Cicada Mania

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June 3, 2017

Look & listen for Brood X Stragglers

Filed under: Accelerations | Brood X | Magicicada | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 1:01 am


Summer is here now, so it is time for annual species of cicadas. See which types of cicadas are in your area.

If you experienced Brood X stragglers this spring, it’s not to late report the location where you saw them to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly In the Ohio area, send your cicada photos of Mount St. Joseph University.

Other updates can be found in the comments.

What’s the deal with these amazing insects?

This year “precursors” to Brood X are emerging or will emerge in small to large numbers in D.C., Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York (Long Island), North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly has the most up-to-date map from Brood X.

Note: because of the significant number of cicadas emerging ahead of time, this might be an acceleration event. Periodical cicada accelerations occur when a significant group of an established brood emerge in years ahead of the main brood, and sometimes the accelerated group is able to reproduce and create what is essentially a new brood. Brood VI was likely part of Brood X at one point of time1. We’ll have to see if the Brood X stragglers are able to survive predation, and reproduce in significant numbers to sustain future populations. They are certainly trying.

Some more info to impress your friends with:

These are the species you might hear/see:

  1. Magicicada septendecim
  2. Magicicada cassini
  3. Magicicada septendecula

Don’t panic! Less that one percent of a Brood straggles. If you had 10,000 cicadas in your yard back in 2004, you can expect a less-frightening or more manageable dozens or hundreds (okay, maybe 1,000s). 🙂

Here's Johnny

Brood VI also emerges this year?

Brood VI also emerged this year in North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia. These cicadas emerged on schedule, and are not stragglers. It is believed that Brood VI descended from Brood X through acceleration (mentioned above).

Brood VI compared to Brood X:
Brood X vs VI
The data comes from Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly

What are stragglers, and why do they straggle

Stragglers are periodical cicadas that emerge in years before or after the brood they belong to is expected to emerge. Typically 17-year periodical cicadas emerge 4 years early (see the probability chart). While stragglers might not produce enough offspring to produce future generations, straggling is something periodical cicadas do — it is hard-wired into their DNA. The 4-year interval is also typical.

Stragglers are not a new phenomenon. William T. Davis documented accelerations of cicada populations back in the 1800s, which was reported by C.L. Marlatt in the 1898 document The Periodical Cicada. An Account Of Cicada Septendecim, Its Natural Enemies And The Means Of Preventing Its Injury.

Mr. W. T. Davis records the occurrence of scattering individuals on Staten Island in both 1890 and 1892, neither of which is a Cicada year. These may have been of accelerated or retarded individuals, but possibly represent either remnants of broods or insignificant broods not hitherto recorded.

In the case of W. T. Davis’s observations, Brood II would have emerged in 1894 in Staten Island, so 1890 would have been a 4-year straggler/processor/acceleration, and 1892 a rare 2-year acceleration.

The term “straggler” throws people off because most people are familiar with the definition of straggler that means “something that falls behind the main group”. These cicadas are clearly ahead of the main group, not falling behind. Straggle can also mean “to wander from the direct course or way” (Merriam-Webster), “to trail off from others of its kind” (Merriam-Webster). In terms of cicadas, scientists and naturalists have been using the term “straggler” for over a century, so it has stuck around. For now, don’t worry about the term, just know that it means periodical cicadas that are not emerging on schedule.

More information on stragglers and accelerations.

Climate and Stragglers

Dr. Gene Kritsky, in this recent article, is quoted as saying “[c]limate changes are behind the premature debut”. Visit Gene’s website.

It makes sense that climate variations would trigger periodical cicadas to emerge ahead of time. Periodical cicadas take cues from the seasonal cycles of their host trees. An unusual climate event, like a hot fall or winter, might cause trees to signal cicadas that additional years have passed, and cause them to shift to emerge early. In the paper, How 17-year cicadas keep track of time, Richard Karban was able to show that you can speed up the time it takes for a periodical cicada to emerge by artificially altering the seasonal cycles of their host trees2. It’s likely that the Brood X stragglers emerging now were set on their path to emerging 4 years early not this year or the last, but many years ago.

Metropolitan areas like Washington D.C., called “HEAT ISLANDS” (read this article), can often be much hotter than surrounding rural areas due to human activity. The effects of living within a heat island may have disrupted the seasonal cycles of the cicadas’ host trees, and therefore the cicadas themselves. Localized climate change will be considered as a contributing factor to their early emergence. If we find considerably fewer stragglers in rural areas than city areas, then we could draw a conclusion that local climates are contributing to straggling.

Other than climate (in the long term), weather (in the short term), and a natural propensity to straggle or accelerate, population density is another reason why cicadas will straggle. If there is a high density of them underground, vying for limited resources, some might emerge a year or so before or after the main Brood.


1 Monte Lloyd &J o Ann White. Sympatry of Periodical Cicada Broods and the Hypothetical Four-Year Acceleration. Evolution, Vol. 30, No. 4. (Dec., 1976), pp. 786-801.

2 Richard Karban, Carrie A. Black and Steven A. Weinbaum. How 17-year cicadas keep track of time. Ecology Letters, (2000) 3: 253-256.


  1. Dan says:

    Update #12 Last week I traveled west to look for stragglers in Ohio and Indiana. I found exuvia (cicada skins) north west of Indianapolis, Indiana; exuvia in Cedar Springs, Indiana; active, mating periodical cicadas in several small towns north-west of Columbus, Ohio; and exuvia & a few adults in Princeton, NJ. See a map of my sightings.

    Periodical cicadas have been spotted in the Hudson Valley of New York state.

  2. Donthavename says:

    Found one emerging from it shell in Northern Alabama

  3. Dane says:

    My first time posting, or even learning of this site! Two days ago I heard cicadas singing as I walked across my job’s parking lot. This morning a coworker found one in the early stages of molting. We have been watching the whole process unfold before our eyes. We are in the Hampton Roads area of Virginia.

  4. MaryC says:

    Heard my first one this morning in Clarksville TN! June 26th 2017

    1. MaryC says:

      That’s west TN on the KY border

  5. Dan says:

    Update #11 Brood X stragglers have emerged in southern Michigan, Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, & New Jersey (around Princeton)! They are chorusing in many locations, and are likely to produce future generations particularly in the Virginia, DC and Maryland area, as well as Ohio & Indiana.

