Bloomington is at the epicenter of an event that will soon bring a cacophony of buzzing and thousands upon thousands of red-eyed cicadas to yards, fields and woods across southern Indiana. It’s an event that’s unique to the eastern United States, with several different broods emerging at 13- and 17-year cycles. But this group, known as Brood X, is one of, if not, the largest.
“You’d be hard pressed to go anywhere else to find more cicadas than Bloomington,” said Keith Clay, a distinguished professor emeritus in the Indiana University biology department who is a professor and chair of the ecology and evolutionary biology department at Tulane University in Louisiana. “It’s one of the biggest broods because the habitat is good.”
The habitat in southern Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and other eastern states has trees, which are what cicadas need for sustenance throughout their lives. With the Hoosier National Forest stretching from just south of Bloomington to the Ohio River, along with state forests and parks as well as woodland properties protected by land trusts and other agencies, southern Indiana provides the trees needed by Brood X.