Cicada Mania

The Cicada Mania Blog: News, Findings, and Discoveries About Cicadas.

April 2, 2013

The most interesting 17 year cicada facts

These are the 17 most interesting 17-year cicada facts (in my humble opinion). All these facts apply to 13 year cicadas as well.

  1. Names: People call these cicadas “locusts” but they are not true locusts — real locusts look like grasshoppers. The phrase “17 year cicada” indicates that they arrive every 17 years. The name “periodical cicadas” indicates that they arrive periodically and not each and every year. The scientific name for the Genus of these cicadas is Magicicada, and there are 3 types of 17 year Magicicadas: Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula. This is a true locust:
    Locust
  2. There are 13-year cicadas too: there are 13 year cicadas too! There are four species of 13-year cicadas: Magicicada tredecim, Magicicada neotredecim, Magicicada tredecassini, and Magicicada tredecula. Broods XIX, XXII and XXIII feature these cicadas.
  3. Eye Color: Most 17 Year Cicadas have red eyes, but they can also have white, gray, blue , yellow, brown , or multi-colored eyes
    White Eyed Cicada
  4. Fungus: The Massospora fungus infects Magicicadas, filling their abdomens and destroying their ability to reproduce. Often, their entire abdomen will fall off. The cicadas actually spread the fungus throughout their local colony via mating — the Massospora fungus is a cicada STD!
    Fungus
  5. They’ll attack land on you if you’re using a power tool or lawn mower. Cicadas think the sounds made by power tools and lawn maintenance equipment are made by cicadas. They get confused and will land on the people using the equipment! Pro-tip: cut your lawn in the early morning or near dusk when the cicadas are less active.
    Cicadas on Man
  6. Cicadas have five eyes: Cicadas have two, obvious, large, compound eyes, and three ocelli. Ocelli are three jewel-like eyes situated between the two main, compound eyes of a cicada. We believe ocelli are used to detect light and darkness. Ocelli means little eyes in Latin.
    5 eyes.
  7. People eat them: People eat them. You can barbecue it, boil it, broil it, bake it, saute it. There, uh, cicada kabobs, cicada creole, cicada gumbo, panfried, deep fried, stir fried. There’s pineapple cicada, lemon cicada, coconut cicada, pepper cicada, cicada soup, cicada stew, cicada salad, cicada and potatoes, cicada burger, cicada sandwich… that’s, that’s about it.
    Cicada Ice Cream
  8. Animals eat them: all wild animals and domestic pets will eat them. Dogs will gorge themselves until they choke. Squirrels will eat them like corn on the cob. Wild turkeys will grow fat and juicy on the cicada feast. Fish go crazy for them too — you can use them as bait, or use lures that mimic them.
  9. Cicadas “eat” tree fluids: Cicadas don’t eat solid foods — instead they use their slender, straw-like mouth parts to drink tree fluids.
  10. Cicadas pee: Yes cicadas pee, so wear a hat when walking under trees if that sort of thing bothers you. Cicadas drink tree fluids, and then expel the excess fluid they do now need. People call it “honey dew” or “cicada rain”.
  11. That cicada sound: Only male cicadas make the sound they’re famous for. Males have organs on their abdomen called tymbals. Muscles pop the tymbals in and out, which creates the sound we hear. Males make different calls for different reasons, and each species has a unique sound. Females can make sound too — they flick their wings to respond to males. Read this article for more information.
    tymbals
  12. There are billions of them: there are literally billions of 17 year cicadas. Why? One theory suggests that the large number of cicadas overwhelms predators, so predators are never able to eat them all and cicadas, and many always survive to mate. This is a survival strategy called “predator satiation”.
  13. They damage wimpy trees: the biggest concern about 17 year cicadas is their potential to damage young trees. The truth is they will damage limbs on the wimpiest of trees, so if you if you have weak, pathetic, wimpy ornamental trees in your yard you should consider placing netting around the trees if the cicadas visit your yard. Also you can try hosing them off with water, placing insect barrier tape around the trunk of the trees, or picking them off like grapes! Or, plant strong, beefy American trees — that’s what I would do. Cicadas actually benefit the health of trees by aerating the soil around the roots, and trimming the weak or damaged limbs.
  14. Stragglers: Periodical cicadas that emerge in years before they are supposed to emerge are called stragglers.
    hipster cicada
  15. 17 and 13 are prime numbers. Scientist speculate that one reason why these cicadas emerge in 17 or 13 year cycles is because those are prime numbers. The fact that 13 & 17 are relatively large* prime numbers makes it difficult for predators to synchronize with them. (*Relative to the average lifespan of an animal.) Annual cicadas (cicadas that arrive every year) often have wasps specialized to prey on them; periodical cicadas have no such wasp because no wasp could evolve to synch with it.
  16. They use their color to warm up: Cicadas need to be warm to sing and fly around, but they’re cold blooded. Their dark skin absorbs the heat of the sun, which helps to warm them up.
  17. 17 year and 13 year broods co-emerge every 221 years. Cicada Broods usually don’t overlap geographically, and it is very rare when they emerge in the same year. The next time Brood II (the brood emerging in 2013) will co-emerge with another brood will be in 2115 when it co-emerges with Brood XIX. You might need a time machine to see that happen.

