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In a rare occurrence, a trillion cicadas from two different broods are expected to emerge in the Midwest and Southeast regions of the United States at the end of April. This event, known as a dual emergence, will see Brood XIX, or the Great Southern Brood, and Brood XIII, or the Northern Illinois Brood, appearing together for the first time since 1803. It will be another 221 years before they align again. Forested areas, including urban green spaces, are more likely to see higher numbers of cicadas than agricultural regions.

The first cicadas are expected to start emerging in late April, once the soil reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit about six inches deep. They will tunnel out using their forelegs and their beady red eyes will search for a place to mature. Males will start buzzing to find a mate a few days after emerging. The emergence is expected to last about six weeks in the Midwest and Southeast, meaning they will die not far from where they emerged.

The first waves of cicadas will emerge in states like Louisiana, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, and South Carolina before moving to North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri, Illinois, and Kentucky. Finally, they will appear in Missouri, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Iowa. Cicadas don’t bite or sting and don’t carry diseases, but they can end up on sidewalks and streets where they can be squished by people or cars. In urban areas, their bodies can be used as fertilizer for plants.

It is not recommended to get rid of cicadas as they are beneficial to the environment. They act as natural tree gardeners by aerating the soil, allowing rainwater to reach tree roots, and providing nutrients when they die. The holes they leave in the ground help with tree growth, and the slits they make in trees can cause branches to break and lead to larger fruits. It’s advised to let the cicadas be in their natural habitat, as trying to kill them with insecticide would be ineffective and harmful to other organisms in the ecosystem.

In regions where the dual emergence will occur, it’s best to protect delicate plants with special netting if necessary. Cicadas are not harmful to pets, but it’s not recommended to let dogs gorge themselves on the insects as it can lead to intestinal blockage. The cicadas’ buzzing may be loud as a chorus, but they play a crucial role in the ecosystem. In the end, it’s important to coexist with these bugs as they are a natural part of the forest environment.

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