  6. Bell County, KY says:

    Just heard my first cicada a few minutes ago here in Southeast KY.

  7. Louis says:

    Perkasie, PA area. Been seeing casings and adults all over, especially up at Lake Nockamixon. Haven’t heard any song yet in my town though. These seem a little smaller than dog day cicadas.

  8. Patricia Gannon says:

    South central PA-Yesterday I began hearing a few cicadas in our heavily wooded area, but nothing even close to chorusing. Yesterday was also the first 80 degree day here after weeks of cool weather.

  9. Julane says:

    They are deafening in my neighborhood! ( North East side of Indianapolis)I can hear them with the windows shut and ac on. It is unbelievable!

  10. Cameron says:

    Have cassini’s in cage, waiting for them to sing, mate and lay eggs. How many days from emergence do the males start to sing?

    1. Christa Justice says:

      I live in MD and 2wks ago I was seeing quite a bit of them emerging and their exoskeletons, etc…The following week, it was rainy and somewhat chilly (upper 50’s-mid 60’s). Did that kill them off? Most of this past week has been pretty warm, esp the last 3 or so days and I’ve only seen a few, literally a few exoskeletons and no adults anywhere…Are they just in hiding? Was really looking forward to seeing them…

      1. Dan says:

        Cold & wet weather is hard on them, but predators (birds, squirrels, etc) are worse.

      2. Chris Simon says:

        Hi Christa, It is good to know that your emergence did not persist. We are looking for this kind of information as well as reports of successful chorusing trees. I agree with Dan than both cold, wet weather and predators are detrimental to the cicadas and we are wondering how many populations of Brood X stragglers have managed to persist despite the cold and the predators.

      3. Michael says:

        Springfield, VA here, also had a few emerge here, but no chorusing trees, and no evidence of adult bumbling around. Just a few exoskeletons lying around for my son to freak out the neighborhood girls with.

    2. Dan says:

      Cameron — usually a week, but they won’t sing unless they’re happy. Maybe sure they have a good food/fluid source — oak branches in water changed every day or a flower pot with a small oak in it should suffice. Also, its going to help if it’s warm and sunny, like there natural outdoors habitat. Ideally above room temperature (72F). You might be able to get the males to sing or females to flap their wings if you play them songs. Here’s the court songs of a cassini

  11. Dan says:

    Update #10 Brood X stragglers have emerged in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, & New Jersey (around Princeton)! They are chorusing in many locations, and are likely to produce future generations particularly in the Virginia, DC and Maryland area.

  12. Regina Pierce says:

    Cicadas have been here for about 2 weeks.
    Our subdivision, Mallard Point, in Georgetown,KY is very wooded. They sing almost nonstop.

    1. Chris Simon says:

      Hi Regina,

      Can you please tell us in later posts how long the cicadas continue to sing and whether you see any egg laying activity.

      Thanks for reporting!

  13. ZCA says:

    Is it possible for the female to be laying eggs while mating with a male? I observed that scenario during the 2004 Emergence in Dayton Ohio. The anatomy diagrams I have seen suggests that could be possible. The female reproductive system seems to be quite a complex structure.

  14. Chris Zanowick says:

    I would love to see a high magnification video of the ovipostior cutting into the branch. There maybe some manufacturing or biomimicry benefits to the shape of the ovipositor and the way it cuts into the branch.

    The few videos I have seen do not shown enough detail. All you can see from a bit of a distance is the ovipositor going in and then being pulled out.

  15. Sarah says:

    Do cicadas hang on the side of the house? I’m hearing an intermittent vibrating noise when I’m sitting inside the house and when I try to find it, it’s coming from outside. It seems to more at night, so I haven’t looked led outside yet.

  16. Iona Loyal says:

    loud chorus began here in Bloomington, Indiana day before yesterday. It sure sounds like 2004 to me!

    1. Chris Simon says:

      This is great information to have Iona! Can you tell us in later posts how long these continue to sing and whether you see egg laying? Can you also tell us in which section of Bloomington you are located or better yet, post the GPS location of the chorus tree on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Also, if you find multiple chorusing trees around town, let us know that too. Thanks! Chris Simon

  17. Dan says:

    Update #9 Brood X stragglers have emerged in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, & New Jersey (around Princeton)! They are chorusing in many locations.

  18. Rebecca says:

    Bloomington, IN – I’ve been seeing a whole bunch around town, though one particular tree on my property is practically raining cicadas. Plenty of holes and shells on the ground. Are these the yearly ones or brood X stragglers? I’m new here (originally from Maryland).

  19. Bobby says:

    Definitely hear cicadas now that the sun has come out for the first time in several days. Located in Merrifield, Fairfax County. Not chorusing like in a large emergence, but still very noticeable. At my parents house in Vienna, I noticed that two maple trees seemed to have the vast majority of holes and shells. I can’t remember 2000, but in 2004, the cicadas were far more spread out. These trees are both very sickly and may not survive until 2021. Is there a possibility that the health of the tree can affect the cicadas? If a tree dies, can the cicadas live off its root system for several years?

  20. Cameron says:

    Magicicada Septendecim walking.

  21. bill price says:

    Vienna VA. has many emerging. when it is warm (Upper 60’s so far) the background hum is wonderful. when it gets warmer there will be many more. In 1970, 1987, 2004 there were many more, since they were on time. Although these are early emergers, there are quite a few of them in Vienna. Waiting to see if there is any significant difference in the 2021 emergence………………….bill

    1. Chris Simon says:

      If anyone has a lot of emergence holes on their property, a useful experiment would be to mark out a meter (39″) square plot, photograph the holes, then dig one foot down throughout the plot and count the number of fifth (final) stage nymphs. It would also be useful to note whether the eyes of the nymphs are red (soon to emerge) or white (not emerging within the next year). If you do collect such data, please report it on this website and contact me at the University of Connecticut. Chris Simon

  22. Bobby says:

    Is this early emergence likely to lessen the 2021 emergence from what we saw in 2004? Despite the numerous stragglers it doesn’t seem that most Brood X areas are going to sustainable levels for a new brood. If this is the case, and the 2021 event is lessened, it doesn’t seem to bode well for Brood X unless this is a one time thing. Doesn’t seem like anyone remembers 2000 being comparable to this year.