Bonus: More information on the morphology of 17 and 13 year cicadas, so you can tell the difference…

May 30, 2010

Magicicada in Kansas

Filed under: Brood IV — by @ 9:24 am

Paul Stubbs wrote us to let us know that periodical cicada stragglers are emerging early in Kansas. Based on the locations and date (1998), it sounds like these are Brood IV emerging 5 years early. Very interesting.

Hi, just wanted to inform you that periodicals are emerging in northeastern Kansas as well. I live in Osawatomie, KS and have heard a few here. I have heard and seen them in Paola, KS at my parents home. Our last big event was in ’98 so this many stragglers is fairly impressive.
We are located approximately 30 miles south of Kansas City. And BTW, thanks for a great website for cicada fans!!

Respectfully,
Paul Stubbs

brood iv

June 30, 1998

Cicada Mail from June 1998

Filed under: Brood IV,Brood XIX,Mail and Comments — by @ 8:56 am

Tuscon Cicadas

What a beautiful page !!! Can’t wait until 7 and 13 yr old sons get home from yr-round school so they can see this. In the last week they have beome cicada-maniacs. I must admit that I’ve always the chills at the thought of touching a live cicada, but there’s nothing like a seven yr old carrying them around the house to make you see the light. He brought in one with a cactus thorn in it’s leg and now I feel like the mouse pulling the thorn from the lion’s paw. I’m sure they won’t hurt me now because I was able to overcome my fear and be a good samaritan. I realize now, how lovely the song is that they sing. Thanks for all the information.
– Lynn ;-) Tucson

P.S. The cicadas are also keeping Patches (our dalmation who defends the yard from all local creatures) busy so the horned lizards and tarantulas can have some peace. (6/16)

The Love Vac

I was cleaning up the cars yesterday (6/13) here in St. Louis, MO and the cicadas fell in love with my Shop Vac. Must be the noise is similar to their mating call. They are very much on the wane now after one heck of a population explosion (you can actually carry on a conversation in the back yard now), but >they came out of hiding to check out that Hunk of a vac.
– Lee (6/15)

Happy Cicadas

Based on the descriptive criteria given on your website, I feel reasonably certain that we have Magicicada cassini here. (“Here” defined as Longitude: -96.60300 Latitude: 36.24596) The population exploded within the past week or so, the cicadas are black-bodied with no ventral markings, the wings have bright orange borders, and the eyes are a reddish orange. The song is a constant whine, with no pitch variation.

I have a male in a Ziplock Vegetable Bag (built-in perforations allow airflow) in front of me as I write this — and he is seriously annoyed at having his lifecycle interrupted to suit my needs.

They quite unambiguously match the Magicicada photos on your site and elsewhere.

The umich.edu site shows maps for the broods — some are shown as significantly west of the Miss. We are located on the southwestern-most edge of the brood IV map. [Ed: Yeah, My Mistake!]

I mention all of this by way of noting that your “cicada-o-matic” identification page makes the implicit assumption that cicadas found west of the Miss. river are not Magicicada Perhaps the Magicicada are moving westward as the southwest is reforested. The area we live in was treeless grassland 100 years ago — it is mostly forest today. They certainly seem to be happy here.[Ed: Obviously Magicicada do appear west of the Mississippi, but east of the Rockies, my mistake.]
– Kirk or Diane (6/10)

Chilly Cicadas

You say the cicadas are usually gone in two weeks. Well, there have been a few days of cool/cold weather for summer. Will that cause them to stay longer so they can get their business done? [Ed: Maybe they'll stick around for a few more days, but nothing substantial.]
– Smilee (6/10)

Jeep Thing Checks In

I’m going to put a link to your site on my site if you don’t mind, as most of us backwoods explorers have seen and experienced masses of the little beady eyed bugs here in the Midwest as of recent.

Personally, I love cicada. The things make great temporary companions. They talk back, they love to be petted, they will crawl all over you, and they don’t bite! I think these little bugs are smarter than anyone thinks, and I can’t understand why most people are afraid, bothered, etc. by them. They aren’t particularly good for your trees, but a couple of bagworms can do more damage than a flock of cicada would ever do.

A few points to note about cicada……

If one lands on your ear, coax it to crawl or fly off. They have the grip of a baby human with fingernails. Picking one off your ear could be painful.

They make an exciting SPLAT on your windshield. (I’ve probably hit a couple hundred of them at 65 miles an hour) Wow, guts everywhere. NOTE!!!! Wash them off quick, or their guts will be like dried tree sap soon. It won’t wash off easy when it dries. See those little white capsule things on your windshield??? Those are the eggs…. you just killed an expecting parent!

The discarded larval shell is used in Chinese medicine to cure rashes and sore throats.

Although cicada are found all over the world, the periodical cicada only occurs in North America. Differing broods of cicada vary in size from 1/4 inch to 4 inches in size.

When the cicada emerges from its shell, it is completely white, except the eyes, which are pink…. Colors set in under an hour.

