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Years of Mid-State development could impact size of cicada 'Brood X'

AM HILT CICADAS ON THE RISE PKG.transfer_frame_770.jpeg
Posted at 8:12 AM, May 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-14 09:25:01-04

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Experts say increases in development in parts of Middle Tennessee could impact the emergence of the highly anticipated "Brood X" of cicadas.

The group of cicadas emerge every 17 years and impact parts of Eastern and Middle Tennessee. Areas that are expected to see big numbers of the boisterous bugs this year include Putnam and Wilson Counties.

"The cicadas that were in far East Tennessee, they migrated a little bit further west and then, Wilson County is kind of where they stopped," UT Extension Agent David Cook said. "Get into Crossville, Putnam County, Cookeville, there you're going to see probably quite an abundance of cicadas."

But the mid-state looks much different than it did during the boisterous bugs last appearance in 2004.

"There's been a lot of development," Cook said with a laugh.

That development could mean cicadas is now-crowded communities, like urbanized areas of Wilson County, may have a harder time reaching the surface from their underground home.

"They're going to miss the party," Cook said. "They're going to come up to the surface and find a home, a sidewalk, a building foundation, a new street, a shopping mall. So we might have prevented a lot of cicadas in areas where there's been a lot of development, they may not be able to emerge like we think."

But even in more rural areas that will likely have a strong cicada showing, Cook said people shouldn't worry.

"In a short period of time you'll start forgetting about this. And for 17 years you'll have something else to worry about, but it won't be cicadas" Cook said.

Davidson County is not expected to see high numbers of Brood X cicadas this year, but Cook said the Nashville area will likely see a major emergence of the bugs in 2024.