Thousands of cicadas unexpectedly hatching early around DC region

- Thousands of cicadas are unexpectedly hatching off-schedule in Maryland. The emerging cicadas have hatched earlier than their usual time of late May and before their cycles of 13 and 17 years.

Scientists are working to determine what brood the early-hatchers belong to and why they are hatching sooner.

Alonso Abugattas, Natural Resources Manager at Arlington County, says that reports of early emerging cicadas date back to the 1800s. “Some people are going to see a ton; some people aren’t going to see any. When they are really going to be noticeable is when they start calling of course.”

Abugattas says the calls made by the cicadas can sometimes be heard up to a mile away. “These are some little insects with a big, big sound,” he added. Abugattas said the cicadas pose no danger to humans and that they will give a boost to local wildlife by providing another food source.

In a report with the Associated Press, University of Maryland entomologist Mike Raupp says experts aren't sure why off-schedule hatching happens. Raupp says the phenomenon is known to occur in Brood X, which is expected to appear in 2021. Raupp says the cicadas could also be in Brood VI, now appearing in parts of Georgia and the Carolinas.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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