What is Cicadas?

8 May 2021.


Cicadas are the world longest living insects. They are winged, red eyed insects that live underground feeding on the roots. They emerge from the underground once in 12-17 years. Recently, it has been predicted that a group of Cicadas called the “Brood X Cicadas” are to emerge across the mid-Atlantic for the first time since 2004.

About Cicadas

  • In 1634, pilgrims in Massachusetts witnessed the insects springing from the earth.
  • They called them “locusts” as they emerged in swarms.
  •  However, they are not harmful like locusts. This is because they mainly feed on tree leaves. This was the first written record of Cicadas.
  •  Around seven species of Cicadas emerge every 13 to 17 years in the East coast and mid west of the US.

What is Brood X?

  • Brood X is  the biggest of the fifteen known Cicadas. 
  • They are to emerge in Ohio, Indiana, Maryland, Washington DC, Indiana. 
  • Cicadas molt as they emerge from underground.
  • Molt is to shed skin or hair or feathers paving way for the new growth.
  •  The molts add up to the  nutrients to the soil.
  • The total biomass of cicadas is greater than the biomass of cattle the area can support if it were to be turned into pastures.
  • There are more than three thousand Cicadas on the earth. However, only seven are periodical. Some believe that the long underground periods are to avoid predators.


  • As they emerge from the underground, they live in trees feeding on leaves. 
  • The desert Cicadas regulate their body temperatures by evaporative cooling.

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