The Brood X cicadas are returning from underground after 17 years of burrowing. Around 1.5 million of these loud insects are expected to be flying around per acre for a few weeks but fret not, for they are harmless. Generally, it is best to leave these insects alone.

It's also best to know more about them when they arrive, especially with Allentown, PA and surrounding areas being the center of a large area of emergence. Learn more about the largest brood of cicadas and how to manage your lawn and landscape around their presence.


What are Brood X cicadas and why do they re-emerge after 17 years?

The Brood X cicada is the largest brood from the three species of periodical cicadas that emerge every 17 years. These insects are from the Hemiptera order and are known for their long life cycles.

These cicadas undergo five stages of development during their stay underground. Male adults will first emerge to mate with the female cicadas, who, on average, will lay about 500 eggs on small trees. Once these eggs hatch, cicada nymphs fall on the ground and burrow to feed on xylem or plant fluids from roots.

Here are some more interesting facts about the Brood X cicadas:

  • They have black bodies and orange wing veins, distinguishing them from annual cicadas that are black and green.
  • Only the male adults sing to attract the female for mating. When male adults are in a group, their sound can reach up to 100 decibels.
  • They operate on a survival plan called prey satiation. Periodical cicadas emerge in large numbers, so there will still be enough of them left for breeding and reproduction after predators attack most of them.

Brood X Will Emerge in Several Areas Including Pennsylvania

Brood X cicada near Allentown, PA.

Adult Brood X cicadas start emerging from below the ground once the soil reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. It usually happens in the first to the second week of May. There's no need to worry because they will eventually die in about four to six weeks.

Since they are the largest brood of cicadas, they cover quite a large area when they emerge. They usually appear in several states across the US, including southern Indiana, Ohio, Maryland, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey. There has also been Brood X emergence in areas around North Carolina and Tennesee.

However, they don't emerge all at once across the states. The ideal soil temperature they are looking for depends on the climate and rainfall of their location.

According to Pennsylvania's Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Southeast Pennsylvania, including the Allentown area, is the center of emergence in the region. However, the population of Brood X cicadas in Pennsylvania is overshadowed by those emerging in Indiana and Ohio.


Their Re-Emergence Actually Benefits Your Lawn

First, Brood X cicadas are harmless to humans and animals because they don't sting and do not carry venom or diseases. Most people confuse them for locusts, which are capable of wiping out fields of crops. Brood X cicadas actually provide more benefits than harm.

The tunnels they create when they emerge from the ground actually help your lawn because they mimic the action of aeration, providing your roots with better access to essential nutrients. Additionally, once the cicadas die, their decaying bodies can be buried in a deep hole or added to your compost to provide extra nutrients.

Because Brood X cicadas help more than they do hurt, insecticides are not necessary. There are too many of them to manage and they will die off within 4 to 6 weeks.

Once Brood X cicadas die, the massive amount of their decaying bodies provides nitrogen and nutrients that stimulate growth on your lawn.


For outstanding pest control in the Allentown, PA area, get in touch with us today!

There's not much to worry about the arrival of Brood X, but if your lawn has other pests problems like grubs or chinch bugs, we can help you! Hire our knowledgeable and seasoned team for any of your pest control needs.

Our crew here at Green Turf Care recognizes the importance of a resilient lawn. Along with pest control, we also provide additional lawn care services like fertilization and weed control to properties in Allentown, Bethlehem, Emmaus, PA and surrounding cities. Call us today at (484) 452-3595 for a pricing estimate.