Millions of cicadas in the skies over the United States

Millions of cicadas in the skies over the United States will soon be observed; being the next natural phenomenon to grab the attention of citizens.

It will be a confluence of creatures the likes of which has never been seen in the United States since Thomas Jefferson was president, and will not occur again until 2245.

Millions of cicadas in the skies over the United States is a rare insect apparition that some refer to as the “cicada apocalypse.”

Billions of cicadas will surface this spring, with the simultaneous appearance of two different clutches.

One of the cicada clutches appears every 13 years and the other every 17 years.

The 13-year group, known as brood XIX, or the Great Southern Brood, is the largest periodic brood of cicadas, and is spread across the southeastern United States.

While the other brood in northern Illinois, or Brood XIII, emerges every 17 years.

This will generate millions of cicadas in U.S. skies to be observed in the month of May.

“It’s rare that we see a double brood of this magnitude,” said Dr. Jonathan Larson, an entomologist and adjunct professor at the University of Kentucky.


An apocalypse: Millions of cicadas in the skies over the United States

While the idea of a cicada apocalypse may seem foreboding, experts predict that the two broods will not overlap significantly, and the insects themselves, though noisy and numerous, are harmless.

Here’s what to know before cicada season begins.

The truth is that biologists have warned citizens not to be concerned about this natural phenomenon because of the millions of cicadas in the skies over the United States.

This spring’s insects are part of a genus or group of cicadas in the eastern U.S. known as Magicicada, or periodical cicadas.

Three species emerge in a 17-year cycle, and four species in a 13-year cycle. (Scientists have long debated the significance of these numbers, which are prime; some researchers have suggested that emerging in these prime years makes periodical cicadas less likely to be killed by predators that have two- or three-year life cycles, but there is still no consensus.)

The pattern followed by periodical species is different from that of “annual” cicadas, which do not actually have an annual life cycle, even though they can be seen every summer in much of the United States.


The nymphs, or larvae, of annual cicadas spend two to five years underground, growing slowly, until they are ready to emerge. There are so many overlapping generations that there seems to be a steady stream of these cicadas each year.

It is easy to distinguish annual cicadas from periodical cicadas. Annuals tend to emerge later than periodicals.

It is important to note that annual cicadas of the genus Neotibicen tend to emerge in August, while periodicals emerge in the spring.

Although there are numerous species of annual cicadas, many of them are large and greenish. Periodical cicadas are smaller and mostly black, with bright red eyes and orange-tinged wings and legs.

Cicadas are divided into groups called broods based on when they emerge. A brood may contain cicadas of several species.

Millions of cicadas in the skies over the United States will make their emergence when the ground temperature 20 centimeters deep reaches 18 degrees Celsius.

This is likely to occur in mid-May.

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