  23. Jenn says:

    I have spotted two kinds in Louisville. KY. 1. M. Septendicem and 2. M. Cassinii. Are they BOTH part of brood X? I would say we have thousands, but more of the latter than the former.

  24. Cat says:

    Indianapolis, Indiana here, near Ft. Harrison. I have a hundred or so of the casings in a few of my trees and on the wood siding of house. Grass around trees are full of them also. I have saved a few crawling nymphs out of my window wells and placed them at base of the trees. Have spotted several nymphs crawling up tree trunks. A few cute red eyed cicadas that are ready to go are hanging out in the tree leaves. Also have seen a few flying and a call here or there.

  25. Jon says:

    Several adults and cast skins were seen yesterday in an area of central New Jersey between Lawrence and Mt. Rose.

  26. Cameron says:

    This is a video of brood X accelerated nymphs in Reston V.A.

  27. Phil says:

    I live in Fairfield, Ohio and have noticed a few this past week until today. There are over a few hundred on the brick house and fence that appeared today.

  28. Diva says:

    I am in Centerville Ohio and we have several shells and many live bugs. They are falling from the trees and covering my wooden fences. Are they harmful to the dog? She loves chasing them around the yard and eating them!

    1. Elizabeth says:

      Haha – I read up on this a couple of years ago when my dachshund taught my Malamute how to dig for them. They’re not dangerous unless your yard is treated with dog-unfriendly pesticides or your dog is the type that will gorge him/herself. Moderation in all things, even the creepy-crawly ones. 🙂

  29. Kirsten says:

    A lot have been emerging all week but last night was the worst (to me, because my dog won’t stop hunting for them). This is on the northeastern edge of the Baltimore City line. I’d love to share a photo collage of the insanity but can’t figure out how.

  30. China says:

    I actually have a question about when cicadas erupt from their shells. Do the shells stay on the tree or fall off or does it just depend?

    1. Dan says:

      It just depends. I’ve seen their molted skins stay stuck to trees for many months after an emergence, but typically the rain or wind knocks them off. Animals like squirrels and birds also use the skins as building material for their nests.

  31. Dan says:

    Update #8 Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Washington D.C., Virginia (counties around D.C.), Maryland (counties around D.C.), Ohio (around Cincinnati), Delaware, Indiana, & Kentucky! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time. HOT weather this week will cause even more to emerge, and they may begin to chorus (synchronized singing) as well.

  32. j says:

    Heard some in College Park, Md. yesterday. They’ve been emerging since the start of May.

  33. Cassandra says:

    We’ve been seeing them emerging for at least 5 days here in Louisville KY. So surprised to hear they are part of the 17 year brood expected in 4 years. Today is the first time I have heard them “vocalizing”, but not the continuous chorus yet.

  34. Vangie says:

    I live in Bethesda, MD. A few exoskeletons were laying in front on my house but only spotted a couple of red-eyed cicadas just hanging around. I also saw a couple where they were missing the bottom half of their body but they were somewhat still alive – not sure if the bottom half was eaten by a bird or they emerged that way.

    1. Dan says:

      Sometimes the birds get them, sometimes they lose parts of their body if the molting process goes wrong, and sometimes they lose it because of a common fungus infection.

  35. Jessica says:

    I lost county. 30+ feet of concrete spotted with them, on plants, even on wood siding. They’re everywhere. Columbus, IN

  36. Winn says:

    As of today they’re singing in Takoma Park, MD! Still not a fully continuous chorus, but it’s getting closer as the day progresses. I’ve been seeing them flying by my window a lot, from tree to tree. Sometimes they make it, sometimes a bird dives from nowhere to catch them mid-air.

    1. Winn says:

      I uploaded a video from my back yard, you can hear how close they are to chorusing:

      1. Dan says:

        Music to my ears.

      2. Dave says:

        That’s a substantial septendecim chorus in the background. Does anyone there perhaps know if a substantial number of these things were out in that location 17 years ago (making this an established brood VI population)? It sounds like it’s going to be making an appearance 17 years from now.

  37. Marlene says:

    I saw one in Mt. Washington area last night still in the shell. This morning I saw two out of the shell dropping my daughter off at school. I’m devastated…I’m so not ready

  38. Chief says:

    I saw one in Towson on Wednesday Flying, one in Cockeysville on Thursday flying. And today I saw a shell on the wall in Towson.

  39. david linden says:

    I heard a few cicadas singing yesterday afternoon and found one in my driveway this morning. Dry Ridge, Grant County, KY. Assuming Brood X.

  40. Jason says:

    NASA Goddard in Greenbelt: Dozens upon dozens found on sidewalks yesterday.

  41. Christina says:

    The cicadas are singing in arlington VA! I’m shocked since we saw so few live ones. Guess they made it up the tree. It’s not very loud yet!

  42. Kris says:

    Reporting from Baltimore, MD. Have seen a few in my front and backyard.

  43. Cameron says:

    Magicicada Cassini individuals calling with shed skins and adults seen in Springfield,VA. Almost chorusing.

  44. PhysicalKid says:

    In Woodmoor neighborhood of Silver Spring, MD. Under one Maple tree there have been 100-200 nymph shells. I’ve personally seen at least 50 adults total over the last week though I’m only there a couple times a day. The odd thing is that all the surrounding yards only have 5-20 shells max. Small typical straggling emergence everywhere other than under this one tree where it approximates (maybe 1/4-1/2) the density of the 2004 emergence.

  45. Bill Hull says:

    Dozens flying around my house today.

  46. Simon says:


    I am in Northern Virginia, Fairfax County. We have the Magi Cicadas but I am concerned at what I am seeing. I am noticing a high early mortality rate.

    I am seeing a lot of cicaada bodies around and they have only just started hatching. I have never seen an early mortality rate as high as this before. These are the orange eyed Magi Cicadas, thought to be some of Brood X coming out early.

    Anyone else noticing this?