While everyone is busy [cuss omitted] about the arrival of our little friends…… I will enjoy their arrival, and cherish it while it lasts, because I believe they are truly the most amazing treasures of the insect world. I welcome them anytime. [Ed:All Righty Then!]
– Jeep Thing (6/10)

Can’t Sleep

When walking in the woods just west of St. Louis this week, I was amazed by the cicada song. The only cicadas I saw were the Magicicadas with those reddish eyes. I’ve been all over the web, looking for a .wav that sounds like what I heard and the song of the Tibicen chloromera matches perfectly, particularly with the rising & falling chi-chi-chi sound. Help! How could I have seen one type and been deafened by another? I won’t be able to sleep until I get to the bottom of this mystery. [Ed: I'm clueless.]
– Shana (6/10)

Why Not Every Year?

One of your correspondents wondered why there weren’t coincident emergences every year. ( Note if that that were the cases the periodicity of periodical cicadas might never have been noticed!). I suspect the answer is that the vast majority of broods have already gone extinct, so that the coincident emergences even rarer. Several more have gone extinct in the last two hundred years. One of the reasons given for the evolution of periodicity in the first place is that it allows the cicadas to get out of synch with predators. (S. J. Gould has an article somewhere back arguing this also explains why the period is a prime number). But for periodicity to be selected in this fashion it seems that extinction of some broods to occur, for any advantage at all to accrue to the ones that survive. There is evidence of “cheaters” – members of a 17-year brood that emerge early- at 13 years- or vice versa – so that new broods can appear from time to time.
– John Rogers (6/5)

Fish Bait!

Over the Memorial day Holiday I was at the lake of the ozarks trying to enjoy the sun but how can I enjoy anything with all of those Cicada flying into directly into me. They are so bad that I had to go indoors to escape the caos, Although I didn’t enjoy them my boyfriend sure did find a treasure in using them for fish bait. Caught tons of Fish!!!!
– Rchahs (6/5)

More Canines and Cicadas (I need to set up a page just for this topic):

Many vets don’t know of the danger of cicadas and in fact, I have worked at a vet clinic for almost 9 years now and have never heard of it myself. I never thought anything of Emma eating locust but I sat in on the autopsy and I can tell you there were no abnormalities other than the locust in her intestines. In fact the entire small intestine looked normal until you got to the area where the locust were found and from that point back the intestines were in obvious signs of toxic deterioration. She actually died of toxic shock. Her only symptoms were severe vomiting. Even after the autopsy, I still didn’t think that the cicadas were the problem, but when my sister told me she saw it on the St. Louis News I was shocked…all the pieces fell into place. The news story she saw was that many dogs had become ill with severe vomiting and that locust were the problem. Today we had a otherwise healthy dog come into our clinic with severe vomiting. When we obtained a fecal sample we found bits and pieces of some sort of insect….my guess…locust, but there is no way to be sure. I have a theory on the matter but it is just a guess at this point. Emma had a history of constipation and we had to keep her on a very high fat food just to keep her regulated and keep weight on her. I think that cicadas can pass through the dogs system with little or no problems but if the cicada is allowed to digest in the system it becomes toxic to the dog. Just a theory but when I have some more time later this week I plan to call the St. Louis clinics to try to get more information. Thanks for your input on the subject and I’m glad your dog hasn’t become sick. I don’t expect you will have any problems with it but beware if your dog begins vomiting.
– Kim T

Mini-Texas Cicadas

I grew up in CO and so am used to the “dog-day” cicadas. Also have watched them coming out of their “bug suits” in NM–that is where I really learned to love them (I’ve always enjoyed their songs).

However–now I am in Laredo, TX. For the past couple of evenings, I have encountered a cicada look-alike but it is REALLY small! About 1/2 inch total! (well–maybe 3/4 inch) Otherwise, it *looks* exactly like the cicadas I am familiar with. Is it a cicada? (At a truck stop on the way between Houston and San Antonio, I bought a HUGE plastic/rubber cicada–it is about 6 inches long! My younger sister and I always exchange cicada gifts whenever we find them. I figure the truck stop cicada is definitely TX-sized!) [Ed: As usual, if any of you scientists out there have a clue what kind of cicada we have here please email Cicada Mania.]
– Renee L. (6/3)

Chet’s Excretions

My beagle-mix, Chet, loves cicadas, too. The vet said they wouldn’t hurt him but I heard elsewhere that they could be hard on the gastrointestinal tract. I’m putting him on a tie-out to limit his access to them. Otherwise, he roams the yard for more than an hour at a time consuming every cicada in sight. I think my poem artfully describes one of the negative aspects of dogs and cicadas.

Cicadas, my dog, Chet, is eating,
You can see ‘em in what he’s excreting!

