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June 28, 2008

Do cicadas bite or sting?

Filed under: Cicada Anatomy — by @ 12:03 pm

If you believe you’ve been bitten and you’re concerned, the best thing to do is to consult a doctor, not this webpage. :)

Technically cicadas don’t bite or sting; they do however pierce and suck. They might try to pierce and suck you, but don’t worry, they aren’t Vampires nor are they malicious or angry — they’re just ignorant and think you’re a tree. Just remove the cicada from your person, and go about your business. Cicadas also have pointy feet, egg-laying parts (ovipositors) and other sharp parts that might feel like a bite.

Cicadas don’t have jaws (mandibles) like a wasp, mantis or ant, built to tear and chew flesh. Cicadas don’t have stingers, like bees and wasps, meant to deploy venom and paralyze or otherwise harm their victim. See a video of a Japanese hornet to see what I mean.

Cicadas obtain sustenance by drinking tree fluids, which are relatively watery compared to human blood. Drinking human blood would probably kill a cicada.

Caution: Don’t hold cicadas in a closed fist — you can hurt the cicadas, and they might try to drink from your hand meat.

Here is a video of a cicada that has confused my thumb for a juicy tree limb:

Magicicada trying to take a drink from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

See if you can spot the cicadas’ sucker in this illustration:

Illustration from Marlatt

Here’s a photo of a cicada’s mouth parts:

cicada mouth part

There is also a chance that if you believe you’ve been bitten by a cicada, you might have been bitten by a Cicada Killer Wasp. The Cicada Killer Wasp is a large wasp that hunts cicadas, and usually can be found around cicadas or often attached to a cicada. Cicada Killer Wasps normally avoid humans, but if you mess with one, it might attack.

Tip of the day: If you want to avoid cicadas, don’t use power tools, drills, saws, lawn mowers, weed wackers, leaf blowers, etc. in their presence. Cicadas think the sound made by these tools and machines are other cicadas. Female cicadas want to mate with the male cicadas they think they’re hearing, and male cicadas want to compete. If you can, use these tools in the morning or close to dusk when the temperatures are cooler, and cicadas are less active.

84 Comments

  1. when i was younger i found a cicada and i was showing my mom ,then all of a sudden it pierced my finger.About 6 years later(today) i found another one on the ground after a freak thunder storm ant i don’t know if its going to do that buzzing thing or even sting me, are there any signs to show that they will buzz or sting?

    Comment by ashley hemmings — July 18, 2008 @ 11:40 am

  2. I am writing tonight July 19th 2008,I saw this other comment by Ashley and it blew my mind.I live in wolfeboro NH and I found a cicada last night after the thunderstorm we had and I held it on my finger and brought it to the store,I drove,walked around the store and payed for groceries while this thing was sitting in my thumb!!!I didnt realise what it was,my 4 yr old daughter was sticking her fingers in front of it and it lifted its 2 front legs and then opened its mouth and this like 3-4 inch straw like thing came out of its mouth,that was my que to get it off of my hand!!I flicked it and it flew away.It never made any noises or buzzing at all during the whole hour and a half!I am so happy that I got the opportunity to hold such an amazing creature especially for that long without it biting me!!

    Comment by angel — July 19, 2008 @ 7:19 pm

  3. one was on my tire this morning. u said that it sucks, will it pierce my tire? i dont need another flat one.

    Comment by letoya — August 23, 2008 @ 7:45 am

  4. I hope not — they aren’t that tough.

    Comment by Dan — August 23, 2008 @ 8:17 am

  5. While my 7-month-old grandchild was in his saucer on the porch this morning, a cicada landed on his cheek and began to buzz. i flicked it off but his cheek is all red. i think it is from irritation (he has sensitive skin) rather than from any kind of bite.

    Comment by Noel — August 28, 2008 @ 12:45 pm

  6. OK today I had a Cicada latch onto my arm and peiced through my shirt and started to suck my blood… It was sitting on there for about 10 minutes before I realised what was happening.

    Secondly I tried to get it off me, it flew back on and proceeded to bite me.

    THIS HURT LIKE HELL

    im also not feeling so good at the moment.. Ive never been bitten by one before.

    Comment by Angus — January 4, 2009 @ 5:53 pm

  7. omg the other day I was getting a cicada out of my pool because it was drowning. I saved it. It sat on me for a while but then it felt like it was stabbing me. I had a look and this big long stick like thing was stabbing my hand and it really hurt!!!!!

