Cicada invasion stragglers start to emerge

The cicada symphony that buzzed all last May and June is long gone, but you may actually see a few bugs leftover from Brood X for the next couple of weeks.

Trillions of cicadas emerged in 2021. Thankfully, fewer of the noisy bugs will emerge this year.



“Periodical cicadas are full of mysteries, and this is one. What we find with any particular brood of periodical cicadas, is that the great majority will emerge simultaneously in one year,” said University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp. “The cicadas that emerge a little bit earlier late are called stragglers.”

Raupp saw his first straggler Monday morning while out on a run in Columbia.

But one or two is all you might see over the next three to four weeks.

“We’re talking orders of magnitude — several orders of magnitude — less of these one-year stragglers that we might see this year,” Raupp said.

And you may not even hear the chorus of cicada sounds like we heard last year.

“They’ll all be gobbled up by birds and other predators before they reach maturity and can actually sing in the treetops,” Raupp said.

The reason they come a little late may be due to genetics. Environmental conditions may be a factor as well, like the trees they feed on.

“If it’s not in such good condition, perhaps they emerge a year late,” Raupp said.

And with so few cicadas from the brood emerging, it is unlikely that they will be mating this year.

“Odds are stacked way, way against them,” Raupp said. “So unfortunately, I think the cicada stragglers we see this year are simply doomed. They will probably perform the Darwin experiment and some of their foolish genes will be taken out of this cicada population.”

Luke Lukert

Since joining WTOP Luke Lukert has held just about every job in the newsroom from producer to web writer and now he works as a full-time reporter. He is an avid fan of UGA football. Go Dawgs!

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