– D. Smith, Columbia, MO (6/3)

Cicadaphobia

The cicadas here in Decatur, IL are extremely bad!! Today, I went to lay out and they were flying around me everywhere! One landed on me which completely freaked me out. I decided to go inside to avoid them. But later, I was forced to go outside. I was screaming because I didn’t want them to land on me, but my scream seemed to attract them to me! Is it possible that they mistake it for their mating call or something? Well anyway…I was screaming and crying because I am really scared of them. I know they won’t hurt me, but they’re so nasty and big! I don’t want them to land on me. I know it sounds really pitiful to be scared just to go outside, but there are thousands of them and they gross me out! How much longer will they be here?
– Smilee (6/3)

Cicada Pops

I like your cicada site, pretty cool. I live in Columbia, MO where there is a ton all over our trees. It’s kind of interesting to watch them mate, they look at each other…then they come closer…and the rest is history…hehe What’s really cool is you can freeze them quickly, and then UN-freeze them and they’d come back to life! It’s awesome! (I know, it’s kinda cruel to do that, but oh well) I can’t believe the Cicadas are dying out already…Well, bye
– Andrew (6/3)

Dogs and Cicadas

Letter of the week:

Our chow mix dog loves to eat cicadas (in fact we have saved quite a lot on dog food these last few weeks). I called our vet to ask about this habit and found out that cicadas are not toxic, nor do they carry any diseases, so while our dog may get indigestion from consuming too many of these crunchy critters, they won’t kill her.
– M. Gallas (6/2)

13 X 17 = 221

Please elaborate on the unusual emergence this year. The UM site says the concurrent emergence of 17-year and 13-year broods last happened in 1946 and will happen again 2024. Yet posts on your site say this is a 221-year event. [Ed: A particular set of 17 and a 13 year broods will only converge every 221 years. The next time broods XIX and IV converge will be 2219. Because there are other broods which emerge in different years concurrent emergences occur more frequently.]
– Sheri V. (6/2)

Cross Breeding

Do the cicadas have to mate with a compatible mate, such as a [17]yr mates with only a [17]yr or can they cross breed with a 13 yr cicada? [Ed: 17yr and 13 yr species are supposed to be able to interbreed, but since they only coincide once every 221 years, it's difficult to study the phenomenon.]
– John (6/2)

Kansas

I’m located in South Central Ks. I get on the net to look for info on cicadas and look what I find! All I see here is the 17 year locust. I don’t see any of the 13 year, though I’m told they are emerging as well. Do they prefer different kinds of trees? My property is covered with hackberry, hedge, and some walnut, but they are flying across the road and invading my neighbor, who has a ash that is literally covered with them. They seem to be emerging from my property and flying to my neighbor’s to mate. My walnut trees have them but my hedge and hackberry trees are devoid of all but the hulls. To the lady asking about her sick dog – my big, stupid, black lab has been munching them down for 3 days now with no ill effect [Ed: There are no 13 year broods in South Central KS. Labs love cicadas.]
– FWIW (6/2)

They’re just dying to stay at the Holiday Inn

I was in Decatur, Illinois this weekend and the Cicada were everywhere. The trees were full of them, they were dying on the parking lot and they covered the Holiday Inn. I didn’t know what they were until I got back to work and started asking around. Then I found your website. I’m just hoping they stay away from the Champaign-Urbana area.
– Vicki (6/2)

Terror in the Skies!

I caught part of a news story off satellite (it was a network tv news station originating from Nashville, TN) that said an airplane was refused a divert request to land or return or something when the pilots said the plane was covered in cicadas. I missed the majority of the story and would like to know the details if anyone knows about this one. The event occurred the last full week of May. [Ed. Awesome. If anyone knows anymore about this story please let me know.]
– K D (6/2)

Disclaimer: The information on this page is present for entertainment purposes only. Don’t let your pets or children eat cicadas…

A very sad letter…

Today I am mourning the loss of my daughter’s dog. The irony of it all is that my daughter had just come home from the hospital. She had a pretty major surgery and when we got home we noticed that ‘Emma’ didn’t come to greet us. We went to look for her and found that she had dug a hole near the pond and was almost dead. We rushed her to the vet and she died that night. A necropsy (autopsy) showed she died of toxemia although the source wasn’t known. We did however find several cicadas in her intestines. My vet is unsure of the effects that cicada have on dogs but while telling my sister of Emma’s death she said that she say on a St. Louis TV station about many dogs becoming ill from eating locust. One Email you displayed says, ‘[Ed: There are probably too many Cicadas for the birds to deal with. Try a large, stupid dog. They love to eat cicadas.] –Elaine F (5/28)’ Guess what? It’s not funny! Not to me and definitely not to my 10 year old daughter who just spend 5 hours on the operating room table and came home to find her dog sick. The fact that Emma chased anything that crawled, flew, jumped, buzzed, swam, chirped or slithered was part of the joy of owning her. She would stand half emerged in the pond and dare a turtle to pop his head up….the minute she saw one she’d splash her way to him…always too late of course but she’d be right back at it. At times it seemed the turtles loved it as much as she did. Please let me know if anyone has any source as to the toxicity of cicadas on dogs. My email is [removed] [Ed: My most sincere condolences. If anyone can help this woman, please do.]
– Kim G (6/1)

