Email Print Share

Media Advisory 04-15

The Cicadas Are Coming, the Cicadas Are Coming: Research on "Brood X" Cicadas Focus of Briefing

a cicada

Cicadas will soon awaken from a 17-year-long nap.

April 30, 2004

This material is available primarily for archival purposes. Telephone numbers or other contact information may be out of date; please see current contact information at media contacts.

Cicada experts funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) will discuss the biology, economic impact, geographic distribution and genetics of the Brood X periodical cicadas emerging from the ground this May. These large, winged insects appear by the trillions across the northeast and mid-west every 17 years.

Brood X cicadas have developed in underground holes for the past 17 years by sucking on tree roots. The insects will surface in areas where susceptible trees were present during the last infestation, which occurred in 1987. Scientists predict that Indiana alone will be infested with millions of the bugs. A particularly heavy emergence will also occur in the Washington, D.C., metro area.

Among other topics, the scientists will discuss how human alteration of forests affects cicadas. Cicadas are drawn to the forest edge; because eastern forests have grown since the last emergence, this year's cicadas will likely emerge deeper in the forest and move to the edge. Tracking the cicadas' relocation is among the researchers' topics. They will also present the latest findings on the effect of cicada root parasitism on red maples; how periodical cicadas interact with the forest ecosystem as a whole; and biogeographic and behavioral research that led to the discovery of a new cicada species with a 13-year life cycle, which appears to have originated from a 17-year life cycle species.

Now available:


Scientists from Indiana University at Bloomington; Indiana State University; and the University of Connecticut:

  • Biologist Keith Clay, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Geographer James Speer, Indiana State University
  • Geographer John Odland, Indiana University, Bloomington
  • Biologist Christine Simon, University of Connecticut


Briefing on "Brood X" Periodical Cicada Research


Tuesday, May 11th
1:30 p.m.


National Science Foundation
4201 Wilson Blvd., Suite 1295
Arlington, VA 22230
(Metro Orange Line, Ballston Stop)
For Directions, see


Media Contacts
Cheryl L. Dybas, NSF, (703) 292-7734, email:
Elizabeth Malone, NSF, (703) 292-8070, email:

The U.S. National Science Foundation propels the nation forward by advancing fundamental research in all fields of science and engineering. NSF supports research and people by providing facilities, instruments and funding to support their ingenuity and sustain the U.S. as a global leader in research and innovation. With a fiscal year 2022 budget of $8.8 billion, NSF funds reach all 50 states through grants to nearly 2,000 colleges, universities and institutions. Each year, NSF receives more than 40,000 competitive proposals and makes about 11,000 new awards. Those awards include support for cooperative research with industry, Arctic and Antarctic research and operations, and U.S. participation in international scientific efforts.

mail icon Get News Updates by Email 

Connect with us online
NSF website:
NSF News:
For News Media:
Awards database:

Follow us on social