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Spring officially begins Tuesday, March 19 in Louisiana. And if you've spent any time at all in the south, you'll soon be hearing a very familiar, even comforting sound.


Of course, I'm talking about the drone of the cicadas.  You've probably found their empty husks hanging on tree trunks, outdoor furniture or even on the side of your house.  But the arrival of cicadas also bring unwanted guests.  Copperheads love to gather around trees in hopes that a newly hatched cicada falls to the ground so they can snatch up a quick meal.


Different Types of Cicadas

It isn't unusual for cicadas to hatch every year.  But this year will be different. In fact, it will be very different.  There are three different types of cicadas. There's one type that hatches every year. And there's another type that hatches every 13 years,  and another every 17 years.

What makes 2024 so different is that the hatch rate of those 13 and 17 year cicadas will line up. Meaning, we could see billions of cicadas in one season. This will be the first time it's happened in 221 years.

Brood X Cicadas Emerge After 17 Years Underground
Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

The good news is, cicadas are harmless to us and to our pets.  But they can be harmful to trees. The female cicada will cut a hole in the tree to lay her eggs, then the cicada nymphs will fall to the ground and bury themselves, those nymphs will then feed off the sap of that tree which could then weaken or even kill a young tree (Purdue University).

In addition to not being harmful to us, cicadas are beneficial, so we shouldn't kill them. Cicadas are a good food source for birds, snakes, fish and other wildlife. They also aerate the ground if the nymphs borrow in a place other than around a tree and also become food for plants when they die and decompose.

It might be a little louder this spring and summer in the trees, but it also will be pretty incredible to witness.

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