Cicadas are coming! When will western Massachusetts hear them?

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When are the cicadas coming

(WWLP) – People have been talking about the re-emergence of the very loud noise-making insect known as the cicada.

Western Massachusetts is actually just a little too far north to be part of their big return. While cicadas emerge every year, this year the Brood X (Brood 10) breed, will be making its return after 17 years.

The cicadas will make their way out of the soil and into the trees where they will make a very loud distinct sound in an effort to attract a mate. But it doesn’t look like we’ll be able to experience the Brood X cicada emergence in western Massachusetts.

What is a cicada?

A cicada is different from a locust. A locust would be a grasshopper and a cicada is a type of homoctura, related to aphids and stinkbugs. They are more tropical in the world. There are a lot of different species in the tropics, but we have a few different species here in North America. People are likely to see them every year because there’s a different species that is annual.

What we’re going to see here in the Northeast and the north-central region is this emergence of a 17-year cicada which is what we call Brood X. It’s phenomenal because this group will only emerge every 17 years. There are other groups that emerge on 11-year cycles and on 13-year cycles. What those numbers have in common is that they are prime numbers, so they cannot easily be replicated by other organisms that might, for example, prey on them.

Do cicadas bite?

Cicadas feed on leaves, they may mistake human skin as a plant if left on the body for a long enough time. Their legs can be prickly and may feel like irritation on the skin.

Dog-day cicadas

“We’re a little too far north. You get them a lot in Pennsylvania and in areas that are more south of us not really in this area. We do have annual cicadas often called dog day cicadas that you hear in the summertime.” Natasha Wright, an entomologist from Braman Termite and Pest Elimination

According to cicadamania.com, the states that will see Brood X are Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York (extinct or nearly so), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.

We will still hear cicadas during the summer and the sound they make can be up around 100 decibels. There is expected to be big emergence of the Brood 14 cicadas in Massachusetts in 2025.

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