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This May, an unusual and abundant cicada breakout is anticipated in Arkansas



Little Rock, Arkansas – This May, a rare cicada emergence is predicted to occur in fifteen states, including Arkansas.

This specific cicada group, known as brood XIX, only appears once every 13 years. According to Tanja McKay, head of Biological Sciences at Arkansas State, they will be so abundant that you could pick them in buckets from trees.

According to McKay, not every part of the state will be impacted by the emergence.

“Some areas will see quite a few. Others in a more urbanized environment, you might not get as many,” McKay said. “But, in a forested environment, do expect those large numbers.”

The soundscape of Arkansas is predicted to be significantly impacted by the emergence as well. McKay likens the loud mating cry of male cicadas to the buzzing sound of a lawnmower.

It is anticipated that Brood XIX will have both beneficial and detrimental effects on Arkansas’s natural ecology.

Becca Lett, one of McKay’s students, says “The nymphs burrow in the ground and aerate the soil. So, then rainwater and nutrients can get down there to plant roots and actually benefit plant systems.”

However, as female cicada eggs are known to harm saplings by poking holes in them, the brood may also seriously harm smaller plants.

“If you have small nursing plants, a little plant like a small oak tree that you’ve just planted, I would cover it up with some netting,” McKay advises.

This summer, brood XIX cicada visitors won’t be the only ones visiting Arkansas; brood XII is also anticipated to emerge. The last time these two groups appeared together was in 1803, and their rates of development are distinct.

According to McKay, cicadas are not harmful or carriers of the disease. It is anticipated that their emergence will take three weeks to a month.


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