Image of three colorful insects gathered on a plant

End to end, 1 trillion cicadas would reach to the moon and back 33 times!

Enigma/Alamy Stock Photo

Insect Invasion!

Last month, more than a trillion creatures started crawling out of the ground. Don’t worry—they’re not zombies! They’re insects called cicadas (sih-KAY-duhz).

Most species of cicadas come out once a year. But this spring, two huge broods, or groups, have arrived in the Midwest and Southeast. Brood XIX emerges once every 13 years. Brood XIII comes out every 17 years. This is the first time in 221 years that the two broods have arrived at the same time. 

 Jim McMahon/Mapman® 

Broods XIX and XIII are expected to emerge in about 17 states.

The Cicada Cycle 

Soon after they emerge, male cicadas start making a buzzing sound to attract females. The sound of millions of cicadas buzzing can be louder than a rock concert. 

Females live long enough to lay their eggs inside tree branches. The adult cicadas in the two broods will die before summer arrives. But their offspring will hatch and fall to the ground. After digging into the soil, they’ll feed on sap from trees and plants over the next 13 or 17 years. Then the cycle will start again.

  1. What might be another good title for this article? Explain. 
  2. Why are cicada Broods XIX and XIII unusual?
  3. What are two facts you can learn from the article’s map?
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