Billions of Noisy Cicadas Are About to Emerge Across 12 States

Spring is going to be buzzing.

when will cicadas emerge
Shutterstock/Mark Brandon

A unique event is about to occur in the US. Billions of cicadas that have been living and growing underground for 17 years will emerge for a noisy month-long rendezvous. It's not just a few of the impressively loud little bugs. Even saying "billions" feels like understating the situation when National Geographic puts the estimate at hundreds of billions and the National Park Service even says trillions in a tweet.

The summer buzzing of cicadas is familiar, but there are times when it has the potential to become deafening as millions emerge simultaneously, hang around for about a month, breed, and die. This happens when periodical cicadas emerge together once every 13 or 17 years, depending on the brood. According to Nat Geo, there are 3,000 species of cicadas, and only seven have these distinctive synchronized lifecycles. All seven of those make their home in the central and eastern United States. 

This large group, known as Brood X, will hang out in the fresh air for the first time since Shrek 2 dominated the box office, and J-Kwon explained exactly how many people in the club were getting tipsy. It's going to be very noisy in the areas where Brood X comes out because it's one of the largest broods around.

The brood spans 12 states, per NBC News. That area includes Illinois at the western edge, Georgia to the south, and runs all the way up to New York in the northeast corner of their territory.

The ready-to-mingle cicadas will emerge in late April or early May, whenever the ground is warm enough. Once they're out and about, the newly emerged cicadas will shed their skins, started singing for a mate, breed, and unceremoniously pop their clogs en masse a few weeks after their arrival. Such is the great cycle of cicada life. 

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat.

Dustin Nelson is a Senior Staff Writer at Thrillist. Follow Dustin Nelson on Twitter.