COLUMBIA, Md. — Sifting through a shovel load of dirt in a suburban backyard, Michael Raupp and Paula Shrewsbury find their quarry: a cicada nymph.
And then another. And another. And four more.
In maybe a third of a square foot of dirt, the University of Maryland entomologists find at least seven cicadas — a rate just shy of a million per acre. A nearby yard yielded a rate closer to 1.5 million.
And there’s much more afoot. Trillions of the red-eyed black bugs are coming, scientists say.
Within days, a couple weeks at most, the cicadas of Brood X (the X is the Roman numeral for 10) will emerge after 17 years underground. There are many broods of periodic cicadas that appear on rigid schedules in different years, but this is one of the largest and most noticeable. They’ll be in 15 states from Indiana to Georgia to New York; they’re coming out now in mass numbers in Tennessee and North Carolina.
Asscording to a report by USA Today, “there are three major patches where you’re likely to see the largest swarms of these cicadas, according to periodical cicada expert and dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph University, Gene Kritsky:
- The southeast corner of Pennsylvania, almost all of Maryland, parts of Delaware and New Jersey, and a few areas in New York.
- Ohio, almost the entire state of Indiana, a few areas in eastern Illinois, and northwest and eastern parts of Kentucky.
- Western North Carolina, east Tennessee and a scattering around…