Brood X cicadas to emerge

RUTLEDGE – Brood X cicadas are set to emerge in Tennessee after 17 years, and Grainger County will be a host to the infestation. 

Brood X cicadas have black bodies, clear wings and red eyes. The cicadas also have orange veins on the wings, in comparison to annual green cicadas, and are one to two inches in length with a wingspan of three to four inches. 

Brood X cicadas emerge anywhere from late April to early May depending on the weather and the latitude of their location. Soil temperatures must reach 67 degrees at four inches deep before the insects will emerge for their mating season. 

Male cicadas will make a high-pitched shrill call in an attempt to attract a mate. 

The cicadas are known to finish mating early when the weather is consistently dry and warm. Female cicadas will lay as many as 600 eggs on pencil-sized twigs of trees and shrubs. The eggs will hatch six to 10 weeks later and wingless nymphs will burrow anywhere from six to 18 inches underground and will re-emerge 17 years later. 

The lifespan of Brood X cicadas is four to six weeks, which is one of the longest life spans of an insect. The insects should begin to die from late June into early July. 

Brood X cicadas are one of the largest populations of the periodical insect. They are located from northern Georgia to New York and can be found in groups as large as 1.5 million insects per acre of land.

The insects aren’t known to bite, but instead have prickly feet, which could pierce the hand if held. According to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), they don’t pose a large threat to crops with the exception of small or newly planted grape vines and fruit or hardwood trees. 

Anyone who would like more information about Brood X cicadas and what to expect can visit www.grainger.tennessee.edu/.