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When are the Brood X cicadas coming? This map and tracker app will tell you

Get ready for an amazing show, 17 years in the making.

When are the Brood X cicadas coming? This map and tracker app will tell you
[Photo: Alexander Hasenkampf/iStock]
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The cicadas are coming!

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Sometime in the very near future, residents in 15 states can expect swarms of Brood X cicadas, an event that happens once every 17 years. Billions of the not-so-tiny critters will fill the skies this spring and summer. Typically, they begin to emerge from the ground in early to mid-May, when the soil hits 64 degrees.

According to Cicada Safari, a smartphone app that lets users track their whereabouts, southern states will be the first to witness the invasion, followed by southern Indiana and Ohio, then Maryland, and later Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Parts of Michigan can expect them in May and June.

The Brood X cicadas were last spotted in 2004, when smartphone app tracking was not really a thing. This year, though, Cicada Safari is crowd-sourcing efforts to track them. Users can download the free app, take pictures of the little buggers, document their location, and send them in.

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The app was created by Gene Kritsky, an insect expert, who worked with Mount St. Joseph University’s Center for IT Engagement in Cincinnati. You can download it here:

If you’re wondering where, exactly, the Brood X cicadas will appear, the University of Connecticut has you covered. The school has two interactive maps that display the cicadas’ expected location based on a database of records from past appearances.

Does all of this have you a little freaked out? Not to worry. The bugs aren’t dangerous. They’re just noisy—or, rather, the males, who do all the singing, are noisy. Expect to have to deal with them for about four to six weeks, and then it will all be over until 2038.

About the author

Christopher Zara is a senior staff news editor for Fast Company and obsessed with media, technology, business, culture, and theater. Before coming to FastCo News, he was a deputy editor at International Business Times, a theater critic for Newsweek, and managing editor of Show Business magazine

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