Brood II Cicadas to Swarm East Coast Spring 2013

by LizM

The East coast of the U.S., from North Carolina up into New York, is set to be swarmed by millions of Brood II cicadas in the Spring of 2013.

They're baaaaaack! Spring 2013 marks 17 years since the last emergence of Brood II cicadas along the East coast of the U.S. Sometime between mid April and late May, millions of cicadas from Brood II are expected to emerge up the East coast. If they follow their parents' emergence in 1996 parts of Connecticut, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania and Virginia should all see vast numbers of these roughly 3 inch long bugs.

What are Cicada Broods

There are several types of cicadas in the U.S.  Some arrive every year, others arrive every year but with huge population bursts occasionally, and others make a spectacular emergence after long hibernation cycles underground.  These long cycle cicadas are called periodical cicadas and most have 13 or 17 year cycles.  These long cycle, periodical, cicadas are the ones we number with brood designations.  There are several different broods in the United States but most mapping data is based on very old maps (early 1900s).  A few broods have apparently died out but there are mapping projects underway to attempt to map current distributions and schedules of remaining broods.

Cicada Broods in the U.S.

Brood # Years States
I 17 VA, WV, TN
II 17 CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, VA
III 17 IA, IL, MO
IV 17 IA, KS, MO, NE, OK, TX
V 17 MD, OH, PA, VA, WV
VI 17 GA, NC, SC
VII 17 NY
VIII 17 OH, PA, WV
IX 17 NC, VA, WV
X 17 DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
XIII 17 IA, IL, IN, WI
XIV 17 KY, GA, IN, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WV
XIX 13 AL, AR, GA, IN, IL, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, VA
XXII 13 LA, MS
XXII 13 AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, TN

Data via: Cicadamania.com and Cicada Central

Brood II Cicada

Brood II Cicada
Brood II Cicada

Brood II Identification

Almost all cicadas look very much alike in structure.  However, their colors (along with when you see them) are an easy way to identify different broods.

For Brood II (and almost all 17 year varieties) look for black bodies, red eyes, orange wings, and orange legs.  17 year cicadas are NEVER GREEN.

What is that Sound?

The cicada song is a sound of comfort for some, for others it is an incessant drone that threatens to drive you mad.

 Click here to hear a sample of a cicada song.

Cicada song varies somewhat by brood and species of cicada but all are a droning type of sound.  When multiplied by millions of insects all singing at once the sound drowns out almost all other nighttime sounds.

Finding Cicadas

During an emergence you'll likely find the evidence of cicadas easier than live cicadas.  Cicadas emerge from the ground in nymph form, climb trees, and then shed their shell to emerge in adult form.  Trees will be dotted, and in some cases covered, with these small brown husks that the adult cicadas have left behind.

Adult cicadas are easier to find at night where they perch in trees to sing for a mate.  Take a flashlight and check trees and shrubs, you'll most likely find them easily during a large emergence.

Cicada Husk

Cicada Husk
Cicada Husk
Updated: 04/10/2013, LizM
 
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katiem2 on 04/11/2013

Yes they are coming, I can just hear that roar. This is an amazing scientific historical event. I was fascinated with this when younger, kids get so much from this experience. You never know how it may influence their love or disinterest in science. Great article. :)K

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