    1. Nancy says:

      We’re in Central Ohio, Simon, and are seeing the same phenomenon. Clusters of dead insects, lots of shells, but very few live cicadas. The ones that are alive are sluggish and definitely smaller than the ones in full-blown emergences. We’ve seen none flying; the live ones are crawling in the grass, and seeming to have trouble with that.
      Is anyone else in Ohio experiencing anything similar?

      1. Shannon Wooldridge says:

        I am in Indpls, IN & I just had one hatch right in front of me. Poor little guy is very sluggish , his wings are so small & all he can do is crawl and barely do that. I had one last night so the same thing, so this is lil guy #2.

      2. Rebecca Wall says:

        Yes, we live in Centerville, Ohio and I find hundreds of cicada shells all over our brick house, our plants, and only a few live cicadas on a daily basis the past 3 days. Most annoying!!!!

      3. China says:

        I haven’t seen any personally these last few days, but my mom who works in Ellicott City, MD has been seeing a few of them around, but all of them have just been crawling and getting eaten by birds

      4. Dan says:

        The first wave of periodical cicadas often has many “mulligans”. This may be part of their predator satiation strategy or simply because they emerged at a bad time (bad weather, cold night, etc.)

      5. Vivian Vanos says:

        Dublin Ohio
        Hostas in backyard covered in live ones. Just a few days ago I had seen only a few.

    2. Kim says:

      I have seen a few dead ones but there were also lots of ants around. One cicada was being swarmed by ants as it emerged. I’m in fairfax VA also.

  47. Va. Henriksen says:

    Also Bowie, MD – hundreds of empty shells littering my yard, cicadas everywhere, chorusing.

  48. Karen says:

    Bowie, Maryland (Prince George’s County)….Several have emerged and shed exoskeletons on my front porch and yard within the last 3 days, however, it has not been like the masses that emerged and shed in 2004.

  49. Mia says:

    Im in Greater Cincinnati area (Fairfield,OH) and there are at least 20 flying in the back yard with shells everywhere.

  50. Laura says:

    I’m in Loudoun County in Northern Virginia, and I took some pictures of a straggler this morning. He (she?) wasn’t very lively, but did accomplish a hop or two while I took the pictures. Shall I forward them on?

    1. Dan says:

      Sure. You can share with us via Facebook, Twitter or Instagram if you like as well.

      1. Laura Eilers says:

        Shared via Twitter!

  51. jeff says:

    I thought I saw one yesterday (May 17) in Columbia, MD, but didn’t believe it. Then I found one today. Not very mobile, even for a 17 year cicada.

  52. Lisa in NOVA says:

    First seen them on May 6; tons of exoskeletons; now of course, the youngs guys flying around….but to date, have heard no ‘singing’ – esp in the evening…?

  53. Sara says:

    I live in Miamisburg Ohio!

  54. Sara says:

    There are two on my porch!

  55. Jeremy Fair says:

    Saw a couple the last few days. Let the dogs out tonight and there are hundreds in our back yard! My tree will be covered in empty shells tomorrow!

    Newport, KY

  56. Jeremy Fair says:

    Saw a couple the last few days. Let the dogs out tonight and there are hundreds in our back yard! My tree will be covered in empty shells tomorrow!

  57. Karen Krill says:

    Many, many hatchings in Louisville, KY. They are already singing!

  58. jason hart says:

    Currently only about 20-30 per 1/4 acre in Ashburn VA. Fingers crossed on a split from brood X… Would be amazing to witness.

  59. Kim says:

    Found several pupa cases and 2 live cicadas on a cherry tree in Fairfax VA, near Fair Oaks Mall. So excited see how many emerge in this straggler year event.

  60. Shelby says:

    In Alexandria, VA. Have seen at least 50 shells today and perhaps 6 or so live cicadas today alone. Certainly more than earlier this week.

    1. Joe Peacock says:

      We are in the Delray part of Alexandria and last night we saw a large number of nymphs calling around looking for a place to melt. We also saw a large number of wings on the ground

      1. Joe Peacock says:

        Crrawling aroud

  61. Mike says:

    Found six shells on a tree trunk in Highland Heights, KY (Cincinnati area) yesterday.

    1. Ron says:

      I found 1 shall and one cicada in Villa Hills, Kentucky

  62. Winn says:

    So far have seen about a half-dozen of these stragglers in my yard in Takoma Park, MD over the last few days. No singing (yet). I did give one to my pet lizard, who was grateful for the large snack.

  63. JD says:

    Saw a few empty shells yesterday, live ones on screen today in N Arlington VA. Was totally phobic in 2004 and not happy today! Will get the veiled hat I got for 2021 out of the basement… they remind me of flying palmetto bugs but en masse…

    1. Julie says:

      Where did you get your veiled hat? I am phobic about cicadas and think one of those might help. Thanks!

  64. Raven M says:

    Dozens of exoskeletons all over the curb/porch in Berwyn Heights, MD. Also have seen several shedding/recently shed, alive. Creepy! So many flashbacks to fifth grade…

  65. arlene cocks says:

    Last week either a raccoon or an opossum dug up our grass around an old maple tree in our yard. There were lots of little holes around and some scat. Subsequently we have seen many cicada carcasses and flying cicadas etc. We googled and found the straggler info. Fascinating! Arlington/East Falls Church area, Virginia.

  66. Simon Blueridge says:

    Hey guys!!

    Great info here as usual but one thing needs changing badly!!

    You refer to some of the Brood X that are emerging now (May 2017) as ‘stragglers’. This is the incorrect term!! Stragglers means things are left behind, after the main event, not before it.

    Maybe ‘scouts’ would be be a better word or ‘forward intelligence party” but not stragglers!!

    Keep up the great work 🙂

    1. Dan says:

      Hi Simon,

      I’m not in love with the term straggler either, but it is the correct scientific term, at least in terms of periodical cicadas. Cicada researchers have been using it since 1898, and in defense of them, the term “straggle” can also mean “to wander from the direct course or way” (Merriam-Webster), “to trail off from others of its kind” (Merriam-Webster). In the case of cicadas, these definitions make sense because they’re deviating/straying from their normal course (a 17-year cycle). Some literature calls them “precursors” which makes sense in terms of the cicadas being a precursor (“one that precedes and indicates the approach of another”) of the main brood — however, where precursor doesn’t fit is in the case of an acceleration. An acceleration, in terms of periodical cicadas, is when enough stragglers emerge that are able to reproduce and form a new Brood of cicadas emerging typically 4 years prior to their parent Brood. We think that Brood X derived from Brood XIV through the process of acceleration. If enough of these Brood X stragglers emerging now reproduce and form healthy populations, they’ll fall into synch with Brood VI. It’s complex. There are also decelerations.

