Monday, May 17, 2021

Cicadas! Brood X Emergence 2021

Pmjacoby, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The Brood X emergence has begun! 

Have you heard all the hype about the 17-year cicadas? Let me quickly explain...

Cicadas come in two different types: annual cicadas and periodical cicadas. The annual ones come out every year and are seen throughout the United States. But the periodical cicadas are unique in that they remain underground for 13 or 17 years and then emerge en masse

These periodical cicadas are only found here in the United States (weird, right?). And there are groups of them that emerge all at the same time. Actually, there are roughly 15 known groups that are recognized and monitored by scientists. These groups are called Broods and each brood is assigned a Roman Numeral for identification. These emergences are only found in the eastern and central U.S. 

And when I say emerge, what I mean to say is EMERGE. Because literally trillions of them come out all at the same time and they seem to just cover everything around them like some sort of plague. Ha. But not so much a plague because for some animals it is more like winning the lotto. All sorts of animals feast during the cicada emergence including snakes, skunks, owls, bats, songbirds, turtles, frogs, foxes... I mean everything. Watch this excellent video from BBC Earth:

A few hours before I sat down to write this, the first cicadas from Brood X have started to emerge from the ground. 

I wanted to share a few cicada resources with you in case this is something you'll be studying with your kids. And if you actually live in a place where this years emergence is happening...I'm jealous!

Cicada Biology & Emergences


First, I wrote this more detailed article about cicadas (specifically, periodical cicadas) for Woo! Jr. It comes with free printable activity sheets for you to use. Lots of fun in this one. I'm especially proud of it. 

Cicada Day

Second, I happened upon this hilarious, but oh-so-fun-and-educational webpage from Purdue University. Seriously, those entomology people are crazy creative and have fantastic sense of humor. It's titled, Digital Bug Bowl 2021: Cicada Day. And you'll find great videos embedded, including how to make an origami cicada and how to make cicada cookies (using cricket powder!). Oh. My. Gosh. It's crazy fun!

Books About Cicadas

And last, here are some fantastic children's books on cicadas for you to check out of the library or buy at your local bookstore, OR you can just click on the links below to purchase from Amazon using my affiliate links. 

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