Response to Elaine

Our Guineas love them. They spot one, take off, and don’t give until they have that little sucker for dinner. Of course, they have really done little for the Cicada population in general. But I am marking my calendar for 13 years to make sure I have a herd of Guineas to greet the next invasion. (Poplar Bluff, MO)
– Trudy (6/1)

Stinky

Glad to know that someone else agrees it’s rotting cicadas that’s raising that stink. It’s what I’ve been saying but everyone else says nah it’s probably your missing cat. [Ed: The cat came back, but it's missing an eye (seriously).]
– Anne T (6/1)

More Missouri Madness…

The 17 year cycle is in full bloom in eastern Jackson county Missouri. Last weekend (5-23-98) the nymphs were just starting to come up, but by 5-30-98, the cicadas were certainly making themselves known. A walk through the woods would bring you a deafening roar accompanied by a flying frenzy reminding me of Hitchcock’s “The Birds”. Enough already.[Ed: The worst is yet to come. One word: Larvae]
– Steve H. (6/1)

Missouri, hot spot for Cicadas…

wow, the cicada’s are in full song here in mid Missouri. i was sitting around bored today listening to them, as if i could avoid it, and i decided to find out more by looking on the web for info. came across this site and low and behold found the info i was looking for. Actually I think the comments and other info on here are quite funny. Interesting that the majority of the letters I read on here are from people in Missouri. Is mo. a hot spot of cicadas? [Ed. This year, yes. An emergence like this only happens every 221 years.] The noise can be deafening. Went fishing [Ed: They make good bait.] And every single shoreline we pulled up to was awash in The “song” of The cicada. I think The t shirt Is a great idea that if planned for and marketed correctly probably would make a lot of money right now. Seeing tons of The orange winged ones, Magicicada? [Ed: Yes] anyway, thanks for The site, I enjoyed it. Looking forward for The madness to stop and for peace and quiet to return.
– Ubkwts (6/1)

So what do they eat…

Could you tell me what The cicadas eat because there are hundreds of them in my front yard? I live in south St. Louis County? [Ed: For The most part adult Magicicada don't eat, although they are equipped to suck tree fluids. They live off their body mass, mate and die. Larvae drink The fluid of tree limbs. Nymphs suck sap from roots.]
– S (6/1)

No Cicadas

We are having a blast reading your site. The cicadas have not hit us here at Crossville, TN yet… Don’t know why….We are on The Cumberland Plateau about 35 miles east of Cookeville, TN. In Cookeville on Thurs. we heard them and some trees are swathed in cheesecloth. Last year we could hear The cicadas after dark . But it seems like it was later in The summer. Could it be our elevation means a later hatch?? Guess they are really humming in Lebanon, TN about 25 miles E. of Nashville. [Ed: Unfortunately broods die out from time to time in some areas. New construction, tree removal and pesticides can take their toll....or there just aren't and Magicicada in your town. That's a distinct possibility. The cicadas that emerge later in The year are a different Genus of cicada.]
– Eleanor M. (6/1)

Hilarious Entertainment

Now I’ve seen it all…a website for The cicada! WOW! Columbia, Missouri. Is under The same attack as The rest of you. My two year old daughter loves to pull them off The trees and house and hold them by their wings and delights in their buzzing sounds. While I wouldn’t dream of letting her “torture” any other living creature, this I find to be hilarious entertainment! [Ed: We at Cicada Mania wholeheartedly agree.]
– Sarah (6/1)

Fishing Bait!

Here a good use for those annoying bugs. FISHING BAIT! My brother caught a alb. 21 inch bass on a cicada. He Is now getting it mounted. [Ed: Yep, they make excellent bait, but don't feed them to your pet fish.]
– Gina (6/1)

Abandon all hope…

We live in mid-Mo. We have had Cicadas for several weeks, but today they are without a doubt taking over our trees, deck and yard. We live on a one acre lot near Truman Lake, in The Ozarks, and have an Ash tree in The middle of my deck. The Ash tree Is covered with Cicadas and The other trees in our yard are likewise infested. We are unable to utilize our deck because of The Cicadas. When will this stop? Is there anything we can spray on our deck and/or trees to at least chase them back into The wooded area behind our property? I don’t necessarily want to kill them, but I can not even go outside to take care of my flower garden. When my husband comes inside after working his vegetable garden we have to inspect him and his clothing. We have killed 4 of them inside The house. Is there anything we can do to chase them away? [Ed: There's really nothing you can do. They'll be gone in a week or so, but beware of The larvae that follows.]
– Claudean H (6/1)

Awesome

We’ll The little Cicadas have finally decided to surface. `At least 20 kinds of cicadas live in Missouri. Six are periodical cicadas, which have The longest life cycle of any cicada, and occur only in eastern North America. Approx.[ED: Exactly] every 221 years The emergence of a pair coincides. Which enabling The two groups ;to interbreed. This year represents The first year since 1777 that two large broods of 17-and 13-year cicadas have emerged together in Missouri. The last time periodical cicadas emerged in large numbers here was in 1985, when 13-year cicadas emerged. The “chorus” of periodical cicadas can produce sound levels that are painful to human ears, they can even drown out lawn mowers. I found all this information in our MISSOURI. CONSERVATIONIST magazine. I seems like there are millions of them, but they’ll be all gone in about five weeks or so.
– Stacy K. (6/1)

