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June 29, 2013

Where’s the cicadas?

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 12:57 am

At this point in the 2013 Brood II emergence, all the cicadas that will emerge, have emerged. I’m sorry to say that if periodical cicadas have not emerged in your yard/neighborhood/town, they won’t. This is frustrating for people who heard that the cicadas would emerge in their state, or those who looked at a brood map and assumed their neighborhood fell within the area shown on the map.

People in Pennsylvania, for example, heard that cicadas would arrive in their state, but unfortunately, the cicadas only occupy a small banana-shaped region in the east of the state:

Pony tail on New Jersey

If you look at one of the older maps for Brood II, it looks like the state of New Jersey is covered, however, each dot might represent only one sighing in one specific area. These old maps are useful, but they can be misleading (more on maps later in this article).

map example

Back in 2004, after Brood X emerged, I wrote an article called: What Happened: the Magicicada No-Show of 2004. The information in that article is relevant for Brood II as well.

The truth is periodical cicadas do not occupy every square acre of a state in which they are expected to emerge. Even in towns where they do emerge, they are rarely present in every acre or block of those towns. Why? Well, either they were eliminated in the areas where they once were found (due to urban sprawl, pesticides, weather-related events, etc), or they simply were never there in the first place. New threats like extreme weather (flooding and tree destruction by tropical storms) and tree-destroying invasive species (like the emerald ash borer) will continue to shrink cicada habitat areas.

It is important, for future emergences, that the press/media and cicada websites provide more accurate information about the location of the cicadas. The cicada sighting information people provide to Magicicada.org is very important because it will lead to better maps and more accurate sighting information.

One thing I’m glad that I did this year was provide a page that listed specific towns in New Jersey where cicadas could be expected. I wish I did one for every state in the Brood II area [but Cicada Mania is not my day job, and there are only so many hours in a day].

That said, we never want to discourage people from looking for periodical cicadas in areas we don’t expect them to exist. Last year unexpected Brood I cicadas emerged in Tennessee. This year periodical cicadas unexpectedly emerged in Oklahoma. A lot of us where hoping cicadas would show up in Central Park in Manhattan, but they didn’t (however, I didn’t personally walk every acre of the park).

So, what can you do to help?

  • If you’re a member of the press/media (yes that includes bloggers and tweeters), make sure you get precise locations from cicada experts.
  • Report cicada and flagging sightings to Magicicada.org so we have better records of the emergence.
  • Help cicada research by participating in a cicada citizen science project.
  • Help preserve the current cicada habitat. Preserve trees. Avoid pesticides. Don’t wipe out another forest to add yet another redundant giant store.

A consolation for people who missed out on the 17 year cicadas: there are about 160 species of annual cicadas in North America. They’re usually harder to find and catch, but you can still hear and capture them if you put some time and effort into it.

June 28, 2013

The Brood II Emergence Has Begun

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Video — Dan @ 1:12 am

June 28th Update

At this point if you haven’t had a periodical cicada emerge in your yard/neighborhood/town, you won’t. The best last chance to see them would be in New York State along rte 9G, parts of 9 and 9J. The more northern, the better. I visited that area last weekend, and found some great spots.

Flagging (when leaves turn brown from cicada egg laying) can be seen in New Jersey and states south of there. Probably a little bit of Connecticut and New York as well.

People are noticing sap dripping from the scars left behind from cicada egg laying.

Next up will be the hatching of the eggs.

Don’t forget to report FLAGGING (brown leaves) sightings to Magicicada.org so they can add them to their live map. You can report flagging, as well as egg nests, and newly hatched nymphs.

As usual Cicada Mania offers a full line of shirts, glassware, buttons and other souvenirs:

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June 26, 2013

Help the Simon Cicada Lab study periodical cicada nymphs

Filed under: Citizen Science,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 9:20 pm

The Simon Lab is dedicated to the study of cicadas, in particular, periodical cicadas.

One of the things they study is the development of cicada nymphs while they are underground.

They need your help to collect cicada nymph specimens. You would dig for them, and if you find them, mail them to the Simon Lab. The nymphs will be used for valuable scientific study, so the loss of a few from your yard will not be in vain.

If you are interested in participating in cicada nymph research, visit The Simon Lab Nymph Tracking Project page for more information. You must have had periodical cicadas on your property in past 13 or 17 years to find the nymphs — not including the Brood II area, since those nymphs came out of the ground this year.

Cicada Nymphs

June 23, 2013

New York is still loaded with cicadas

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Video — Tags: , — Dan @ 7:51 pm

New york cicadas If you want to see and hear the Brood II cicadas, play hookey this week, and head on up the Hudson Valley in New York State. DO IT! It’s your last chance until 2030 (unless you want to see Brood III and XXII next year).

Today I took an eight hour road trip along the Hudson River in NY. I hit Palisades Interstate Park, Bear Mountain, Cold Springs, virtually every town along rte 9G and 199, Germantown, Hudson, and Woodstock.

Cold Spring and Woodstock were a little disappointing, though their downtowns seemed like nice places to visit (no time for human fun when you’re tracking cicadas). The east side of the Hudson River was definitely more active than the west side, although I did hear cicada choruses along Interstate 87 between exit 18 and 16.

Here’s my favorite locations. The first one is pure gold.

Rt 199
A rest stop for cars.
Rhinebeck NY 12572
41.972693,-73.915277
Loads of ‘decims and cassini. Cassini could be picked off the low lying trees like grapes. ‘Decims hugged trees by the 100’s. Best spot of the day.

130 Main street by the river.
Germantown, NY 12526
42.134975,-73.897069
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims and cassini on low vegetation.

400 New York 308
Rhinebeck, NY 12572
41.938882,-73.88215
Cassini and decim choruses. Decims in low lying trees.

Dutchess Mall, ironically near a big box hardware store that will remain nameless
Fishkill, NY
41.515125,-73.892328
Cassini and ‘decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees. Very active and feisty.

Tiorati Brook Rd
Stony Point, NY 10980
41.252589,-74.055829
‘Decim choruses. ‘Decims in low lying trees.


Some video and audio from the New York emergence:

Periodical cicadas at a rest stop in Rhinebeck NY:

Magicicada septendecim in Stony Point NY:

Magicicada cassini Court II and III NY Brood II 2013:

June 17, 2013

Jean-Francois Duval’s Cicada Photos from Connecticut

Filed under: Brood II,Magicicada,Periodical,Photos & Illustrations — Dan @ 8:09 pm

Jean-Francois Duval of Victoriaville, Québec wrote me back on April 15th looking for advice for where and when to observe the 2013 Brood II emergence. Where is easier than when. I recommended a park in Connecticut (closest state to Victoriaville, Québec) that is known to have Brood II cicadas. When was more difficult this year because of a cold and rainy spring; cold and rain delay emergences or make them difficult to appreaciate.

I’m happy to say Jean-Francois made it to Connecticut at the right time to see the cicadas. Here is a selection of his photos.

Click each image to see a larger version:

Exuvia on a tree in Connecticut by Jean-Francois Duval

Magicicada exuvia in Connecticut by Jean-Francois Duval

Magicicada septendecim in Connecticut by Jean-Francois Duval

Teneral Magicicada and exuvia in Connecticut by Jean-Francois Duval

Teneral Magicicada in Connecticut by Jean-Francois Duval

Adult Magicicada and cicada with failed ecdysis in Connecticut by Jean-Francois Duval

Cicada emergence holes in Connecticut by Jean-Francois Duval

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