Brood XIX set to crawl out to complete life cycle in coming weeks

Fans of things that are creepy and crawly will get to experience an upcoming event that happens once every 13 years as the cicadas are set to come out to breed and finish their life cycle before new creatures return underground.

This year marks the end of two cicada cycles that includes Brood XIX, last seen in 2011 and Brood XIII, coming out for a 17-year cycle end in the upper Midwest (eastern Iowa, Northern Illinois and the southern half of Wisconsin.)

Cicadas come out in two periods: a shorter 13-year cycle which concludes this spring across the southeast, for instance, and a 17-year cycle that provides a brood coming out annually in areas around the eastern half of the United States.

The last time that Brood XIX came out in 2011, they were spotted all across North Georgia. Polk County is among the areas where they are expected to take their final forms after crawling from underground and taking flight toward the trees where their songs hum loudly as trillions of the bugs emerge to mate.

(Map via the U.S. Forest Service)

Cicadas that emerge then die off after mating, providing an increased food source to a variety of animals as the next generation heads underground and the 13-year cycle (in our area) continues.

Brood XIX is the largest of all the broods that emerge, and the cicadas will be coming out in a swath that ranges from a single county in southern Virginia down to eastern Mississippi, and also includes areas of Tennessee, southern Illinois, most of Missouri, Arkansas and a few counties in northern Louisiana.

Cicadas don’t typically move far from where they were born, so the broods typically stay in place and continue the cycle in a predictable fashion. Of note, there are more 17-year cycle broods than there are 13-year cycle broods in the eastern half of the United States (ranging from New York to Texas.)

Expect cicadas to begin emerging once the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees (so probably by May) and they’ll only be around for about a month. Once they mate, the adults die off.

Hatchlings after emerging from eggs laid on leaves then fall to the ground and burrow themselves into the soil, taking 13 years to reach their adult stage and emerge to continue the cycle.

Per 11Alive reporting first posted on Wednesday, Cicadas were spotted all across North Georgia (but they didn’t mention any in Polk in 2011.) They are one of the several counties in Northwest Georgia expecting the noisy buzzing to persist until their mating season subsides.

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