    Comment by char — February 17, 2009 @ 3:52 pm

  8. […] May 2009 We have been trying to find out this information, and there is a very amusing posting on Cicada Mania that indicates they may bite.  It states:  “Technically cicadas don’t bite or sting; they […]

    Pingback by Another BUG OF THE MONTH MAY 2009: 17 Year Locusts, Scientists surprised By Unexpected Emergence Of Periodical Cicadas — Four Years Early | What's That Bug? — May 10, 2009 @ 6:51 am

  9. Wow, cicadas hurt, and it’s especially annoying since I prevented it from being incinerated. It was crawling on me and suddenly i felt this VERY sharp pain in my finger and I saw the aforementioned very large, painful, proboscis.

    Comment by Jack — August 18, 2009 @ 10:59 pm

  10. I saw two weird looking bugs on my trash can while cleaning my car. I took a picture of them and e-mailed them to my husband. Needless to say i quit cleaning my car. I DON”T LIKE BUGS. My nephew came out to see what all of the fuss was about. I was looking them up online. he told me they were called cicadas and that they normally don’t bite. I found out that it was only the shell that was on my trash can so no i get to go finish cleaning my car. I was really freaked out though, because i have never seen anything like it before.

    Comment by Rachel — August 19, 2009 @ 10:44 am

  11. I often wondered whether or not cicadas bite…or cause pain in some “weird” way. I live in Fla. and I get them on my driveway often. I often find them on their backs buzzing and chirping trying to get right side up. I just flip them over carefully with a stick. I never picked one up by hand though. Thats when I googled “do cicadas bite?” and found this site. Glad I read this. I have often been tempted to pick one up. Hah..not anymore. Thanks for the comments people :)

    Comment by Bruce Wrigleys gumchew — August 19, 2009 @ 10:07 pm

  12. It’s possible that they could puncture your skin with their straw-like mouth parts because they think you’re a tree, but they don’t bite or sting in self defense like bees, wasps, and ants do.

    Comment by Dan — August 20, 2009 @ 5:24 am

  13. i was at a 7-11 store and i was getting out of my car, and realized what was in the back seat,( a huge cicada) and it bit me, everyone thinks that its all in my head, it happened, i didnt take long for me to feel nausious, i think it wanted to kill me? but i lived to tell the story, and bottom line. they bite… and most people say that they dont hurt you, b.s ..oh… and someone also told me that they cant see? b.s… that one that bit me at first circled around the parking lot and attacked me again. my wife is a witness,

    Comment by mostwanted — August 27, 2009 @ 6:19 am

  14. I was terrified when I was on my skateboard and I was about to ollie (jump with a skateboard) over a crate.. Next thing this HUGE bug falls centimeters from my head and it messed me up so bad.. I ran away for 10 seconds and came back… And it stopped screeching I was like !! What is that? Then I figured it had to be a cicada cause it was the loudest and biggest screaming bug I ever saw.. Then it was starting to get dark.. And I think I rolled over it =(..

    Comment by BNyc3AtBall — September 1, 2009 @ 7:14 am

  15. I was sitting on my girlfriends couch petting her cat when all of a sudden there as a strange creepy feeling on my arm. I looked down and there was huge cicada latched to my shirt. It had greenish wings and big buggy eyes. My girlfriend heard me moaning and came to see this thing that was perched on my arm so she went to get a glass jar to capture it. By the time she got back she said I looked pale and thought maybe he sucked too much blood which really FREAKED me out! She said not to worry but keep it away from the cat he’s already too shy. We kept it in the jar but he died over night and I can’t find any taxidermists to mount it for me.

    Comment by RandmAxess — September 1, 2009 @ 7:29 pm

  16. I was gardening with a friend when I saw a cicada on a plant. I let it crawl onto my finger and it stayed there for a while. Then I saw what looked like a proboscis or something come out towards my finger, so I flicked the cicada off. It didn’t pierce the skin, but it sort of freaked me out. :)

    Comment by ook — September 8, 2009 @ 5:56 am

  17. What is wrong with you psycho’s??????
    Cicada’s don’t bite….they don’t have a mouth!
    They do however have a straw-like appendage wich is how they feed themselves.
    Hell, if you was to leave one on your arm long enough sure they would attempt to eat, but they don’t suck blood….get real!
    I have considered Cicada’s my favorite insect for nearly 35 years. When I was 8 years old I would go out at night and gather them before they would hatch and put them on the inside of my window screen. They would hatch and in the morning I would send them on their way. Kinda my way of making sure one of God’s creatures survived the process of hatching overnight.
    They are quite harmless and after letting my kids read your silly stories they are laughing at each one of you….don’t confuse this with laughing with you……wimps.