      Perhaps researchers should call cicadas emerging early “precursors” or “pioneers”, and those emerging later as “stragglers” just for the sake of eliminating confusion. We would still need a term for the phenomenon in general — perhaps “deviants”.

      1. Simon says:

        Cheers for the info, Dan 🙂

        I agree, ‘pioneers’ would be very appropriate!!

  67. Thomas Zurschmeide says:


  68. Ben says:

    Magicicadas are dropping from our oak trees at night in good numbers now. In Northern Virginia.

    The Brood X straggler theory makes sense since a successful brood with a 17-yr. cycle could spawn a splinter 13-yr. cycle due to genetic variation. Our last Brood X in 2013 was astounding.

    But, we see a least a few most years. The climate change theory seems fishy. I could see a species with a yearly cycle coming early because of a warm winter or spring, but how could a period be controlled by temperature and still keep to a prime number of years? Even if it did, it seems we would see 11 yr. and 19yr. cycles given how many periods of relative warmth and cold we see over decades.

  69. Thomas Carroll says:

    Silver Spring MD, 9511 Saginaw St. We have had early morning Brood X stragglers in our front yard for a week now. Every morning the last instar can be found crawling up our light pole and the two maple trees in our front yard. Nothing in our back yard, however!

  70. Keith says:

    Sterling, Va

    I have lots of pictures of them emerging here in Loudoun County, Va. over the last few evenings. Easily several hundred shells throughout the few trees I checked in our yard.

  71. Stephen Wallin says:

    There were hundred that emerged last Friday (May 12) in the cool rain with another emergence equal in size this evening (May 16) with the warmer weather on my property in Fairfax County close to the Alexandria, VA border. They are currently walking across my front lawn towards my house and the maple trees in my front yard. I have videos of crawling nymphs and resting or walking adults. The only adult that I saw take wing was unfortunately summarily eaten by a bird within five seconds.

  72. Gina says:

    I’ve seen hundreds of exoskeletons in my neighborhood in Springfield, VA. They are stuck to trees or in piles on the ground near the base of the trees. Have not seen any activity / living ones though. Saw just one in the process of dying.

  73. Kevin says:

    Is there a way to confirm that the cicadas currently emerging in Northern Virginia are Brood X stragglers and not Brood VI cicadas? If they are Brood X stragglers, are they numerous enough to develop into a new Brood with a different 17 year cycle?

    1. Dan says:

      It is looking like these are Brood X stragglers, and not Brood VI populations. There is a chance that there are some populations that are in synch with Brood VI, though. The Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly researchers are on the road now checking things out in-person.

      They might be numerous in some locations to develop into a new Brood (which would be in-synch with Brood VI, and more or less becomes Brood VI). For that to happen we’re talking about A LOT of cicadas — tens of thousand to a million per acre. Periodical cicadas have high mortality in all phases of their life, so it take a lot to create and sustain a population. Brood XI in the 20th century because they couldn’t keep it going.

      But these sort of events do appear to be how one Brood evolved into another Brood over the years, so its is possible.

      1. Kevin says:

        Thanks, Dan! Can I use that information in an article I’m writing about cicadas? If so, I can source or whatever you want for a credit line.

        1. Dan says:

          Also check out the discussion section of Monte Lloyd & Jo Ann White’s “Sympatry of Periodical Cicada Broods and the Hypothetical Four-Year Acceleration” and quote that. It’s free to read on Jstor if you sign up for that site.

          1. Kevin Ambrose says:

            Hi Dan, my cicada article ran today. You can find it here:


            The title of the article and use of the word “locust” in the article were added by the editors and I know it’s not accurate. I thought you’d find the reader comments and cicada observations interesting. The article is also on the Facebook page of the Capital Weather Gang and there are more interesting reader comments, photos, and a cool video of the cicadas.

            One of our readers asked the question: Are the Brood X stragglers converting from a 17 year brood to a 13 year brood? Do you have any thoughts related to that question?

          2. Dan says:


            More likely would be a conversion to a different 17-year brood. In theory periodical cicadas “accelerate” to form new broods. In other words, a portion of the brood emerges 4-years early, and then returns to a 17-year cycle. It’s thought that Brood X derived from Brood XIV, Brood VI derived from Brood X, and Brood II from VI. More than likely the cicadas that emerge this year won’t emerge in numbers large enough to create the new Brood.

            That said, they’re wired to emerge in 13 years as evidences by these straggling/acceleration events, and the 13-year broods (XIX, XII, XIII). So I’m not ruling anything out.

          3. Kevin Ambrose says:

            Hi Dan,

            Would you be willing to be interviewed about the cicadas over email? I was tasked to write another article. If so, please send me an email and I can put together a list of questions and start the discussion. Thanks for considering.


          4. Dan says:

            Sure. Email me at cicadamania at gmail dot com.

  74. David Jobes says:

    Seen adults here on the NIH Bethesda Campus. Birds taking them out.

    1. Roger Miller says:

      Several on the trees outside of my house in Del Ray, Alexandria, Virginia. One young one got in through the second-floor skylight last night. Still immature, with clear-ish wings and brown body coloration, but even so, definitely one of the tribe.

    2. Roger Miller says:

      Several on the trees outside of my house in Del Ray, Alexandria, Virginia. One young one got in through the second-floor skylight last night. Still immature, with clear-ish wings and brown body coloration, but even so, definitely one of the tribe. BTW, the birds are especially songful in recent mornings.

  75. Laura says:

    They’re littered all over the streets and grass here in Ellicott City, MD. Haven’t heard them singin yet, but saw one shed its shell for the first time!

  76. Debbie says:

    I saw one emerged X yesterday around 1730. It was trying to climb up my fence. Interesting to watch my dog interact with it. It went higher than she could and I’m hoping that 1-it didn’t get eaten by one of the many birds here and 2-I see more.

