Google Doodle celebrates Double Cicada Brood… Here’s what to know

 Google Doodle celebrates Double Cicada Brood… Here’s what to know

Today’s Google Doodle piqued my curiosity, especially after I discovered its fascinating subject: the rare event known as a “double cicada brood” occurring this year. Google has aptly named this phenomenon “cicada-geddon,” and it truly is a remarkable occurrence.

Cicadas are quite common in these regions, and there are many different species. For instance, here’s a photo of a cicada from Brood X, taken in 2021 in Columbia, Maryland. This particular brood spent 17 years underground before emerging.

In 2024, an extraordinary event will take place as two different broods of cicadas emerge simultaneously. Brood XIII and Brood XIX will both crawl out of the soil this year, marking the first time in 200 years that two broods have appeared together. The last time this happened was in 1803.

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Brood XIII emerges every 17 years and is found in northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin, northwestern Indiana, southwestern Michigan, and eastern Iowa. 

On the other hand, Brood XIX has a 13-year cycle and is primarily located in southern Illinois and much of Missouri, with some populations in Virginia. In central Illinois, these two broods might overlap, creating a unique and rare spectacle for the region.

According to the US Forest Service, trillions of cicadas will gradually emerge and start their daily raucous chorus, delighting some people and annoying others. In certain areas, the collective noise of so many cicadas could reach levels between 90 to 120 decibels, comparable to the sound of a gas-powered lawnmower or a motorcycle.

Fortunately, cicadas observe quiet hours. Unlike some other insect species, cicadas “sing” during the day by expanding and contracting a membrane called a tymbal. Additionally, only male cicadas produce this sound as part of their efforts to attract females for mating, so the noise is not constant.

That’s pretty wild! Science is cool!

The damage cicadas can inflict on trees they feed on, such as oak, hickory, apple, birch, and dogwood, is less enjoyable. 

Fortunately, despite their noise and the litter of shells left by their mass deaths, cicadas do not bite and are not poisonous.

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