    Comment by M W Desteiguer — September 16, 2009 @ 7:25 pm

  18. I live in North Florida. I was surprised to read the post from the lady in Fl who said she often had them. I was born and raised in S. Fl and never saw one. But have moved to N. Fl now. One day I heard a VERY loud buzzing noise. It was so loud it alarmed me. So I opened the front door to find a dead Cicada (was his chirping his farewell speech)? I was so impressed by it and it’s massive size. I put it’s body in a jar to save and show to someone. My neighbor’s son collects insects and he ask for it. So that “little” guy “lives on” in a collection. It impressed quite a few of us who had never seen one. And now I have finally heard the sound I’ve heard so much about from others.
    PS.
    Was it lost? Never seen one before or since and it’s been a several years.

    Comment by Shari — October 25, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

  19. I live in Indiana and I found one on a tree. I went to get my big brother to touch it with a stick,and when he did,a huge stinger came zig-zaging out!!! OMG!!!

    Comment by Raina — July 17, 2010 @ 5:35 am

  20. i save these awesome buggies all the time. i just now saved one when it came falling out of a tree. it hit my recycling can and its wings are all bent out of shape. hes running around like hes fine but he tried to fly multiple times but he didnt have any success :P i dont think they sting because whenever i hold them nothing happens. and i read that if you sit still while one is on you, it could think you’re a tree and it could try to feed on you. its not purposely trying to hurt you though.

    Comment by Ellie — July 17, 2010 @ 8:55 am

  21. The puncture does hurt. Went out the front door and twice this week there have been cicada lurking. I pointed my cane toward one to make it move and it attacked it. The one tonight got on my little finger, punctured, I howled and shook it off finally. Then when I went to whack it with my cane it jumped on the cane and then on my leg. Yuck! But life got short for it then. But they are tough!

    Comment by Rosestormchicken — July 17, 2010 @ 8:06 pm

  22. wow. i didn’t know that they did that. i dont think they’re trying to hurt you, though. the one i saved yesterday tried to feed on me and i know this because i saw his/her mouth thingy starting to fold out. i got kinda scared because i read this blog and i didn’t want to get hurt. now im kind of scared of them… i’m still going to save them though.

    Comment by Ellie — July 18, 2010 @ 10:20 am

  23. Cicadas do not sting or bite, they are not venomous. However, their legs can be slightly prickly AND with just the right amount of fear mixed with imagination, you may think you’ve just been bitten or stung. They are harmless, although if you’re afraid of them they can cause you to hurt yourself trying to get away from them.

    I’m from Alabama and I love the sound of cicadas, to me their sound is pure 100% southern summer. (I know they live all over the world.)

    I have fond memories as a child, caching them as they crawled out of the ground, placing them in a jar and staying up most of the night to watch them molt from their shell and transform into their adult size. For me that process of transformation is still amazing!

    I love how moviemakers, producing summer movies, usually have cicadas singing in the background. I also love when novelist write about them to set a summer scene.

    Again, to me, it’s pure southern summer.

    Comment by David — July 18, 2010 @ 10:42 am

  24. There were hundreds of them flying around my front yard. My dad started to cut the grass and they all landed on him. I had to help him pick them all off!

    Comment by Jake — July 28, 2010 @ 5:28 am

  25. My son was stung/bitten (near an apple tree) by a cicada bug last night! It was the most painful thing he has experieced. Stung him on the knuckle of his index finger, drew blood, and his entire hand is swollen up to his wrist! I witnessed it continuing to circle him, and keep trying to attack him!

    Comment by Kathy — August 3, 2010 @ 10:04 am

  26. they do BITE!!!!!!! was on my deck after swimming in the pool. I has a oil torch lit and was just sitting in my chair and it buzzed in my hair. when i swept it off my head, it bite my ring finger on my left hand and immediately it starting swelling up and hurt like hell!!! could not wear my rings for about 6 days and the bite site was red and tender to the touch…now, when i am outside, if i hear one screaming like the other one did, i RUN!!!!!

    Comment by vicki — August 3, 2010 @ 10:07 pm

  27. Today I saw one on a rose plant I got my sister to try catch it in a jar as it was making a really annoying sound. When we put a jar around it made a sound that was similar to a wasps buzz it then flew away.. It doesn’t look that harmful but now I’ve read these comments I will not persuade anyone to catch one again !