  77. Angela says:

    Hello Dan, I have a question yesterday morning they were crawling on the grass and trees but in the afternoon I did see any. I went back outside this morning and there is none. Can you tell me if this is normal were are they?

    1. Dan says:

      Either 1) birds & animals ate them, and/or 2) they’ve crawled higher up into the trees where they’re harder to see. Probably a mix of both. If they aren’t singing in the next few days, it’s #1.

      1. Anne says:

        They are singing now, a little louder every day.

  78. Anne says:

    I noticed them in Columbia, MD yesterday, a few here or there then they really seemed to increase. I did a short video as I found one morphing before my eyes! Lots of ground holes, skeletons, and some live one’s. They are NOT sing in, looks like they might be expected to start later in the week? Ugh

  79. Katrina says:

    Huntington community, Alexandria, VA–Yesterday we had at least 50 or 60 on plants, a few flying, and plenty of exit holes all around, especially in our small back yard. A couple landed on me at different times while I was taking photos. They were most visible in the middle of the day, did not seem to mind the wind at all.

  80. Jo says:

    Today in Fairfax, VA, one landed on my torso under my arm — almost crunched it! Saw an exoskeleton on a tree leaf. Had one crawl on my foot a few minutes later. Went out for a few hours, then saw a younger one crawling around when I came home.

  81. George says:

    I seen two today one shell and one live on the bushes at my house and a few holes in the ground and this is in northeast Baltimore, Md.

  82. Ashley says:

    We live in Arlington, VA, but came from Idaho 1.5 years ago so this is foreign! We walked up and back 7 houses on our street tonight and saw 43 exoskeletons and dead appearing insects. Only one was alive and flying. I have a picture of the red eyes! Fun for my 7 year old!

  83. Florencio Paraon says:

    I seen two exo-skeletons at my home in 20904 Colesville, MD today. They are small exo-skeletons.

  84. Karen says:

    Lots of crunchy shells in Herndon. I love stepping on them!

  85. Jen H says:

    New Carrollton, MD: I’ve found several shells around my front and back porches over the last week. This afternoon I almost stepped on a live one in my yard! Not as many as others are reporting, but definitely more than I expected to see this year.

  86. Deb says:

    I’ve been seeing exit holes in my veggie garden beds for a week or two, and also have seen several nymphs and the odd exoskeleton, and pretty sure I heard one or two singletons the other day, but I have yet to see the actual cicadas here in Rockville, MD, although I have friends who have seen them.

  87. Janice S says:

    I saw a lot on the ground today, May 15, 2017. Most were dead or at least dying. They looked smaller than I remember. We’ve been having crazy spring weather with cold, then hot, then cold, then hot, etc., which would follow what you described as reasons for early stragglers.

    1. Janice S says:

      I forgot to add that this was in Bethesda, MD.

      1. someone says:

        me too
        in gaithersburg md
        there’s a lot of dead ones the got frozen yesterday. also some ones got stuck when metamorphosing.

  88. Holly L Walker says:

    We started seeing them at the National Museum of American History today (Washington, DC).

  89. Hatsie Charbonneau says:

    I’m in Sterling, VA. There are hundreds in my yard. I’m catching and saving them for fish bait. The bass will love them. My yard guys just showed up and are mowing. So they’re probably done for, unless they’ve gotten high up on the trees.

  90. Vee Hickman says:

    I live in Clinton, MD, so far I have only seen them on my street. They are all over the driveway, trees and on my porch. I have two big trees in my yard and they are covered with them and the skeletons. I am so scared of bugs so this will be a long summer spent indoors until they are gone.

  91. Bonnie says:

    Visiting home for the week (Upper Marlboro) and got quite the surprise while jogging through my parent’s neighborhood. They are all over the sidewalks…Yikes! Glad we’re only here for a couple more days.

  92. Polly says:

    I live in Vienna, VA and just noticed a big ole cicada on my back deck. I have been noticing shells in the last week.

  93. Brent Sowers says:

    Our front and back yard near Fairfax, VA has been full of them since yesterday. I took this video showing a lot emerging and crawling up our tree –

  94. Howard Bernstein says:

    You call the early emerging Brood X cicadas ‘stragglers’….but an entomologist friend of mine defines ‘stragglers’ as those that are late, while ‘precursors’ are defined as those that are coming early as in the case of some Brood X emerging now instead of in 2021 when the majority are expected to emerge… which is it? Stragglers or precursors?

    1. Dan says:

      Both are good. John Cooley, David Marshall, Chris Simon and others use the term stragglers in their papers, and they’re the top Magicicada researchers.

  95. Kevin says:

    Noticed a few dead cicadas on the sidewalk outside my home this morning in Centreville, VA…!!

  96. Brian says:

    Seen a large number of emergence holes for the past few weeks, but no shells. Today, I saw a large one on the deck…large as life and twice as natural. Just outside of Silver Spring Business District.

  97. Rachel says:

    In Gaithersburg, MD , 20878, there are hundreds in our school courtyard. One little guy clung to me for over 2 hours. I loved it!

    1. someone says:

      Me too.
      i live there too and there’s a lot of dead ones. because it was really cold yesterday.

    2. someone says:

      Me too.
      i live there too and there’s a lot of dead ones. because it was really cold yesterday. so a lot are dead

  98. Jen R says:

    TONS spotted this morning in downtown Silver Spring, MD! Had noticed shells around my yard for a couple weeks and was greeted by actual live cicadas this AM. I am NOT pleased with this development!!

  99. Angie says:

    We walked out this morning to find hundreds emerging and shedding. We live in 20151 – Chantilly, Va. So cool! My daughter loved it. I saw a strange one, it was creamy white. Anyone see one like that? It was bigger than the rest too.

    1. someone says:

      it just emerged so it’s white.

  100. Jane says:

    Hundreds in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of DC this morning. I started seeing shells about a week ago but now they are all over, shells and live cicadas too.

  101. Howard Bernstein says:

    Friend in Annapolis today (5-15-17) reports plenty of Cicadas emerging there.

  102. Angela says:

    they are here in Howard County Maryland

  103. Dale Swann says:

    Currently 5 adults hanging around the house. Wouldn’t be surprised to see more by the end of the week.
    Oxon Hill,MD

  104. Xtina says:

    I can report that the second wave has emerged this week. I live in Arlington, VA and our walkways/trees are covered. There are hundreds at least.

