COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In about two or three weeks, the D.C. region will likely be awash in cicadas. But some locals said they are already seeing the bugs emerge from the ground.
Billions of cicadas will live above ground for about eight weeks this spring across the eastern seaboard. It will be the first time these cicadas, or Brood X, will be in plain sight of humans in 17 years.
Experts expect to see cicadas come from the ground, en masse when the local soil temperature hits around 64 degrees -- that usually happens in mid-May.
However, locals are already seeing the bugs pop up in their community.
Colette Lord, a sophomore at the University of Maryland, College Park, recorded a video of cicadas molting recently on campus.
“I think I'm the only one that's like, ‘yay, the cicadas are coming,’” she said.
Lord is also studying ecology and evolution. The Maryland native said she was 3- or 4 years old the last time Brood X appeared above ground.
“It'll definitely be a little gross from a personal standpoint,” Lord said. “But as a scientist, I'm intrigued by it.”
She adds locals have nothing to worry about.
“The good news is they don't bite and they're not staying, basically, all they're going to do is come out of the ground or climb,” Lord said. “They’re just going to make a ton of noise to mate.”
In Howard County, cicadas are already setting up homes above ground too.
Allison Vanisko and her parents recently discovered many cicadas burrowing underneath a tarp in the backyard of their Ellicott City home. The bugs left a network of zig-zagging paths in the soil.
“I thought it was really cool and just how intricate it was. And I was like, wow, this is like nature's beauty and stuff.”
Vanisko posted pictures of the cicadas to the social media website Reddit. She said the posts attracted more than 11,000 up-votes and 600 comments.
The bugs have attracted a lot of attention.
“A couple of people from Europe commented and they we’re like, ‘um, what is this?’” Vanisko said.
She said she was a little surprised to see so many of the bugs above ground in late April, especially given the region’s recent cold snap. Either way, Vanisko says she preparing to live life side-by-side with the bugs for the next two months.
“I've actually learned a lot about cicadas,” Vanisko said. “So, it's kind of fun.”