    Comment by kathryn — August 6, 2010 @ 6:07 am

  28. Cicada’s don’t bite or sting. They don’t hurt in anyway. However if you catch one before it’s molted, the front claws can almost hurt. :) If you have claimed to have been bitten or stung by one, it was something else or your imagination.

    Comment by Johnny — August 7, 2010 @ 5:30 pm

  29. i seen a cicada today at my sister’s. it was crawling into the ground,we were saying what’s that and dismissed it. later on one flew into the house and we caught it. it was screaming like a cat with a rocking chair on it’s tail. I have never heard of this bug until i looked it up on the computer. It really is a weird creature!

    Comment by christan — August 7, 2010 @ 9:31 pm

  30. Today on August 8,2010 I helped a little cicada get right side up off the ground, when it tried to pierce my finger(pointer) I quickly flicked it off. After about 30 min. my finger was still irritating me so I came inside to learn a little about cicadas. Instead, I found out that cicadas are so dumb that they thought my finger was a tree limb. :)

    Comment by Wolven Cappon — August 8, 2010 @ 12:28 pm

  31. I have a video of me playing with a cicada. It stabs a leather glove with it’s proboscis then it tries to stab my finger. Crazy video! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iPQFuzbBsIc

    Comment by Dave — August 9, 2010 @ 9:11 pm

  32. I just made 5 or 6 videos of a cicada who would not allow my family and me to go outside. It was false imprisonment, to say the least. A friend tried to go out, and a silent cicada flew in. Then, the other cicada, who was very boistrous, like a screaming cat, was attacking all of us in quite the psychotic manner. My son caught it and was holding it by it’s sides very gently, and he and the cicada began to have a screaming match. It was hilarious, and so I thought I might actually open a youtube account for giggles. We’ll call the videos “Cicada training, 101. No Cicadas were harmed during the taping of these videos, but let me tell you, every time we went to set the loud one free, he would charge right back at us with great vengeance, and a lot of screaming ensued. After setting his silent partner free, there have been no further skirmishes with this monster.:)

    Comment by Old Goat Lady — August 14, 2010 @ 8:48 pm

  33. I hope you post the videos online!

    Comment by Dan — August 14, 2010 @ 10:25 pm

  34. Oh, I will! Not just yet, though. I haven’t even gotten the videos off my camera yet. Will notify when I do.

    Comment by Old Goat Lady — August 16, 2010 @ 1:04 am

  35. fistoff i pick cicadas up all the time and this biting never hapens second did you read the top it says “They might try to pierce and suck you, but don’t worry, they aren’t Vampires nor are they malicious or angry — they’re just ignorant and think you’re a tree.” so dont be afriad of them cicadas can be very butifull and interesting so pleas go find your firendly noborhood cicada.

    Comment by chris/samy — September 8, 2010 @ 3:40 pm

  36. Omg now im paranoid and scared of them now… 0.o

    Comment by Briana l. — September 10, 2010 @ 3:20 pm

  37. Listen… to the people that say Cicada’s do NOT bite, sting or hurt… Cicadas feed by piercing the surface of plants with their mouth stylets. They then suck up the sap through a tube formed by the concave surfaces of two of the stylets. This piercing and sucking kind of feeding apparatus can be contrasted with the biting and chewing kind found in grasshoppers, cockroaches, beetles and caterpillars. Cicadas are able to hurt you, but they almost never do. These are facts from all kinds of places and life experience. I have a Cicada sitting outside on my chair, after reading these comments i decided i would test this theory. So i sat there next to him and observed him for awhile then put my finger in front of him until he crawled onto it, he then proceeded to stick out his stylet and feel around then walk a little more up my hand. Still feeling around he found a sweat pore and started pressing the front of his body down until it pierced my skin, it got a little too much so i pulled him off. Yes they DO hurt, but they don’t go out of their way to jab you.

