Cicadas Will Be Loud But Harmless When They Return Later This Spring

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Alex DeMetrick 370x278 Alex DeMetrick
Alex DeMetrick has been a general assignment reporter with WJZ...
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BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Biblical plague,  17-year locust or just plain yuck. The massive emergence of cicadas carries different names and plenty of baggage.

Alex DeMetrick reports later this spring, they’ll be calling parts of Maryland home.

When it comes to timing, few insects go the distance like certain broods of cicadas. After 17 years of living underground, what’s known as Brood II is about to emerge.

The best guess why…

“So they can have single, well synchronized emergence of billions of these things all at once,” said Mike Raupp, University of Maryland entomologist.

University of Maryland scientist Raupp still sports a T-shirt of the last big emergence in 2004, along with specimens collected in the Baltimore metro region.

That was Brood X, and covered the coast to west of the Mississippi.

This time “this is what I’m calling the little brood.  This one is only occurring from northern North Carolina up to the Hudson Valley,” Raupp said.

With pockets in southern Maryland expected on either side of the Patuxent River, they will begin crawling out of the ground in May, looking like grubs with legs, and will immediately begin shedding that skin to emerge red-eyed and winged.

Their mating song will be loud.

One thing cicadas are not is harmful.

“They’re not going to bite you or your children or your pets.  In fact, your dog’s going to eat them.  They’re going to love them,” Raupp said.

Love and getting eaten are part of these massive eruptions with more than enough cicadas to feed predators, leaving more than enough to mate and start the cycle all over.

If you don’t feel like driving south to experience Brood II, Brood X will be showing up in central Maryland in 2021.

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