May 31, 1998

Cicada Mail from May 1998

Filed under: Brood IV,Brood XIX,Mail and Comments — by @ 8:45 am

Get a spoon and hold your nose…

Thank you for this website. It makes The unbearable din that The millions of cicadas that have decided to live in our trees just a little bit easier to bear (just a little bit). In my town of Charleston Illinois (population 20,000, give or take 10,000 students) they have chosen my street as their village, and my yard as their meeting and mating ground. The sound Is too much to bear (if a tornado siren were to sound, I do not think I could hear it over The screaming cicadas), and The smell of dying cicadas Is vile.

I wish for some element of nature to eat them, but The local birds do not seem to flock to our yard (they might even be driven away–like we would be if we could leave). Who eats these creatures once they are no longer grubs?. Has The elimination of The Midwestern swamp caused species that would be feasting now to become extinct? If you have an answer please let me know! It would at least make me feel a bit better. [Ed: There are probably too many Cicadas for The birds to deal with. Try a large, stupid dog. They love to eat cicadas.]
–Elaine F (5/28)

13 or 17

Can you tell me what year cicadas we are currently having in Northeast Missouri.? I have heard that they are The 7-year, 13-year, and The 17-year. Also, how long will they continue to emerge? They have been emerging for about 2 weeks currently. Thanks for your help. [Ed: East Missouri. = 13 Year Cicadas]
– Tammy (5/28)

Mystery Cicada

The cicada I found many years ago was 3 inches long from nose to anus , and 5 inches long from nose to wingtips. Big one Huh.
– Marc

This cicada was found in Georgia. If anyone can ID this cicada, Please email Cicada Mania.

Cicada Blanket

The cicadas made their debut as scheduled and have made their presence known, all day and into The night. Their fondness for light became apparent as they ‘blanketed’ my screen door when The porch light was turned on. The sound Is.
– Rubbie M (5/26)

Mail for Jay…

Hello Jay, I just read your question on The Cicada Mania page. If you have time, would you let me know what your find out? [Nothing] Did The cicadas, in fact, have a P on them at their previous cycle? [Don't know yet] I just moved to Carthage almost 2 years ago knowing next to nothing about cicadas As as I sit here their whirring sound Is audible outdoors. Quite phenomenal. [Ed: We've been getting a lot of responses regarding The W/P question. The W/P Is based on The vein structure of The cicada's wings. If you look long enough you'll find just about every letter in The wings. It's like looking for shapes in The clouds. It makes for good lore.]
– Ray M.(5/26)

17 or 13?

I thought they were on a 17 year cycle???? Around here they call them 17 year locusts!!! (Michigan) [Ed: It all depends on The brood, but for The most part, Magicicada in The south emerge in a 13 year cycle.]
– Pete (5/26)

How far will they go?

Do you have any info on how deep into The soil these larva go? We live in a newly constructed home and they are coming up everywhere, even in areas where The soil Is total fill for many feel down. [Ed: They'll keep digging until they find a root, or they give out.]
– Pat G (5/26)

Chicken Feed

This Is awful all these cicadas all over The place. One even tried to get in my mouth! I hate them, and I wish they would go back to where they came from! Our chickens love them and so do our nephews! I think they are too loud,ugly,and good for nothing but to scare you when you are outside landing on you! We have a million so anyone who wants them we will give ‘em away….we may even pay you to take them!!!(o: thank you for this web sight….(Around beautiful yet loud lake of The Ozarks)
– Susan and John B (5/26)

St. Louis

I’m in St. Louis and I’ve never seen as huge of an emergence as this. These are periodic cicadas, black with red eyes and 1-1/2 inches long. There are literally hundreds of them laying around here flying, buzzing and dying. I’m just glad Cicada Killers aren’t around to mop them up. I’d probably step on a cicada killer and get stung.
– Kelly C (5/26)

They do “own The place”.

Just for your information, it Is an adventure to get near any of my relatively young trees (new subdivision in west-central Missouri. – Sedalia to be exact) when mowing the grass or watering. The masses think they own the place and are not the least bit bashful about voicing their opinion. It is the stuff nightmares are spawned of!
– B Bryant (5/26)

Hey, Nineteen…

Encountered a couple zillion of these this weekend….southern St. Louis county through central Jefferson county. Really made felling a dead 50-foot willow in a friend’s back yard in Pevely, Mo a unique experience. Glad I haven’t encountered them in northwest St. Louis county, where I live (near Lambert airport). Sound like the right species/brood to you? Just been doing a bit of web-searching. They even made the local news tonight (KSDK channel 5 in St. Louis at 10:30pm Memorial Day). [Ed: The answer is in the title, although brood IV should emerge this year too. Species, I'm not sure of, it's either tredecim, tredecassini or tredecula.]
– A ‘ja (5/26)

A Good Question

Please, could you direct me to a resource that would answer the following … ??

Why don’t we have periodical cicadas every year??