    We had a big group emerge last week when it was warm. We didn’t see any more for the rest of the week when we got cooler temperatures and rain. Yesterday was beautiful (75F) and this morning there are exoskeletons everywhere. I think many more will emerge this week.

  105. Dan says:

    Update #6.5 It looks like cicadas emerging in Knoxville are actually Brood X stragglers, because they did not appear in 2000 (which would have made them Brood VI), but appeared in last in 2004 (thx Ijams Nature Center)

    Update #5 A remarkable number of Brood X stragglers have been emerging in the D.C., Virginia, and Maryland area. The cool, rainy weather should “chill them out” for a few days, but by the end of the week with the HOT 🌡️ temps, more will emerge, and the males that aren’t eaten by varmints may start to sing.

    Update #4 If you hear them chorus — when they all sing together, listen to the video below — report them to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly

    1. Dan says:

      Update #7 Wow! Brood X stragglers are emerging in Tennessee (around Knoxville), Virginia, D.C., Maryland, Delaware and Ohio! These stragglers are emerging 4 years ahead of time. HOT weather this week will cause even more to emerge, and they may begin to chorus (synchronized singing) as well.

  106. Cameron says:

    Hey I’m planning a trip to see the cicadas this upcoming weekend. Do you think there will be more emerging in Washington Virginia/DC or should I make the trip all the way to North Carolina to see them. I like to see them as nymphs. Thanks.

    1. Dan says:

      Check the weather, and use that to decide. It looks like it will be sunny next weekend around Washington D.C., but rainy and overcast in North Carolina, therefor DC/VA is your best bet. Use the map on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly to decide where to look. Keep in mind that most sightings come from people’s homes, so you’ll have to go to parks near the area.

      1. Cameron says:

        Thanks for your advice! I can’t wait to see them!

        1. Cameron says:

          Also, would you happen to know by any chance what parks down there might have them? Thanks, because it’s harder to find the parks that have them when the reports come in from people’s homes.

          1. Dan says:

            Zoom in on the map. 🙂

    2. Omar says:

      They are here. Silver Spring, MD 20901. Coming out and walking around at 8 pm.

      1. Viki says:

        Came here to confirm emergence in full swing here in Silver Spring, 20901 (Four Corners) – spent some time outside last night just watching the show and shepherding some of them to optimal molting locations.

    3. Chris Swenson says:

      Hi! I found your comments through Google. We live in Vienna, Virginia outside DC. Zip Code 22181. Saw our first yesterday. And a ton this morning are out.

    4. Marianne Williams says:

      The older neighborhoods will have rhe most. Newer construction kills them off.

  107. Margaret Alvord says:

    I live in Arlington, VA and on Thursday, May 11 about 8pm, hundreds and hundreds emerged in my yard at the same time. I had been gardening for quite awhile and they came out of the grass like clockwork. I have several large, old trees on my property, two of which are silver maples.

  108. Robin says:

    Hundreds on the south side of our house in Herndon Va. Mostly shells but some live guys noticed.
    They are loving my plantings.
    When will they go away ?

    1. AW says:

      I work in Springfield, VA and live in Annandale, VA and there are lots of holes in the ground and exoskeletons on most trees in both locations (6 miles apart). We didn’t have much activity last year. I have lots of woods next to my house and office. Have not heard them, yet.

  109. Mike says:

    I saw one live larva crawling up the side of my house in southern Maryland on May 10th but today (May 11th), I found several more husks on the house and nearby trees.

  110. Heather says:

    I walk dogs in the Fairlington area of Arlington County. Today I saw lots of shedded skeletons but mostly dead adult cicadas. We have a lot of birds and dogs here so that could be a factor. The birds have been very active today!

  111. Jessica says:

    My neighbor’s tree has lots of activity (North Herndon). She recently lost two maples…related to the large population in her yard?

  112. ECF says:

    The ground is very much alive tonight. Many more emerging from the ground, crunching through the grass, climbing trees, and emerging as full adults. May well be hundreds, and many more than just a few days ago.

    1. ECF says:

      Falls Church, Virginia

      1. Chris Simon says:

        Hi ECF,

        It would be great if you can let us know whether your populations continue to build and start chorusing (and how loud the chorusing is in good weather). Your information and that of others reporting to this site and to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly are very valuable to us scientists!

        Thanks, Chris Simon, Professor, U. Connecticut

        1. Chris Simon says:

          PS ECF Did you live in the same spot in 2004 (Brood X) and if so, were there periodical cicadas emerging in large numbers? If you were not there, do your neighbors remember? For anyone who writes in, it would be useful to know what you experienced at the same location in 2004.

          1. Roger Miller says:

            Hi, Chris — I live in the Del Ray neighborhood of Alexandria, Virginia (22301), on a heavily treed lot with mature oak and maple trees. I’ve been here since 2000, and was a victim of the 2004 (Brood X?) swarm. So far this season, I’ve seen maybe 20 shells and one live specimen … nothing even close to 2004.

            Thanks —


  113. Rob says:

    I live in Falls Church VA with a large old maple in the front yard. We are crawling with them – hundreds all over my front lawn and crawling up the house – maple is covered with them. They are shedding their exoskeletons as I write. I was here in 2004 and don’t remember anything like this….

  114. Stephanie says:

    We have hundreds of holes in the backyard and have seen many skeletons and have seen 3 live ones tonight coming under the back door in Arlington, VA close to Shirlington Village.

    1. Amy says:

      Live in Arlington and we, too, are covered in them. I took tons of pictures last night.

  115. Lane Ebert says:

    We’re in Fairfax VA. We have 5 big silver maples and 2 tall pine trees in our backyard and our neighbors also have 5 maples. The kids were having so much fun jumping from yard to yard watching the cicadas emerge and shed their exoskeletons. We used our flashlights well into the evening to rescue them from the grass to get them closer to our trees. Hopefully they’ll climb high during the night before our dog goes out in the morning. She was gorging on them before we realized what was happening. Between our 2 yards there were at least 1000 emerging and hundreds shedding. We couldn’t step without moving them out of the way first to clear a path. No black adults just the newly emerged white ones. I did report them on the website.

