What's all the buzz about?

Brood X coming en masse to 15 states on the east coast, including North Carolina

Discovery Place Kids Huntersville

Every summer, starting in late June, the signs of cicadas appear. Even though catching a glimpse of the dark green insect is rare, we hear their calls and find their molted exoskeletons on the trees. If we see cicadas every summer, what’s all the buzz about Brood X?

Brood X is a group of periodical cicadas that only emerge every 17 years. The adults coming out this summer hatched in 2004, the last time we saw Brood X. These cicadas have been living underground counting the summers until it’s time to emerge. Unlike our annual cicadas, these periodical cicadas have bright red eyes, black bodies and red-veined wings.

Cicada CARD

Cicadas are a popular prey item for many animals, including birds, racoons and even copperheads. Coming out together in a giant swarm helps these insects survive. With millions of cicadas emerging at once, there’s just no way they can all be eaten. Don’t worry if any outdoor pets want to snack on a cicada, they are non-toxic! In fact, they are even popping up in human recipes! Just make sure you and your pets don’t eat too many.

It might seem like a plague of locusts when Brood X appears, but cicadas and locusts aren’t related. Locusts are kin to grasshoppers, which can cause damage to crops and plants. Cicadas are a type of true bug and pose little to no threat to plants. If you are concerned about cicada damage, cover your plants and trees with nets to keep the cicadas off instead of using pesticides.

Cicada 1

It’s unlikely that any cicadas from Brood X will be in Charlotte this summer, but there are some areas of western North Carolina that could see the swarm. Don’t be disappointed if you don’t see Brood X this summer because we still have our annual cicadas to look forward to, plus Charlotte is scheduled to see Brood XIX in 2024!


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