Everything you need to know about the 2024 cicada super brood

For the first time in 221 years, two cicada broods are emerging at the same time.

Dozens of cicadas sit on the branch of a tree

Cicadas prefer oaks, willows, maples, and ash trees.

Photo via Gene Kritsky

Are you ready for swarms of cicadas to take over a 16-state area?

It’s rare, but occasionally two broods emerge at the same time. Brood XIII (comprising cicadas that emerge every 17 years) and Brood XIX (13-year cicadas) will both reproduce this spring.

Did you know? The last time Broods XIII and XIX emerged simultaneously was 1803.

Enter: the super brood

Does this mean the two broods can reproduce with each other? Will that result in even more cicadas during their next emergences?

We spoke to Dr. Gene Kritsky, a cicada expert at Mount St. Joseph University in Cincinnati, to find out. He let us know that since “the broods do not have a wide area of overlap” it is unlikely that they will reproduce with each other. However, he noted, “If there was an overlap, it could satiate the predators more quickly, resulting in generally more offspring from each brood.”

A gif showing the difference between one cicada brood emerging in the south and both emerging in the south and through Illinois and Wisconsin.

Brood XIII (aka Northern Illinois Brood) joins Brood XIX (the Great Southern Brood).

Map via Gene Kritsky, gif created with Knight Labs

What this means

The good news? The majority of overlapping broods are concentrated in Illinois, so most cities are unlikely to see more cicadas due to the super brood, but it’s possible for cities like Indianapolis, St. Louis, Chicago, Kansas City, and Louisville.

However, Brood XIX is coming to 13 states across the southeast and midwest, including North and South Carolina, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Cicadas usually emerge when the soil hits 64 degrees, which begins in April for some places. Check the current soil temp in your area.

In other words, we’re close to the event these cicadas have been waiting over a decade for.

A map tracking cicadas along the east coast showing 122 cicadas in Tennessee, 25 in South Carolina, and 134 in North Carolina

The first sign of a cicada emergence is small holes in the ground.

Screenshot via Cicada Safari courtesy of Gene Kritsky

How you can help

Cicada Safari needs you to track cicada spottings. Mapping cicadas helps experts understand when broods may emerge. Per Dr. Kritsky, it also led to a discovery “that some 17-year cicadas can emerge four years early and may form a new brood.”

Download the free app to track cicada spottings and submit your own photos.

Look for cicadas where there are trees, full sun, and low vegetation. Think: Parks and cemeteries.

Did you learn something today? Prove it by taking our cicada quiz.