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The 17 Year Cicadas are Returning to Parts of North Carolina

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Over the next few weeks you may begin to the see & hear the distinctive sights and sounds of the 17 year Cicadas returning after their hiatus. Now they aren’t returning everywhere in our area just locations from around Lake Norman North.You can’t  miss the sound or miss their appearance once you see them. These little guys are waking up after being in the ground for 17 years.


The sound of Cicadas from Cicadas Singing in Princeton in 2004 by cicadamania

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Now due also to so much construction and changes since 1996 they may not return everywhere. Here’s a look at the map of their possible locations. You can see areas along I-40 North have the best chance of seeing them.  Areas around the nationals capital and New York will see the biggest swarms.

Brood II (17 year) or Eastern Brood Cicada Map:

Creditmagicicada.org.

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These bugs may seem scary but they are completely harmless and they return in such large numbers to defeat their predators. Here is a great check list of information from Cicadamania.com.

Are they coming to town?

Read this first:

  • This page is strictly dedicated to the Magicicada periodical cicadas (aka 17 and 13-year cicadas, and “locusts”).
  • This is what they look like: Red eyes, orange wings, and black bodies
    Magicicada septendecim
  • This does not cover annual cicada species (cicadas that arrive every year), or cicadas outside of the United States.
  • Magicicadas only emerge in the Spring and very early Summer (April-June). If you find cicadas in mid July to September, they are not Magicicadas.
  • If you’re in the right area, but in the wrong year, you might find some “stragglers”, which are Magicicada that emerge ahead of time (or after).

Figuring out if they’re coming to your town:

  1. Verify that they’re coming to your state. Check the Magicicada Brood Chart on this page.
  2. Check Cicada Brood Maps linked from this page to see if they’re coming to your general area.
  3. Check to see if they’re coming to your neighborhood. Good sources include:
    1. Check the Cicada Central Magicicada Database to see the counties where cicadas have appeared in the past.
    2. Ask someone who lived there 17 (or 13) years before.
    3. Old timers (hint: old timers usually call them locusts).
    4. Check your local Library for old newspaper articles.
    5. Check with a local college: contact the biology or agriculture departments.
    6. Your local county and town parks department (parks and rec). Some county parks departments plan events around cicada emergences.
  4. When will they emerge?
    1. They will emerge sometime in the Spring, for sure.
    2. They typically emerge once the soil 8 inches below the surface gets to 64 degreesFahrenheit.
    3. Cicadas in sunny areas of your yard will emerge before cicadas in shady areas.
    4. Cicadas in the southern-most states will emerge before cicadas in northern states.
    5. You can try the Cicada Emergence Formula as well.
  5. They’re coming, and I have baby trees!
    1. Spray them off with a garden hose.
    2. Foil around the trunk (to keep them from crawling up) (thanks Deborah).
    3. Insect barrier tape.
    4. Place netting over your precious ornamental trees: Try a landscaping supply place – where you bought the baby trees in the first place.
    5. Bagpipes (no joke, it worked at my friend’s wedding).
    6. Don’t use pesticide – we like all insects (especially pollinating bees).
  6. They’re coming, and they scare me!
    • Get a grip! They’re only bugs.
    • Try a hat, an umbrella, a bee-keepers’ outfit, a suit of armor…
  7. They’re coming, and they’re going to ruin my wedding!

Other Broods of Cicadas.

Magicicada Brood Chart
Brood Life span ( 17 or 13 year ) Year Where? Maps
I 17 1944, 1961, 1978, 1995, 2012, 2029 TN, VA, WVA Brood I map(Magicicada.org)
II 17 1945, 1962, 1979, 1996,2013 CT, MD, NC, NJ, NY, PA, VA Brood II map
III 17 1946, 1963, 1980, 1997,2014 IA, IL, MO Brood III map
IV 17 1947, 1964, 1981, 1998,2015 IA, KS, MO, NE, OK, TX Brood IV map
V 17 1948, 1965, 1982, 1999,2016 OH, PA, VA, WVA Brood V map
VI 17 1949, 1966, 1983, 2000,2017 GA, NC, SC Brood VI map(Magicicada.org)
VII 17 1950, 1967, 1984, 2001,2018 NY Brood VII map
VIII 17 1951, 1968, 1985, 2002,2019 OH, PA, WVA Brood VIII map
IX 17 1952, 1969, 1986, 2003,2020 NC, VA, WVA Brood IX map
X 17 1953, 1970, 1987, 2004,2021 DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WVA, Washington DC Brood X map
XIII 17 1956, 1973, 1990, 2007,2024 IA, IL, IN, MI, WI Brood XIII map
XIV 17 1957, 1974, 1991, 2008,2025 KY, GA, IN, MA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, WVA Brood XIV map
XIX 13 1972, 1985, 1998, 2011,2024 AL, AR, GA, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, VA Brood XIX map
XXII 13 1962, 1975, 1988, 2001,2014 LA, MS Brood XXII map
XXIII 13 1963, 1976, 1989, 2002,2015 AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, TN Brood IV map(Magicicada.org)