    Comment by Kristy — December 6, 2010 @ 6:09 am

  38. WOW!!! I can.t believe how many people out there freak out with these tamed insects!? I have lived out in the country for years here near Austin, Tx. and in the city of Houston, and these things are a common site during the hot summers of texas. I love seeing them mutate from a crawling insect, climb a tree and then mutate into a flying insect once they break out of their old skin like shell which they leave behind. Their shell stays behind and they are reborn! Then they do their mateing call which is a loud cherping screeching sound that just ecoes into a hot quiet afternoon. When there are many in one tree they all cherp in one accord and it sounds so cool! Its part of a hot texas summer here in Austin. :) I feel sorry for them bcause there are some large wasps that hunt them down and captcher them just to inject their eggs into their abdomens so that the wasps babies can hatch in the cicadas and eat them alive from the inside! I have seen this freak of nature in several occations. Note, when your a country man, you see alot of cool things in the insect world. :) hope you enjoyed reading my take on this matter? good day ya,ll….. david ortiz

    Comment by david ortiz- austin, tx. — January 16, 2011 @ 6:49 pm

  39. I have handled cicadas many times with no problems. I love them and still do. Just now I found one in my bedroom, sitting on the floor. I picked it up and as it had cob webs all over it, I began cleaning it up. Once the wings were cleared I tried to move it so I could get to the cob web on it’s stomach. It didn’t like that and so it bit me and flew away.
    It hurt briefly but I put papaya ointment on and almost immediately the pain subsided.
    It certainly didn’t mistake me for a tree! It was telling me that I had gone far enough.
    Cicadas are beautiful friendly creatures and so I hope people don’t become afraid of them just because of the occasional freak bite.

    Comment by Lisa — February 13, 2011 @ 9:35 pm

  40. they are out in masses in greenwood,sc right now … there are so many you can’t walk outside our apartment without stepping on them GROSS lol

    Comment by nicole — April 25, 2011 @ 11:12 pm

  41. Thanks’ for this site. I had never seen this insect and feared they would destroy our flowers. After reading your info. My little granddaughters had a ball.
    May 1, 2011

    Comment by ann godfrey — May 1, 2011 @ 7:17 pm

  42. After reading almost all these comments about cicada’s I realize that there should be alarm if one gets on you, Because I do believe that they think your a tree, and may want to taste. The profestionals think it’s stupid to say they bite. But Have one pierce them, They’ll be singing a different tune. Many of you said that it hurts. Well, For those of you who haven’t been pierced yet, Don’t let them. They are as ugly and interesting as can be. But I’ll be staying away from the little monsters thanks to this website.

    Comment by Lena Lin — May 11, 2011 @ 3:50 pm

  43. From NE AL, try cutting grass. Wow, swarms of cicadas were after me. At one point, I had three on my body. Needless to say I have took a break from grass cutting. Also, I was not bit nor stung, however they did follow and land on me. I was not stationary, I was on a riding lawnmower at full speed, so thinking I’m a tree belief does not bode with me.

    Comment by Matt — May 12, 2011 @ 1:17 pm

  44. The female cicadas think your lawn mower is a male.

    Comment by Dan — May 12, 2011 @ 1:23 pm

  45. I found this site after a cicada climbed up my neck. He didn’t try anything but I figured I should Google to see if he could. :) He apparently took a ride into the house on me after I walked the dog. He’s also the second one I’ve rescued from the house today. I have an insect removal device (coffee can with lid) that’s getting a workout lately. Due to moving around, this is my first big cicada season since I was a kid. The sound of them brings back some good childhood memories.

    Comment by Christa in Middle TN — May 19, 2011 @ 10:39 am

  46. I’m 15 and every morning when I walk to the bus stop, I see these things all over the ground and in trees. I’ve sometimes picked them up, but they never bite me or anything. Sometimes they chase after me and my friends. And they’re not that scary. I think it’s their mating season or something. They also make a noise that’s crazy loud and anoying as hell when they all do it.

    Comment by Jake from Franklin, TN — May 21, 2011 @ 5:38 pm

  47. I feel as if I’m living in The Twilight Zone in Nashville right now! It’s so loud, it makes my ears ring…literally deafening. This is apocalyptic proportions of cicadas in the Vandy/West End area. They seem to be a goofy bug…they fly right into ya. One landed on the back of my calf y’day as I jogged and it felt like a stab, but i think it was the prickly legs they have. You’d hv thought they had their number in for my daughter running with me. She was screaming every minute. Uh. This is suppose to last for the whole summer??? Omg…

    Comment by Randa — May 22, 2011 @ 12:57 pm

  48. They only list 4 to 6 weeks max. Enjoy them while they’re around. :)

    Comment by Dan — May 22, 2011 @ 12:59 pm

  49. I live in Gallatin TN and my partner just mowed the lawn; the dumb bugs chased the mower (and her) and she ended up with 3 or 4 “bites”, but they could be from the priobiscus thingy. She said it’s quite painful and itchy. These nuisances have3 been around for 3 weeks already, and we may have up to 3 more weeks of this??? I sure hope not, as the nouise is earsplitting with the number of them flying and doing their thing … it can NOT end soon enough !!!

