cicadas’ arrival is a reminder of the diverse and extraordinary world we live in.

#{#Cicadas #Nature #Biodiversity}