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Brood X cicadas are coming, but will Wisconsin see them?

Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 6:29 PM CDT
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EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) - This summer millions of cicadas will emerge from the ground after spending 17 years dwelling beneath the surface.

Brood, or group, X will be popping up in the eastern region of the country. According to UW-Eau Claire Professor and Chair of Biology, Dr. Paula Kleintjes Neff, this species is the most common in our region.

“Brood X is called the great eastern brood because it’s one of the largest and it cover so many states,” Kleintjes said.

There are over 3,000 species of cicadas and only seven of them are periodical that come out from underground after 13 years or 17 years. There has been speculation on why these insects live out most of their lives underground. One hypothesis might be if they come out in large numbers, it could potentially overwhelm predators. Another reason, according to UW-La Crosse professor of biology Barrett Klein, could be to stay out of the way of other broods.

“If you appear every 13 years or every 17 years and alternating years in different geographic locations maybe you won’t compete with other species of cicadas,” Klein said.

Wisconsin won’t see brood X this year, but brood XIII will be making an appearance in a few years in the southern regions of the state.

“The last time we saw a major emergence of these periodical cicadas one of the major broods was back in 2007, don’t dismay you can take part of this deafening emergence and experience when they return in 2024,” Klein said.

What we will see this year are the annual cicadas. They’re called “dog days” cicadas and usually come out around mid July.

" We have annual cicadas or couple year cicadas that will spent life underground for a few years and then emerge and that’s the one we typically hear we hear out,” Kleintjes said.

They dog days and periodical cicadas do look different.

“The periodical cicadas are black with red eyes with red lines in their wings where dog day cicada’s are typically paler green to brown,” Klein said.

That noise that reminds us summer is here, is actually the matting call of male cicadas. They sometimes gather in large groups making the sound louder.

If you want to see this years brood X cicadas, you can take a roundtrip to Indiana or a number of other states. There is also an app you can download, Cicada Safari, to see if there are any brood cicada sightings near you.

For information on the app and to learn about periodical cicadas, click here.

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