This spring, billions of cicadas will swarm the northeastern United States. A group of periodical cicadas, known as a “brood,” emerges from underground every 17 or every 13 years depending on the species.
The emergence of the cicadas is a mark of the coming of spring. Each year brings a completely different brood. The largest brood, Brood X, last emerged in 2004, according to National Geographic.
While this spring’s numbers are not expected to break any records, there will still be billions of cicadas singing and swarming from Georgia to Connecticut.
When the temperature eight inches below ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit, the red-eyed “nymphs” will crawl to the surface.
After about a week they will shed their final skin and take flight. The males will sing to attract a mate, and the females will respond by flicking their wings. The mating dance ensues.
A project launched by WNYC and Radio Lab is predicting the emergence of cicadas using in-ground thermometers, and encouraging school children and the public to join in predicting this “once-in-a-generation invasion.”
They are even hosting workshops where you can build your own cicada detectors at locations around New York City. The 21+ event at Brooklyn Brewery on April 8 sold out.
It seems the springtime coming of the cicadas is proving to be a bit of DIY science that children of all ages can get behind.