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'Brood X' cicadas to swarm Eastern US after living underground for 17 years

Posted at 5:31 PM, Mar 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-23 19:49:09-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Whether you like cicadas or not, they're coming. In May and June billions of 'Brood X' cicadas will come up from the ground in the Eastern United States after living underground for 17 years.

According to entomologist Jonathan Larson, we won't see swarms of them in most of Kentucky, including in Lexington. Here, he said we will see few to none of these Brood X cicadas.

However, Larson said in the Louisville and northern Kentucky areas, people will see millions of them.

Below is a map, provided by Larson, which shows the areas that will be affected:

cicada map 2.png

"We should expect to hear about people up north complaining about bugs basically," Larson said. "There's going to be lots of these insects up in the Cincinnati area and Louisville and a little further west than that, anything along the Ohio River."

According to Larson, the Lexington area will be impacted similarly in 2024. Then, we can expect millions of 'Brood XIX' cicadas to swarm.

Once above ground, the cicadas will be around for about a month. They will mate, lay eggs and die.

"That's it," Larson laughed. "Teenage bugs having sex in your trees and then dying basically. It's like a big Mardi Gras."

He added that they are relatively harmless. But anyone with new trees will want to cover them with netting to keep them protected from damage caused by the cicadas.

Larson also mentioned that the cicadas could make a good snack. While he has not eaten a periodical cicada himself, he said he has heard that they have a walnut and pine shrimp taste to them. Bon Appetit!