    1. Bonnie says:

      Dogs love these! They are good, lean protein, so don’t be afraid to let them munch on a natural food – unless someone has been spraying pesticides.

      1. Dan says:

        That is correct. Keep an eye on your pets though. They can choke if they get a wing stuck sideways in their throat, or they may become ill if they feast too much.

        1. Simon says:

          I would say that we need to do what can to protect cicada populations, especially the 13 yr and 17 year broods. Their habitat is being reduced steadily.

          So for me, I would try and reduce their mortslity rate via pets and the like.

  116. Erica Kennedy says:

    Columbia, MD
    We’ve been watching them emerge from the ground; crawling on the trees, house, and sidewalks. We’ve seen a few over the last week, but today there were many (and shells)! We could also hear them crawling out of the ground, rustling through the mulch and leaves.

  117. Ellen B says:

    We live in Falls Church, VA in a house that was built in 1948. We had a huge number of cicadas in 2004. Tonight I spotted a considerable number of cicadas coming out of holes in the lawn and climbing up the front of the house. No where near 2004 numbers, but certainly more than a handful. Wondering if the fact that we had a very old tree removed in the front yard a couple of weeks ago contributed to the emergence – I don’t seem to notice any in the neighbor’s yards.

  118. Jon says:

    I’ve seen some holes, but only two shells in Baltimore County MD.

  119. Geoff Shotts says:

    Saw a bunch on a single tree in Springfield, VA. Already submitted a location, but forgot to add a link to the pictures I took, you can see them here:

  120. JR says:

    I’m a naturalist at Ijams Nature Center in Knoxville, TN. We have observed emerging cicadas over the last 2 days here. I’m guessing they are Brood X stragglers based on the geographical data. Exciting, but disheartening if they are indeed yet another indicator of climate change.

    1. Dan says:

      Yes, you’re in Brood X territory! Please report your sighting to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly so they can add it to their map

      1. JR says:

        Hi Dan! I just saw an update that the Knoxville cicadas might actually be Brood VI. How can we tell? So many folks here are asking about them and I want to be sure we’re giving them the best information. Help!

  121. Patrick says:

    I see 3 cicadas close together on the same wood pole in Arlington VA tonight Tuesday 9 May 2017. They appear freshly emerged.

  122. Dan says:

    Update #3 There have been many Brood X straggler emergences reported so far. Stragglers have been reported in the Cincinnati area of Ohio; Bowie, Maryland; Prince George’s County, Maryland; Springfield, Virginia; Reston, Virginia; and the D.C. area in general.

  123. GSW says:

    We found many wings and 3 shells in Arlington, VA this last weekend. I haven’t seen or heard any alive.

  124. Donald McNair says:

    Saw 5 locations with 20+ emerging cicadas in Falls Church VA on 5/6/17, also many singles throughout the neighborhood. Had we covered more streets I’m sure we would have found more.

  125. Lisa M Weber Raley says:

    We’ve got one living and one exoskeleton observed today in Edgewater md.

  126. Robert says:

    Noticed several periodic cicada shells where a tree was taken down last year. Appear to be stragglers. In western afairfax County, Centreville area.

  127. ECF says:

    Noticed ~5 periodic cicadas that emerged today in Eastern Fairfax County, Virginia.

  128. W. Whetzel says:

    I have seen about 20-30 cicadas and exo-skeletons in Arlington virginia. All in the past 3 days. BUt it is getting chilly here for the next few days.

    1. Dan says:

      The end of May should be really interesting once the weather is solidly warm (no dips into the 40s or 50s), and all the straggers have had their chance to emerge.

  129. Dan says:

    Update #2 Some info about accelerated Brood X cicadas from 2000:

    • An article from the PSU extension They have Brood VI emerging in 2000 in “Bucks, Dauphin, Lancaster, Lehigh, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia, and Westmoreland Counties” but it very well might be accelerated Brood X. To be determined.
    • An article by John Zyla and J F Taylor about “Reports of four year accelerated occurrences of the 2004 emergence of periodical cicadas, Magicicada spp. (Hemiptera: Cicadidae) brood X in Maryland,Virginia, and the district of Columbia”.
  130. L E Mayo says:

    I live in Northern Virginia and found red eyed cicada in my herb garden with dozens of exoskeletons around my house.

    1. Anna says:

      Hi can you be more specific as to what part of Virginia because i’m planning a trip from NJ to see them? thanks.

  131. Cameron says:

    Hey it’s me again, I have a question. Do you think it would be sensible to take a ride down to D.C this weekend and search for stragglers? I heard they might come out in moderate numbers down there. Thanks.

    1. Dan says:

      LOL! That’s up to you. There are definitely reports of stragglers in the DC and MA area appearing on Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly

      I’m going to be lazy and check out Princeton, which had a massive Brood X emergence in 2004, and should have some stragglers. I’ll probably wait a few weeks though because the weather has cooled down again. Also, there was a sighting in Cheesequake park. I’ll check that out as well.

      1. Cameron says:

        LOL! Thanks Yea Cause D.C had temps in the upper 80s for a few consecutive days. Even though it’s cooler there now, a few probably already emerged. I am just a little skeptical on where specifically to go. Thanks

    2. L E Mayo says:

      I live in NOVA and they are definitely coming out in my garden.

  132. Rebecca says:

    Hey I’ve been seeing a lot of reports coming from the DC area. Do you think these are true reports?

    1. Dan says:

      Yes, it seems legit.

    2. Hatsie Charbonneau says:

      Yes, they are, Rebecca!!

  133. Allen says:

    My 5 year old is super excited about the emergence of this “gigantic bug” crawling up the walls of our house, first noted last night in Reston VA.

  134. Dan says:

    Update #1 Dr. Gene Kritsky of Mount St. Joseph University reported the emergence of adult cassini in Cincinnati, and the discovery of more red-eyed nymphs ready to go. Visit his site for more updates. According to Gene “the cicadas are either the offspring of the Brood X accelerated cicadas from 2000 or it is an accelerated 2021 Brood X cicada. My guess is the later because it is from an area where I did not have reports of mating cicadas in 2000.”

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