This is a difficult question for me to articulate in writing. I am looking for the information that explains the “initial cause” or mutation or natural selection mechanism that causes the periodicals to present in totally discrete 13/17 cycles. Another way to pose the problem is this: why don’t we have 13 year periodicals that mate in 1997 and in 1999 (and every other year aside from ’98, ’85, ’72, ’59, etc.)?

I understand the nature of the life span, I just can’t figure how they all got in synch? any help is much appreciated as this has become a hotly disputed subject between myself and my wife.

– thanks David (5/22)

Cicada Poetry

I love the cicadas. Have never seen them until I moved to TN this year. The exact right year to get to see and hear them, and I feel privileged. I’ve rescued many of the deformed ones, and some that were washed out by the summer storms. They seem to come to my door and sit on the steps when they need help! And I love the cicada cursor! So I wrote this poem for them:

Cicada’s Song
Red wings,
my crawlie things.
Amber eyes,
you clumsly flies!
Beauty behold,
your songs of old,
the songs you sing for me.
Summer cries,
and a cicada dies,
cradled in my hand.
Buried black,
but you’ll come back,
together once again,
to sing your song,
two months long,
the songs you sing for me.
I won’t forget,
your chirping tone,
for when you sing,
I’m not alone.

by LoNeLyGirL (5/22)

Kanasas City Cicadas

I’m fascinated by periodical cicadas and they just started emerging here in Kansas city This is one of the most spectacular emergences ive seen. I went out about 11:30 pm and found about 6. I went to the same tree an hour later and found at least 100 maybe more heading up the tree and covering the ground. Its going to be a loud loud summer.
– Steve K (5/22)

Desperately Seeking Cicadas

Hello, i am a resident of granville, ohio, (near columbus) and was wondering where and when the closet place to experience the cicada awakening would be. i am very interested in this, for i just read the recent backpacker with an article in it.
– thanks Dave B (5/22)

Song of the Cicada

Here’s a song to the tune of Tom Lehrer’s “Pollution”:
If you visit American city
you will find it very pretty
Just one thing of which you must beware
All the cicadas flying in the air!

Cicadas, cicadas,
you can run but you can’t hide
You can still hear them, even when you’re inside.

You might have studied the birds and the bees
They are nothing compared to these
The noise can be quite irritating
When all those little bugs are mating.

Cicadas, cicadas,
you can run but you can’t hide
If they make you crazy,
you can eat them broiled or fried.

-Karen Daniel, Nashville, Tennessee Land of the kamakazi screamers (5/22)

“Red Eyed Monsters”

“Yesterday as I was leaving our office building, one of the sweet little Cicadas flew down the back of my dress. I was fortunate enough to be walking with another woman who tried her best to remove said cicada. Unfortunately she was too squeamish to grab it and get it out! I told her not to worry, that I would “squish” it when I sat down in my car. As we parted in the parking lot, she came running back to me saying she couldn’t stand the idea of me trying to drive home with one of the “red eyed monsters” half dead on my back. She gathered all her courage, reached down the back of my dress, and grabbed that critter. With great elation, she flung the harmless cicada onto the tarmac to a sure death. I thanked her and went on my way. The smile on her face of a job well done was enough for me!”
– Jane Anne G (5/21)

“Behold, A Pale Cicada”…

“The Cicadas in Nashville, Tn. have a W on their wings. I was told that the W stands for War?!!! When they were here 13 years ago, they had a P on their wings.(P stands for Peace). Can you help us on this matter?” [If someone can help send Us an e-mail]
– Jay B (5/22)

Watch out for falling cicada larvae!

“You don’t talk much about the hatchlings. Now I know why. The outside world has turned into a sea of wigglely maggot-like Cicada babies. Our Black Chow-Chow Mixed Dog looks he has been in the garbage cans after some one hasn’t cleaned them and it’s a 110 degrees outside. They cover your feet as you walk, and you need to brush your hair out, so no one will think you have lice. Up until now, I had been kind of enchanted with the whole thing. How long does this stage last?” [Ed.: It should last as long as the adults have been laying eggs.]
– Trudy (5/21)

New: Gerber Cicada Pudding!

“Everyone will probably think I’m loony, but I have a question…when will these cicada’s stop shedding their skins? When will they go back where they came from? They have taken over a large tree at our house, and my 18 month old son is quite intrigued by them (he keeps wanting to eat them). So it’s a big hassle to keep him away from them. Also, are they toxic or anything? What happens if he gets a hold of one? Of course, the thought of him eating a “bug” or even just the shell makes me quiver, but are they dangerous? I just want to know when they will be gone. I live west of St. Louis. There are thousands and thousands on our tree….no kidding… please help!” [Ed.: Don't let your kids eat cicadas. They can choke on them.]
– Thanks! MUESIC (5/21)

Awful!

