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Brood X cicadas could be delayed, but prepare for 'lusty insect behavior'

Posted at 4:29 PM, May 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-05 18:31:52-04

Billions of cicadas could have a delayed arrival with cooler weather. Government researchers say they make their move with the soil temperature hits 64 degrees 8 inches underground.

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They do this every 17 years. They live only a few weeks to transform, send loud mating calls and mate to create a new life cycle.

Map of Brood X for 2021, Courtesy Gene Kritsky, Mount St. Joseph University

They are expected to be in parts of Michigan until the end of June.

The tracking of Brood X in 2004 shows Washtenaw County is ground zero for babies to come out. But Cicadas were also tracked in Oakland, Cass, St. Joe and Lenawee Counties.

“If you don’t like noise. If you don’t like lusty insect behavior then you’ll want to avoid where these things are going to occur,” says the “Bug Man” Howard Russell, a Michigan State University Entomologist.

That’s right. This will be Cicada mating by the millions meaning, “The males fly off and form choruses and they sing. What they’re trying to do is convince females they’re worth the effort to stop by and visit. “This is a big party for them. This is the only party for them,” said Russell.

Ross Hanna lives in Westland near ground zero and tells 7 Action News, “No, I’m not too worried about it. I think that they’re going to be doing their thing, getting their mate on.”

Click here to listen-> Listen to the noise from the Brood X cicadas from 2004. Courtesy Duane Busick of Indiana.

After mating, the females lay eggs in tree branches that eventually fall to the ground for the next cycle. That’s not expected to be a big problem. Russell says, “The only real concerns are newly planted or newly transplanted young trees.”

Samantha Donato talked with us in Washtenaw County today and says, “It will be one of those things you’re telling your kids about whenever they come up the next time. It will probably be gross for a while.”

Too gross for some. In Cincinnati, Michelle Dillingham set up a Facebook Cicada Anxiety page. And a company there called Under the Weather made a safe suit made of a mesh screen to social distance with the bugs.

And if you decide to go to war, Russell says, “If you’re into revenge and mass murder of large noisy insects, then you’re free to do that. Even if you kill a hundred of them or a thousand of them in your yard, there will be more around sooner or later anyway.”

Birds, squirrels and other wildlife will get fat eating these. Your dog or cat could too. They’re safe. Some people might even try them!