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Massive cicada emergence expected soon in Virginia

Some Virginians will soon hear a cacophony of chirping cicadas as Brood X emerges from a 17-year subterranean retreat.

Also known as the Great Eastern Brood, these periodical cicadas appear every 17 years throughout the eastern U.S., emerging when the soil reaches 64 degrees, according to a Virginia Farm Bureau release.

A U.S. Forest Service map shows Brood X’s emergence in a few northern Virginia counties as soon as next week, though its amorous song will be heard throughout the region.

While cicadas can sometimes overwhelm and damage young trees in orchards and home gardens, entomologists say periodic brood emergence mostly brings ecological benefits.

Periodical cicadas like Brood X live as underground nymphs, emerging to reproduce after 13 or 17 years, unlike annual cicadas.

The simultaneous timing of their massive emergence may be an evolutionary survival measure. Their large numbers quickly satiate their predators but enough surviving cicadas are left to complete t...

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