“The cicadas are out in full force here. Their skins are all over my gardens, they’re hanging from all the trees, and dead ones populate the roads. They sing so loudly that you can hear them with the house closed up and the air conditioner on. These things are awful!”
– Durham, North Carolina

“New Friends” for Kitty

“Hey! I just wanted to write and say thanks for all the information and such a great page. I actually like cicadas. When I was younger my dad and I used to tie thread to a cicadas body and fly them around the yard- like kites or something. LOL. I think they’re cute in a weird way- yeah, they have weird little “alien” faces. (awww) heehee— I absolutely loved you humor page! The “cute names..” had me rolling in the floor. =-) Right as I was about to start this letter, I heard one right outside. My cat wanted to bring his “new friends” in, I guess. He had a cicada in his mouth, but it is unharmed. I have it with me- in a little critter cage. Anyway, I live in Georgia and cicadas are hanging around in swarms downtown. Why they pick that place when there’s plenty of woods around, I will go on wondering. Oh- these kind are the Magicicadas. Well, I’ll go. Thanks again for your cool page!!!!”
– Holly S (5/20)

The X-Cicada-Files

“I am in Mississippi and I first noticed the eerie sound in the woods on May 15. We were visiting a popular lunch spot on a lake and we thought we had been invaded by a UFO. Of course everyone at work argued over what they were but I was excited that I found your page so that I can inform them that we are being invaded by Cicadas. Your web site is great and I look forward to reading everything. Unfortunately I haven’t seen one yet but I’ll still looking cause I hear them outside my apt. door.” [Ed.: they're hiding in your basement]
– Mississippi (5/20)

Disappearing Cicadas

“I remember the Cicada invasion of 1972, when I was in junior high in Natchez, MS. I wasn’t there in 1985, but my sister in Natchez says she doesn’t remember hearing any then. I’m in Nashville, now, where they’re starting to crank up. My sister in Natchez says there aren’t any there now. What’s the deal?” [Ed.: pollution, pesticides, tree removal and new construction]
– Nashville (5/20)

strong>Hitchcock Presents: the Cicadas!

“You mean to say you like these things? Evidently you don’t live in an area like Washington, GA! We have oak trees, Bradford pear trees, and red-tipped photenia bushes in our yard. These must be their favorite stomping grounds! There are thousands covering every piece of bark and trunk on these trees and shrubs. They aren’t on the pecan trees or pines. I have been tolerant and really fascinated with the cicadas until Sunday morning (this is the 4th week we’ve had them) when I swear a swarm of them attacked my daughter and I trying to get in our car. It was really scary because of the number and the noise they made because we disturbed them. I am old enough to have been scared to death by the movie “The Birds” and these things are beginning to give me the same creepy feeling!! How much longer??? I also believe they are harming some of our plants, they look a little wilted. I’d appreciate some info.” [Ed.: They'll kill a few branches, but they won't kill the plant; they need the plant to survive.]
– Thanks, Debbie Wells Washington, GA. (5/19)

Attack of the Cicadas

“Thank you for your website, which I just found because the noise outside our office door is so bad that I got curious. It’s enough to drive you mad! One attacked me as I was coming in the door today. Anyway, thanks for the cursor and I’d love to have a T-shirt when they’re available.”
– Healthdemographics Nashville, TN (5/18)

Can’t Stand It!

“They have begun in Williamsburg, Virginia. It’s so noisy outside that we’ve closed the windows and turned on the air conditioner. I don’t know if I can stand it for another 3-4 weeks!!!”
– Peggy M (5/18)

Obviously their eyesight isn’t that good…

“I really enjoyed your web page. Here in Middle Tennessee, we’re in the midst of an invasion. I saw the first one last Sunday, a few more on Tuesday, and by Friday there were thousands everywhere. At midday, the racket they make is amazing. They make it hard to mow the lawn, because the females mistake the lawnmower noise for a male, and you get pelted by them.”
– Barbara H (5/17)

Hundreds!

“The Cicada’s are invading here in Manchester, MO outside St. Louis. I have several hundreds if not more climbing out of the yard and onto several trees and signing. I mean hundreds. It is amazing at the shear numbers of the insects.”
– Richard B (5/17)

EVERYWHERE!!!!

“We live in Butler County, just north of Poplar Bluff, MO. Last weekend we found one shell, on Wednesday, the noise began. Saturday it was deafening. We are surrounded by national forests, the shells, the holes are EVERYWHERE!!!! Since we are not native MO, nor were we here in 85, this was amazing to us. The numbers of cicadas are astounding.”
– Trudy (5/17)

Another report from Missouri:

“Just wanted to say that the periodical cicadas are beginning to emerge in central Missouri. I found a few in my yard this morning. There have been reports of cicadas emerging from Fulton and Linn, Missouri.

The fun is just beginning”

Jim Jarman, University of Missouri/Lincoln University Outreach and Extension, Central Missouri Region

Agronomy Specialist

The first emergence (reported by Sandy Pouncey, 5/4/98)!
“Professor L.L. Hyche has announced the emergence of the 13-year Periodical Cicadas. They began emergence sometime on Thursday night and could be heard singing Friday May 1, 1998 down around the Goat Rock Dam area just below Lake Harding (Chattahoochee River) in Lee County, Alabama. They will more than likely be singing for the next 3-4 weeks before disappearing for another 13 years.