Known as periodical cicadas, the current swarm lives out most of its life underground. Every 17 years, however, the bugs emerge from their subterranean homes to breed and lay eggs for the cycle to start anew.
“They’re not expecting to see any in Georgia,” said Bartow County Extension Coordinator Paul Pugliese. “They expect more further north toward Virginia.”
While Northeastern states are beginning to see and hear the periodical swarm, known as Brood II, University of Georgia Professor of Entomology N.C. Hinkle advised extension staff statewide about the situation earlier this month via email and warned that if any are seen this month, it would likely be a rare occurrence in Rabun, White, Towns and Habersham counties.
“The Northeast is having its own periodical cicada emergence this year, but unfortunately it is highly unlikely that we will see much of Brood II here in Georgia this year,” Hinkle said in the email. “It looks like our next periodical cicada emergence will be in 2017, with anticipated Brood VI cicadas showing up possibly in the northern third of the state. Brood X will show up in 2021 and ‘the Great Southern Brood,’ (the one that was such a hit in 2011) will return in 2024.”
The next cicadas area residents can expect to see will be the annual summertime cicadas seen in late June known as Dog Day Cicadas.
“Of course we get our annual Dog Day Cicadas every year that hatch out, but they’re not nearly as loud as the masses that come out in the periodical cicadas,” Pugliese said. “They’re pretty much harmless, they do lay eggs in the trees. In the process of laying eggs, the tips of the branches may die back where they’ve laid their eggs, but it’s not harmful to the trees and they don’t cause any permanent damage.”