Swarmageddon is Coming!

Heads up East Coast – The Invasion is almost here!

Magicicada Brood II is a 17-year periodic cicada due to make its appearance this spring along the east coast from New England to North Carolina. Sometime within the next 6 weeks, billions of nymphs will crawl up out of the ground, molt and have the biggest and noisiest cicada orgy since 1996.

Oh Hai! I hear there’s a party going on.

Hear a loud sample of the festivities. WARNING: turn down your speakers.

The party goes on for 6 weeks. After mating, the females will lay eggs in the tips of tree branches. The eggs hatch, the nymphs fall to the ground and burrow, starting another 17-year cycle.

Radiolab of WNYC of New York set up a Cicada Tracker Crowdsourcing Project to collect data from home-built soil thermometers to predict the date of Swarmageddon.When soil temperatures 8 inches down in the ground reach a steady 64°F, the emergence will begin.

All the instructions are on the website to build your own set-up, or you can do what I did and stick the compost thermometer 8 inches in the ground, take a reading once in the morning, and once in the evening, average it and enter the information at the Tracker website. If you don’t have a compost thermometer around, you can use a long meat thermometer if the range goes low enough, or buy a soil thermometer for about $8.

Yesterday, my soil temp was 48, today it’s 50. It shouldn’t be more than 2 or 3 weeks.

In my life, I don’t remember any emergence being  particularly annoying or even noticeable. Even the huge Brood X from 2004 wasn’t a bother here. But this year, I’m not going to miss the party. If it’s not in my neighborhood, I’ll go looking for it.

On a final note, the cicadas are harmless. They don’t eat crops, they won’t bite you. They are just a nuisance and will be gone by mid-July. I’m going to enjoy the show.


6 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by meowie on April 9, 2013 at 8:25 am

    So psyched for SeanE to get to see them!!!


  2. Posted by bhd on April 9, 2013 at 5:15 pm

    So sorry to be missing this again! We moved from NJ to IL during an emergence. Our dogs went nuts eating the cicadas (but spitting out their heads). The movers were freaked out! LOL!


  3. HOLY CRAP! The soil temp is up to 57°F. It jumped 7 degrees in on day. I didn’t expect it to warm up that fast.
    It won’t be long now.


  4. Posted by susan quinn on April 16, 2013 at 10:42 am

    no offense, but it would seem that cicadas are in my garden every year. I see so many cicada shells at the end of the season, that I really wonder if they just come out every 17 years…..


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