Virginia Ranks Among Most Alert for Impending Cicadas

Fact Checked by Nate Hamilton

Do you hear that noise? If not, you probably will soon.

In late May and into June, periodical cicadas will be emerging from under the ground in parts of the United States, including Virginia. This year, for the first time in 200 years, two different broods with 13-year and 17-year life cycles are emerging at once – meaning, a lot of cicadas. It is a significant ecological event, so BetVirginia.com took a pause from Virginia sports betting coverage to check out which states are the most alert for the impending cicada emergence.

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States Most Alert for Cicadas

Rank

State

Search Interest Score

1

Missouri

100

2

Tennessee

85

3

Illinois

55

4

Alabama

51

5

South Carolina

27

6

North Carolina

25

7

Arkansas

18

8

Kentucky

17

9

Virginia

15

10

Mississippi

14

Note: The search period was a 24-hour search done on May 13, 2024.

According to our research, Virginia ranks ninth among states most interested in searching for information about the cicada phenomenon. The commonwealth, which is home to Virginia sports betting apps, has a search interest score of 15, just behind Kentucky (search interest score of 17) and just ahead of the state that rounds out our top 10, Mississippi (14).

Missouri ranks highest with a search interest score of 100, followed by Tennessee (55).

Cicadas Emerging In Many Places

The good news is that, unlike many types of insects, cicadas don’t bite or sting. According to the Encyclopedia Brittanica website, there are thousands of species of cicadas all over the world. The ones we’re concerned with here are the “periodical cicadas” of North America, of the genus Magicicada.

Again, one set of cicadas emerge every 13 years and another group emerges every 17 years, but it’s rare for both specific types we’ll get in 2024 to emerge at once. For this year’s event, according to the University of Connecticut, the Brood XIX (a 13-year cicada type) and Brood XIII (with a 17-year cycle) will both be present in central Illinois. Those two broods have not appeared as adults at the same time since 1803.

There might be up to a trillion (that’s a million times a million) of the insects. Thankfully, they won’t be all in one place at the same time and they are not expected to overlap to a significant degree. One type or the other will be evident in a wide swath of eastern states, including Virginia (generally in and around Richmond).

Why Are Cicadas So Loud?

The National Wildlife Federation website explains: “Males cluster in groups and produce loud choruses to attract females to mate.” For a more technical explanation, the Encyclopedia Brittanica says male cicadas have ridged membranes called a tymbal organ that allows them to produce a high-pitched sound, while females make more of a clicking sound (the word tymbal in music refers to a type of kettledrum, in case you’re not convinced that these things are loud).

Hey, if you find the noise annoying, is it really that different from a bunch of guys at a sports bar yelling at TV screens, hoping that the wagers they placed using Virginia sportsbook promos will cash?

Anyway, after cicadas mate, the females drop their eggs, which remain in larval form in the soil for either 13 or 17 years, depending on the type (there are also annual cicadas, of a different type). Once they emerge as adults, cicadas don’t live very long, but they reproduce and begin the cycle all over. When cicadas die, they tend to give off an unpleasant smell, but there are plenty of other creatures who will feast on them and the cicadas that decompose will make healthy compost material.

USA Today Network photo by Robert Johnson / The Tennessean

Author

Jim Tomlin has nearly 30 years of experience in journalism, having worked at such publications as the Tampa Bay Times, FanRag, Saturdays Down South and Saturday Tradition. He is a contributing writer and editor for BetVirginia.com.

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