Why are there no cicadas in Southern Maryland or on the Eastern Shore?

Most people in the D.C. area are getting a buzzing, constant reminder that cicadas have emerged from their 17-year slumber. But people in Southern Maryland and the Eastern Shore aren’t waking up to the Brood X alarm every morning.

Michael Raupp, a professor of entomology at the University of Maryland, said those areas do not see periodic cicadas for a combination of reasons.

“Many of these broods of cicadas evolved during periods of glaciation over the last 100,000 years or so. It could simply be that parts of our Eastern Shore was submerged underwater during times when glaciers receded and sea levels rose,” Raupp said.

Humans could be a factor as to why these the loud insects are not seen (or heard) in those areas.

“Remember during our Colonial period much of that land was cleared for agriculture,” Raupp said. “And basically, cicadas depend on trees. Once we deforest an area, cicadas will be gone.”

Raupp also said that cicada eggs do not do well in sandy soil that can be seen across the region.

But if you are hoping the brood will eventually migrate to your neck of the woods, you might be in luck. But you’ll have to wait a couple of hundred years.

“They only probably fly around 150 feet or so a year. So even though there are trees now in these areas, it would take several years for them to move to forested areas,” Raupp said.

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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