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Cicadas are coming to Massachusetts - but not this year

When will cicadas next emerge in Massachusetts?
When will cicadas next emerge in Massachusetts? 13:39

BOSTON - Trillions of cicadas are set to emerge in the United States this spring. While the buzzing insects will not come out in New England in 2024, a unique group of cicadas is expected to appear in Massachusetts next year.

Professor John Cooley studies cicadas at the University of Connecticut.

"This year is not going to be a great year for cicada watchers out here in New England and the northeast," he explained to WBZ-TV's Paula Ebben. "Next year we get a true interesting thing that's going to happen."

"Odd" brood of cicadas 

Brood XIV will emerge in 2025, and it's one of two broods found in New England. They come out every 17 years to mate.

"Brood XIV is odd because it was found in Long Island and it's also found on Cape Cod," Cooley said. 

Map shows where periodical cicadas emerge in the U.S. U.S. Forest Park Service

Those are "pretty unlikely places" for cicadas to be found, Cooley says, because cicadas typically thrive in deep forests and soil - not sandy beaches.

"These are rare and they are special," he said.

"More fragile than you think"

The 2024 emergence is unique because two broods are emerging for the first time in 221 years. They mate, molt their exoskeletons and die, leaving behind babies that burrow into the ground and lay dormant until the next cycle. 

While this year's cicada numbers are unprecedented, Cooley says it's not a guarantee that the population will be robust in Massachusetts in 2025. He says researchers will be watching next year's emergence "with a bit of apprehension."

"The ones on Long Island have really been declining over the past couple of emergences, and the ones on the Cape are kind of heading in that direction as well," he said. "They're more fragile than you think."  

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