Alert: Brood XIII (17-year) and Brood XIX (13-year) emerge in 2024.  

When you walk out your door you may hear a sound of a humming noise, I thought I was hearing a machine running in my neighbor’s yard, but to my surprise it was the sound of the humming cicadas. The last time these broods co-emerged was 1803. 

Trillions of insects are emerging from the ground to make the racket of a buzzing as they breed. They are cicadas, and their song that deep, raspy hum coming from the trees is well-known in the South. The bugs emerge about late April as the ground warms up, and they hang around through late September. 

Once cicadas’ nymphs have emerged from the ground, they will try to find a tree or similar vertical surface, and then begin the process of shedding their old nymph skins expanding their wings and changing to their adult coloring.  

Cicadas don’t sting or bite, they feed on plant fluid, and they aren’t venomous. Most people are familiar with their empty shells hanging from trees or wooden structures, evidence that the nymphs have grown into the flying insects and have taken to the branches. 

You will see adults are flying around, calling for mates and that is what all the noise is, males calling for a mate. It is loud, in fact, the loudest insect in the world is a cicada from Africa. 

The nymphs, whose shells people see, are the longest-lived life stage, which is spent underground so you don’t see them most of their lives. 

Occasionally, they may be munched on by pets, but nothing to really worry about. Fluffy the cat or Fido the dog may get upset stomachs from noshing on them, but that’s about the extent of any discomfort or problems. If you time your walks, supervise and limit outdoor activities during the warmer times of the day, where cicadas are more active.   

If possible, keep dogs and cats away from areas with large cicada populations. If walking a dog, keep them on a leash to prevent them from wandering off and potentially encountering and ingesting cicadas.  If you have a fenced yard, consider inspecting it for any gaps or holes where cicadas might enter. Patching up small gaps can help keep cicadas out and your pets safe.  In situations where people are unable to prevent their dogs from eating cicadas while in the yard or if the dog isn’t accustomed to being leashed, using a muzzle during potty breaks could be a temporary solution.  However, this should only be considered if the dog has been properly trained to wear a muzzle.  

 During periodic cicada years, more than 1.5 million of the insects can emerge per acre. You and look for cicada chimneys a.k.a. turrets. These are structures cicadas build out of the soil, positioned above the hole where they will emerge. Look for holes in the diameter of an adult’s finger near the root system of a tree. These are sure signs that cicadas will emerge in the area, and you might discover some cicada nymphs while turning over stones or when performing landscaping chores. 

By the way you fishermen out there THEY MAKE GOOD BAIT! It’s natural bait and the big bass love ’em! 

Take a walk out in your backyard and through the woods, go on an adventure like this cute little guy, Emmett Pearce (son of reporter Savannah Logan) who is so excited about his cicadas!