    Comment by Jaye Ellen — May 29, 2011 @ 2:43 pm

  50. I hate cicadas!!!! I’m always afraid to go outside. My brother is always saying they wont kill me but after I read this, I have a reason to be afraid to go outside.

    Comment by Tess — June 1, 2011 @ 8:23 pm

  51. I hate cicadas!!!! I’m always afraid to go outside my brother says they won’t kill me but after reading this I have a reason to be afraid to go outside.

    Comment by Tess — June 1, 2011 @ 8:28 pm

  52. I had people throw them at me on the bus ! I am personally t e r r i f i e d of the things . Next person to throw one at me is Gonna get hit ! Those things are ugly &nd creepy . I don’t care if they can hurt me or not !
    I c k k k k k!

    Comment by Tia — June 1, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

  53. I was attacked by hundreds of cicadas while attempting to weedwack my yard ! They were swarming all around me ,and I could see even more flying from down the street heading quickly towards me. I held my ground and began swatting them with my hat and even the weedwacker. Unfortunately this seemed to anger them. They continued to swarm around me in all directions attacking me one after another. AND YES THEY DO BITE (pretty sure) but I stood my ground and kept fighting them off. This seemed to make many many more come. By now my neighbors whom were watching all this seemed very amused , especially when I threw the dang weedwacker down and ran like hell back to the garage, all the while screaming helpppp!

    Macho-man

    Comment by mancho-man — June 3, 2011 @ 9:39 am

  54. Using a weedwacker is the worst thing you can do. Cicadas are attracted to the sounds of lawn maintenance equipment. They think it’s other cicadas, and they want to join it. A man with a weekwacker is like a small tree filled with singing cicadas, and very attractive to females looking for a mate, and competitive males. The best thing to do is to cut the lawn when it is cooler than 70F – in the morning, or before sundown.

    Comment by Dan — June 3, 2011 @ 10:22 am

  55. I was attacked by thousands of bloodthirty Cicada’s. It was just like Hitchcock’s movie “The Birds”. It is Lon Chaney’s death of a thousand cuts. At night they plot how to get into kids bedrooms. LOL

    Seriously get a life…. they are harmless..

    Comment by Joe Schmoo — June 3, 2011 @ 3:38 pm

  56. their were a bunch of cicadas at the Dairy Queen in Hillsboro Illinos.

    Comment by Brie — June 4, 2011 @ 1:18 pm

  57. i was jumping on my trampoline when a cicada landed on my leg and it felt like it stung me

    Comment by Richard — June 7, 2011 @ 1:08 pm

  58. I’m sitting in a chair in my booth at the Columbia, MO Pirate Fest. A cicada landed on my hand about 10 minutes ago and since I wasn’t freaked out about it, I just watched it for a while, and sure enough, after a few minutes it began to probe my skin for liquid. I’d never seen that before & was quite surprised. I poked it, it moved to another spot, implied
    I poked it, it moved & tried it again. It was then I decided to send it on it’s way & do some research. So I’ve learned something new today.

    Comment by Mary — June 12, 2011 @ 12:36 pm

  59. Today on my way out of the house, I saw a cicada on my house on my garage door. I started to freak out, so I showed my mom. She thought it was a cicada but wasn’t sure. When we got home my mom found it in the garage and after reading these comments I’m scared to go in there because I have never been stung or whatever by anything before. It almost got into my house, so I am really scared now!!! :|

    Comment by Molly — June 17, 2011 @ 8:42 am

  60. Don’t worry. They’re not so bad.

    Comment by Dan — June 17, 2011 @ 11:12 am

  61. One flew into my house today…It landed in the sink. It’s trapped there now, but I’m terrified of them. What’s the best way to capture and get it back outside?

    Comment by Jess — July 18, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

  62. Use a pillow case, but remove the cicada before you go to sleep tonight.

    Comment by Dan — July 19, 2011 @ 5:35 am

  63. I found a cicada about 10 minuites ago and I thought it was stining me, but apparently it thought I was a tree.

    Comment by Lindsey — August 1, 2011 @ 8:10 pm

  64. I have a cicada stuck in my home in a crawl space I cannot reach. Any ideas on how to lure it out? The noise it makes at night while trying to sleep is horrible.

