Brood X cicadas emerging in East Tennessee

Tennessee News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – It’s about to get very loud in East Tennessee as Brood ‘X’ of periodical cicadas starts to emerge beginning in May.

Brood ‘X’ emerges every 17 years in areas stretching from the Midwest to the East Coast. While there may be a few of this brood here in Middle Tennessee, much greater numbers are expected to the East.

Dr. Stephen Richter, Professor of Biology at Eastern Kentucky University tells News 2 that there are two types of cicadas.

“Every year, annual cicadas, sometimes called Dog Day cicadas, emerge. Periodical cicadas emerge every 13 or 17 years.”

While many are afraid of cicadas, they pose no threat to humans or pets. They don’t carry any diseases and do not bite or sting. They can damage young trees but typically cause no crop damage.

One thing you may notice is an abundance of animals taking advantage of the plentiful food supply that’s created as Brood ‘X’ emerges in East Tennessee. Dr. Richter says that copperheads are known to eat these periodical cicadas.

“There’s this great resource of food that’s coming out, and lots of animals take advantage of that. Copperheads aren’t unique in that,” he said.

If you plan to spend time outdoors in East Tennessee through mid-June, you’ll want to keep an eye out, especially during the evening hours when these venomous snakes are most likely to feed on the cicadas. 

“Just staying clear of stepping over logs without looking where you’re stepping or putting your hand under things where you can’t see; looking where you’re stepping is always smart in the Smokies especially.”

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