The Great Southern Brood: Billions of Cicadas Are Anticipated to Infest Georgia

An extraordinary occurrence transpiring in North Georgia at the end of every thirteen years is the Great Southern Brood, an enormous assemblage of cicadas that will deliver a thunderous chorus and a visual spectacle. Local horticulturist Sonya Harrison of “My Secret Garden” in Peachtree Corners is preparing to inform her clients about this uncommon occasion and how to safeguard their vegetation.

Cicadas are singular organisms, having spent the majority of their lives subterranean and only appearing in large numbers for a momentous occasion. It is anticipated that their emergence will be among the most significant in recent history this year. Cicadas, in contrast to locusts, do not cause damage to humans by biting, stinging, or destroying crops and blossoms. On lesser plants, their reproductive process can be quite taxing. As Harrison explains, cicadas deposit an abundance of eggs along the branches in the form of long bands; this can cause fragile limbs to break under the weight.

Although cicadas are generally non-venomous towards humans, their vast quantity can be quite daunting. Every individual insect is approximately 1.5 inches in length, and their combined existence is distinguished by a distinct and ubiquitous sound. Harrison stated, “The noise will be the first thing you notice.” Local resident Gay Shook, who lives near Wolf Creek and is no stranger to wildlife, concurs, but finds the cicada phenomenon especially intense.

In order to safeguard plants against potential harm, Harrison advises the implementation of specialized fabric or netting. By doing so, the cicadas will be unable to deposit their eggs on the branches, protecting the trees’ youth and susceptibility from the potential consequences of the insects’ progeny.

The forthcoming emergence of cicadae is noteworthy not only for its magnitude but also for its precise moment. This year marks the unprecedented occurrence of the Great Southern Brood and Northern Illinois Brood converging—a occurrence not seen since the presidency of Thomas Jefferson—increasing the grand total to an astounding trillion cicadas.

Harrison views the existence of billions, much less one trillion, cicadas as an essential, albeit formidable, component of the ecological cycle, despite the fact that it may unnerve some. “Bearish as it may, I dislike seeing them.” I believe they resemble something prehistoric when exoskeletons are strewn across the ground. “However, that is myself,” she chuckles.

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As Georgia prepares for this natural phenomenon, inhabitants and tourists are encouraged to observe the occasion with a combination of wonder and reverence for the tenacity and complexities of the natural world. The cicadas, in fact, are merely passing through for a duration of thirteen years before retreating underground.

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