    Comment by John — August 18, 2011 @ 12:12 am

  65. Try using a light source to lure it out.

    Comment by Dan — August 18, 2011 @ 4:42 am

  66. I don’t care if the thing tries to eat me because it thinks I’m a tree, or if it bites, or if it tries to fight me because it thinks I’m a giant competetive male! Does it matter WHY it attacks you? :) It’s a giant, screaming bug that is attacking you! I went outside last night to check out what was banging against my window when all of a sudden a giant bug divebombed me sounding like it was screaming. My husband thought it was a bat, I didn’t know what to think at first, but I screamed like a little girl and ran! I thought it was a locust, but now I realize it must have been a cicada. There’s nothing else it could have been and no reason to make this up (not like I’m googling screaming bugs for the heck of it)lol. And seriously, if the thing can pierce a TREE, I’m pretty sure it can pierce SKIN and I bet that would hurt! My experience was exciting to say the least, especially after it kept attacking the front door. Oh, and I wasn’t using any lawn equipment, and I didn’t speak or anything when I went outside to see what was making the noise against the window, and I’m 99% sure the thing saw me and then dived in my direction. It turned away from the window and flew towards me!

    Comment by MaryAnn — August 23, 2011 @ 7:56 pm

  67. I had a very similar experience to MaryAnn. I live in central Alabama. On the evening of august 24, a bug kept hitting my patio door with gusto. It sounded like it was really trying to get inside. I turned on the patio light to see what was making all of the racket, but didn’t see what it was….just something big and black. Later, after the noise had settled down, I opened the door to see a large (thumb sized) black bug with a hard shell on the door mat. I kicked it with my shoe to get it off the rug. The thing literally made a screaming “eee,eee,eee” noise. It sounded like a human or animal….I swear to it. It startled me so much, I scream, too, and slammed the door shut. I wish I had captured it and taken a picture. The next morning, it was gone. I thought it might have been a baby bat (except it had a hard shell) or a large beetle…I didn’t see any wings. FREAKY!

    Comment by Ami — August 26, 2011 @ 8:09 pm

  68. I live in Florida and they drive me nuts! My cats LOVE to catch these things, bring them in the house and play with them until they no longer buzz lol…Tonight, one of the cats came in with one hanging out of his mouth, played with it for 15-20 minutes, and then ate it, ick. I noticed him limping, which was why I was wondering if they bite. Guess he must have gotten poked! Good to know though! Thanks for the info everyone!

    Comment by Lisa — August 30, 2011 @ 8:32 pm

  69. Last night while sitting by a bonfire at dusk, a cicada flew into and got tangled in my hair. As I frantically tried to untangle it, it bite/or stung me in the forehead-it felt like a bee sting, or having gotten into itch weed, that stings! I didn’t see it actually, but felt it-and being I’ve handled many before w/no problem-I didn’t expect the painful stinging sensation. It got untangled and flew off without me seeing it, all I heard before and after was the fast whirring of wings like a hummingbird when they get close. It for sure did something, as it hurt for a few hrs., and then I developed a very painful headache on that side, even my jaw and teeth hurt on that side like when you have a sinus infection. Idk, but maybe when they spazz out from being held captive in tangled hair they pull out the big guns. I’m here to tell you that they do inflict much pain.

    Comment by rochelle jarvis-cloutier — September 13, 2011 @ 4:24 pm

  70. I live in GA and I’ve never been stabbed by a cicada. We have them all over the place starting from about late May until early August and I find the nymph shells everywhere. But the point is.. They never bother us much. We have the really big ones too.

    Comment by Rachel — April 20, 2012 @ 5:06 pm

  71. I am at school with a bug catcher full of cicadas.I have played with these things since I can remember.One has punctured me, it felt like getting a mesquito bite.I’m 11 people, stop being such wimps.

    Comment by Elizabeth — May 1, 2012 @ 5:08 am

  72. I used to play with these things when I was a kid and they never punctured me, I think people are exaggerating. During the 17 year ones in Illinois I used to grab handfuls of them and I am terrified of spiders, june bugs, any type of roach, and centipedes. These are kind of cute.

    Comment by robin stachniik — May 27, 2012 @ 12:55 am

  73. Its a good thing I found this site. I NEVER knew cicadas “bite”. I would always pick these insects up or off tree ever since I was young. And still do but won’t anymore. I’ve held these insects many many times. If you touch the behind part (don’t know what its call, the butt??) of these insects it would start to buzz. I’ve been lucky so far, knock on wood.

