The year 2024 is set to bring an extraordinary event in the world of insects: a rare double emergence of cicadas. As consistent warm weather approaches, billions of cicadas are projected to surface from the ground in a confluence of creatures not seen since Thomas Jefferson was president. This unique phenomenon, some are calling cicadapocalypse, will showcase the Great Southern Brood XIII and the Northern Illinois Brood XIX emerging simultaneously after 221 years.

Cicadas, known for their loud and deafening song, are part of a genus of cicadas in the eastern US known as Magicicada. Three species emerge on a 17-year cycle, while four species emerge every 13 years. These periodical cicadas follow a unique pattern that distinguishes them from annual cicadas, which have a shorter life cycle.

Despite their large numbers and distinctive features such as bright red eyes and orange-tinged wings, cicadas are harmless insects that do not pose risks to humans, pets, or gardens. While they may be loud and numerous, experts assure that they are simply a fascinating part of nature’s cycle.

The emergence of Broods XIX and XIII is a rare occurrence, occurring only every 221 years when the 13-year and 17-year cicadas overlap. This year marks a unique opportunity to witness one of the most unusual bug behaviors in America. While the cicada season may last for about six weeks, the insects’ adult life cycle is just a few weeks, filled with singing, mating, and eventually dying.

Parts of the Midwest and Southeast, including areas in Illinois and Mississippi, are due for cicadas this spring. However, experts predict that the two broods are unlikely to overlap significantly in most areas. The emergence of cicadas provides a unique opportunity for scientists and researchers to study these insects and understand how climate change affects their populations.

If you find yourself in an area where cicadas are making an appearance this spring, consider downloading community science apps to help researchers track and study these insects. By participating in citizen science initiatives, you can contribute valuable data that will aid in predicting future cicada activity and understanding their behavior.

Embrace the rare cicada emergence of 2024 as a unique natural phenomenon that showcases some of the coolest insects in America. Take the time to appreciate the beauty and wonder of nature as billions of cicadas make their appearance this spring.

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