The Cicada Watch monitoring project is being coordinated through Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation’s Division of Nature Preserves and Natural Resources. The project uses volunteer observers to help document the emergence of periodical cicadas from Brood XIX in Mecklenburg County and the surrounding areas. Brood XIX, also known as the "Great Southern Brood", has a 13-year life cycle and last appeared in 1998. It will be emerging again this spring across portions of 15 states, including the greater Charlotte area. The emergence should begin around the first week in May, but it can be slightly earlier or later depending on recent weather conditions.
Several periodical cicada broods appear to be declining and have disappeared entirely from portions of their historic ranges. Impacts such as development, habitat changes, increased use of lawn chemicals, herbicides and pesticides, as well as climatological factors, may be contributing to these declines. The baseline data obtained by volunteers during the emergence of Brood XIX this spring can be used for comparison during future emergences to determine if local populations of periodical cicadas are stable, increasing or declining in our region.
Knowledge of the local status of Brood XIX may serve as a useful tool to help us gauge how development and land use practices have affected the natural environment throughout the greater Charlotte region. The project may also provide other benefits to the citizens of Mecklenburg County including the opportunity for local community involvement in scientific efforts, enhancing the appreciation and awareness of regional biodiversity, and by providing unique opportunities for outdoor exploration.
The project website has detailed information about the Brood XIX cicadas, as well as information and instruction for volunteer observers. The website also contains a data entry page that will be used by volunteers to submit their observations.
In addition, a Facebook page has been set up for volunteer observers and other local residents to follow the emergence as it happens, and to share thoughts, stories, photos and videos about their experiences with the Brood XIX periodical cicadas.