    Comment by M — June 14, 2012 @ 1:45 pm

  74. It’s only likely to happen if you hold a cicada in your hand for a very long time, so long that it begins to get thirsty from not being on a plant where it can drink, or if the cicada has been kept in a cage for a long time away from living plant material. You will never be pricked by a cicada that you just pick up and put on your hand briefly if you just caught it from the vegetation.

    Comment by Dave — June 21, 2012 @ 12:18 pm

  75. Here’s a thought…wear a garden glove, then pick it up, or let it grab on. Then you can look through its wings…they’re clear, basically. Really fascinating creatures.

    Comment by MrsJH — August 4, 2012 @ 10:37 am

  76. I found a cicada in a parking lot where I work, picked it up and it started screaming bloody murder. I left it in a co-worker’s cash register drawer because i knew he was afraid of bugs and told him that there were reports of huge mutant virus flies that scream at you before they kill you. Having said that ive picked them up and held them before, never had a problem with one trying to drink the sap out of me.

    Comment by Patch — August 11, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  77. i was juskoutside when my dog was sniffing at somthing and my dad told me to see what he was sniffing at so i went and looked but i couldn`t see anything and then i saw a whole bunch of bugs i did not know where they came from but i asked my parents what it was and they said it was a cicada i started freaking out so i just ran inside to look up if they bite or sting so then when i finished reading i did this

    Comment by madison — May 27, 2013 @ 5:39 pm

  78. Was at Smith Mountain Lake in VA catching Cicada’s for fishing (amazing bait by the way). I would catch them and hold them in my hand sometimes 5 or 6 for prolonged periods. I would feel a bite or sting frequently. I thought it was just their legs grabbing hold. That night I woke up with bites like a mosquito or small hives. I literally have a hundred all over the palms of my hand. It is extremely uncomfortable. I have barely been able to sleep for 2 nights and have a doctors appointment today. It is not Poison Ivy (I get that too). I wish I could post a picture. I have had similar looking marks from catching bristle worms in the ocean. In any event, I have caught cicadas when they were around my whole life and never had this issue.

    Comment by Tom P — June 10, 2013 @ 8:44 am

  79. Go see a doctor and let us know how it turns out.

    Comment by Dan — June 10, 2013 @ 8:59 am

  80. Once I see a cicada, I become afraid. They are very mean and they do attack, because one got after me one time and I ran. I’m very afraid of them!

    Comment by Regina — December 26, 2013 @ 12:42 pm

  81. I was using my trimmer in some high grass outside. This large heavy bug landed on the back of my arm. I flicked it off and went about my business. But it found the same spot on my arm again. I swatted it off then moved to another location. It found me AGAIN! so swatted really hard and in the corner of my eye I saw in fall in the grass. It looked dead so I picked it up by the wing and set it on my car trunk and took pictures. I saw the proboscis and got concerned. My research landed me on this website. I think this particular creature was going for the kill.

    Comment by Marshall — June 15, 2014 @ 5:55 pm

  82. I found your site by a Googling “do cicadas bite”. This afternoon, I went out into my yard to go float in my pool. (I live in Virginia Beach.) Before I got in, I noticed some large brown insects on the stairs of the pool. I went to look for the net to clean them out and got distracted by some plants in the garden that had gotten knocked down by hurricane/tropical storm Arthur last week and while I was bending over to check a plant, I felt something sharp on my backside. Instinctively, I brushed the area with my hand and something very large and brown flew away. I really did not get a good look at it, but decided to go in and clean the area that was bitten. When I came back out on my screen porch, I noticed the cicadas were singing and did a search to see if these were annual or cyclic/periodic. I found out that this area of VA does not seem to get periodic cicadas – so figured these must be annual and looked up a picture of the tibicen lyricen that seemed to be the species which sings at dusk. The picture appears similar to the insects on the pool stairs and the fact that I was wearing a brown swimsuit could mean they thought I was a tree! :)

    Comment by Marguerite — July 7, 2014 @ 4:40 pm

  83. VA gets the periodical cicadas, just not this year. :)

    Comment by Dan — July 7, 2014 @ 6:20 pm

  84. Yes – but not VA Beach. I checked the brood maps and we seem to be exempt. Perhaps it’s the sandy soil. :-) Either way, I’m glad for it. I am not a fan of the ambush.

    Comment by Marguerite — July 8, 2014 @ 4:05 am

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