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They're here: Brood X cicadas have begun emerging in the DMV

The bugs are expected to number in the billions, or even trillions, according to some estimates.

WASHINGTON — After 17 years and a lot of anticipation, the Brood X cicadas have begun emerging in the DMV, and with higher temperatures expected to warm the soil this week, the real coming out party could be just days away.

Experts estimate the number of cicadas in Brood X could reach the billions or even trillions this year, and once the soil temperature reaches 64 degrees, the bugs will begin to arrive en masse.

Many of you have already started seeing the winged bugs in your yards in D.C., Maryland and Virginia.

RELATED: Get ready: Some cicadas are already emerging from the ground in the DMV area

RELATED: The magic number is 64 for the cicadas | What soil temperature means for the bugs

RELATED: Hottest weather of 2021 arrives this week

What have the cicadas been doing while underground for 17 years?

Being couch potatoes, sucking on tree roots all day long.

"Pretty much the equivalent of laying on your couch and eating Doritos for 17 years," George Washington University entomologist Zoe Getman-Pickering said.

Here's how it works: cicada females cut little holes in the tree branches and lay about 20-30 eggs into each hole. 

Odds are, Getman-Pickering said, the females will lay their eggs pretty close to where they themselves were born, since cicadas aren't great flyers.

The baby cicadas, also called "nymphs," will hatch, fall down and dig tunnels into the soil. There they'll stay for 17 years sucking on roots.

RELATED: Verify: Your cicada questions answered

Credit: Ashley Hoover
Cicadas are here in NW DC. (Ashley Hoover) Credit: Ashley Hoover
Credit: Jeff Perry
Cicada (Jeff Perry) Credit: Jeff Perry

Cicada Smörgåsbord

Now that the cicadas are here, they offer some tasty, protein-packed meals for birds, rats, dogs, cats and even humans. 

Credit: Andy Torelli
Credit: Andy Torelli

RELATED: Cicada edibility: Everything you need to know about pets -- and humans -- eating cicadas

RELATED: Cicada emergence could mean an increase in the rat population, health officials warn

Cicada data

Send us your cicada pics using the Near Me feature on the WUSA9 app. Then you can send that same cicada snap to scientists tracking and mapping where and when cicadas emerge, using an app called Cicada Safari. 

RELATED: 'It’s this link to the past' | Researchers share the new technology helping to locate cicadas

Bugging out? 

Perhaps you're less than thrilled about the red-eyed bugs making their noisy return to the DMV. We spoke with psychotherapist Dr. Gwilym Roddick about how to handle feelings of anxiety around the swarm of cicadas.

RELATED: Here's what you should do if you fear cicadas

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