For Their Final Act, Baby Brood X Cicadas Are About to Start Falling Out of Trees
Sorry y'all, but Brood X isn't done with us yet.
While the adult cicadas have died off following a six-week frenzy of eating, mating, and general pandemonium, the next generation is just getting started. Now that the adult stage of their life cycle is complete, experts say we have the egg-hatching stage to look forward to.
After about six weeks of incubating inside the woody branches where their mothers laid them, the cicada nymphs hatch and fall to the ground. Then they burrow into the soil to feed on the sap of tree roots for the next 17 years.
That's right, millions of baby cicadas are about to start falling out of trees.
Before you start panicking, biologist Dr. John Lill of George Washington University told WUSA9 that there's nothing to worry about. In fact, most people won't even notice the insects, which he described as "smaller than an ant" at that point.
"They're not going to harm people," Lill told the station. "You'd have to look really closely to even see them."
According to University of Maryland Extension, the eggs will hatch from late July to mid-August, depending on location. In parts of the 15 states where Brood X emerged earlier this summer, changing tree colors are beginning to signal the final chapter in this periodical phenomenon.
Branch dieback, also known as "flagging," is a tree's response to having eggs deposited inside its branches. This condition causes leaves to change color and branches to split and break.
"This damage is not serious," the University of Maryland Extension notes. "The trees will easily replace branches that have been broken or pruned' by cicadas."
Mother Nature never ceases to amaze us.