Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Cicada Emergence Coming Soon In Pennsylvania

One of the "big" seventeen year broods of cicadas are starting to emerge near Washington, DC, with reports of Brood II of the magicicada as far north as suburban DC over the weekend.  Unlike the annual "dog day" cicadas that emerge each July and August, these cicadas are larger, appear in greater quantities, and will crawl around parts of the region in the next several weeks as these bugs appear from the ground, molt their skins, dry out, and fly around looking for a male or female to mate with, only to die and allow their offspring to relive the circle of life underground for most of the next seventeen years before re-emerging in 2030.

The cicada brood that's scheduled to emerge this year is more numerous in concentration in Eastern Pennsylvania according to cicada watchers.  It looks like the core of cicada emergence this year with the cyclical brood is lined up along Blue Mountain from Harrisburg east-northeast through Allentown and into the Poconos and into New Jersey.  Isolated pockets of Brood II emergence are possible in the Brood X areas around Philadelphia as well but, according to cicada watchers are cicada.info, the brood breakouts tend not to overlap in the same geographic areas.  We'll see if that ultimately is the case.  Past research through the University of Connecticut shows Brood II reports into the Philadelphia suburbs and across a fair chunk of New Jersey.

Soil temperature will be the critical factor for cicada emergence. Consistent soil temperatures above 64 degrees in the one to two foot region in the soil will help nudge the cicada towards the surface and to begin its ritual.  Those temperatures are very near that magic mark in South Jersey and are pretty close to it in Southeastern Pennsylvania -- meaning it won't be much longer before cicadas begin to emerge around here.