Off-cycle cicada stragglers start to emerge in parts of DC region

Cicada procrastinators who did not emerge with their Brood X brethren in 2021 are finally making their way above ground.

Billions of the red-eyed insects arrived last May as part of the largest brood of 17-year cicadas. Most parts of the Washington, D.C. region saw massive numbers of the bugs. By June – they had mostly come and gone.

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Professor Michael Raupp with the University of Maryland's Department of Entomology said cicadas that arrive off-cycle are called stragglers. He said stragglers can appear as many as four years early – or two years late.

Brood X cicada

Unfortunately, Raupp says, the late-arrivals don't stand much of a chance of finding a mate. By coming out in such large numbers all at once -- predators that eat cicadas can get their fill and there will still be plenty of bugs left to breed. The stragglers don't have the advantage safety in numbers brings.


Raupp says the stragglers will be few and far between and says the next substantial cicada numbers could be seen in the D.C. area in a few years when the Brood II cicadas emerge.