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Researchers using crowd-sourced app to track Brood X cicada emergence

Posted at 8:33 PM, Apr 29, 2021

CINCINNATI, Ohio (WCPO) - Brood X is coming, and before you run away from the massive amount of cicadas, a new mobile app might convince you to stick around.

Cicada Safari is an app that lets you become an amateur scientist, and it could lead to more cicadas being counted than ever before.

"You go out and look for cicadas in your area, and when you find one, you open the app and you take a photograph of the cicada," said Dr. Gene Kritsky, Dean of Behavioral and Natural Sciences at Mount St. Joseph's University.

Kritsky will work with students to examine the photographs in order to assist in counting the number of cicadas that emerge during this 17-year brood emergence. The app was tested first in 2018 with smaller broods

"It goes on a live map," Kritsky said. "You can actually go to that map and zoom in and see your cicada on that map, and so you can follow that emergence live."

Kritsky said he hopes the app will help further understand the insects' emergence.

"Because of the app, we found not only the brood we wanted to look at; we documented four other cicada broods that emerged off-cycle, which means they emerged on the years they were supposed to and that would've been missed," he said.

Kritsky said the app had already received 1,700 photographs of emergence holes as of Wednesday.

Because of the recent warm weather, he predicts the cicadas will arrive a few days early, around May 11.

To download Cicada Safari, click here.

This story originally reported by Raven Richard on