The beginning of peak cicada emergence is underway, and early on it’s a story of the haves and the have nots.

As of Wednesday, cicadas have emerged en masse in many parts of the Washington region, with the highest density of reports and numbers in a band from Fairfax through Arlington, the District and College Park. But even in those locations, it’s feast or famine regarding the cicadas, as some yards have hordes while nearby yards have none.

To understand the regional distribution of the insects and create the map above, we queried our Facebook followers and received more than 3,300 reports. They were instrumental in helping us determine where cicadas were numerous or missing in action.

Concentrations of cicadas tend to be highest closest to the District, where temperatures are generally warmer, especially at night, and where there is less shade. In cooler, less developed parts of the Washington region outside the Capital Beltway, the emergence was spottier.

Oakton and Leesburg are examples: Some readers in those towns posted that they are awash in the bugs, while other readers said they have yet to see even one. The cool weather we had last week slowed the cicada emergence, making it patchy.

With Brood X beginning to emerge in the billions, scientists are hoping to answer some of the many questions surrounding these cicadas. (Alice Li/The Washington Post)

If you want to avoid the cicadas, head to the southern portion of our region, including Prince William, Charles and Calvert counties and points south. Those locations saw Brood II cicadas in 2013 but are not in the Brood X zone. We received a couple of cicada reports just to the south of Bull Run and the Occoquan River, however, just outside of the expected Brood X territory.

The Eastern Shore is another area not expecting cicadas. Ocean City, Md., is advertising itself as a cicada-free zone, with 10 miles of beaches and zero cicadas.

Let us know where you’ve seen cicadas, particularly if it’s outside of the reports we show on the map.

The forecast

by Jason Samenow

With warm weather predicted through the weekend, if you live in the pink shaded area in the above map and haven’t seen cicadas, they could emerge at any time. Soil temperatures, which reflect air temperatures averaged over about three days, are nearing or above the 64-degree threshold for emergence in most of the region.

We had called for the beginning of peak cicada emergence between Tuesday and Thursday this week, and that has held true in some areas, but in other areas it’s still to come over the next several days into next week. Forested areas away from the District, where soil temperatures stay coolest longest, are likely to see the latest peak emergence.

Once the cicadas arrive in your location, they should stick around for several weeks but should be mostly gone by late June and early July.

Recent cicada photos