Brood X is the largest and most widespread group of periodical cicadas in the United States.  


This fascinating once-in-17 years phenomenon is imminent in a couple of weeks and for children who are interested in nature and the extraordinary happenings of the natural world, TIME’s animated guide to this year’s Brood X cicada emergence should be an engrossing read.


Brood X, otherwise known as the great cicada hatching of 2021, is drawing closer as soil temperatures in some parts of America move closer to 64F (18C) – the trigger, according to scientists, for trillions of the insects to push up to the surface and into the trees to mate. It is a remarkable 17-year-life cycle for the hordes of bugs, who form different broods that emerge at different times and who remain underground for almost their entire lives before briefly emerging to mate and then die.

Their emergence is a bonanza for predators, including copperhead snakes, who are also eagerly awaiting Brood X’s return to the surface. Birds, squirrels, bats, wasps, mantises, spiders and robber flies are also set to feast on the swarm.

– Edward Helmore for The Guardian, 11 May 2021 


Every 17 years, trillions of Brood X cicadas emerge from below ground, ready to party. Just about as quickly as they emerge, the cicadas will all be gone. The adults will be left to decompose on the ground, and newly hatched nymphs will burrow into the soil, their home for the next 17 years until, like clockwork, the cycle begins anew.

– Lon Tweeten & Rebecca Katzman for TIME, May 12, 2021


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