They’re here! Brood X emerges into 17-year spotlight

Late last week, periodic cicadas starting showing up all over in Morgan County.

Crunching, crawling and humming kicked into high gear in Morgan County since last week, as the Brood X periodic cicadas emerged for their 17-year appearance.

Experts say up to a million cicadas can be in an acre of land. Holes are visible all over the area where the insects crawled out of their underground burrows.

A full cicada life cycle is about six weeks long, meaning they’ll be local visitors for the entire month of June.

A cicada at Cacapon State Park goes through a final molt, becoming a winged adult.

Emerging cicadas go through a final molt of their exoskeleton before mating, laying their eggs in trees and dying. Local residents are seeing the empty exoskeleton on the undersides of plant leaves and on trees, and encountering the adult cicadas all over their yards.

The humming of cicadas are the male’s mating song. Females can hear the vibrations up to a mile away. Experts say the noise level can reach that of a loud lawn mower during peak song time.

Females will lay their eggs in slits on tree branches. Local folks are urged to protect young trees that may be injured by the process.

Other concerns are what household pets may do with the cicadas as they emerge. Pet owners are advised to watch their animals to make sure they don’t eat too many of the cicadas, which can cause digestive issues.

Cicadas don’t cause any harm to humans, but not everyone is celebrating their arrival in Morgan County and surrounding areas.