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April 14, 2013

How you can help with temperature related periodical cicada research

Gene Kritsky is one of the leading periodical cicada researchers. He’s asked that we help with his research regarding temperature and cicada emergence. He needs to know the date that cicadas first emerge, and then the date when they appear in large numbers in a given locality. To contact Gene with your findings, email him at

Here are the details:

I wanted to alert you to a paper that I published with Roy after Brood XIV. I had placed sensors at cicada depths in Roy’s backyard, and also hung others in the area trees. We recorded the temperatures at 10 minute intervals at all the locations. I was trying to find a weather model to predict soil temperatures without using probes. This would be cheaper for people wanting to monitor an impending emergence. This research is based on what potato farmers do to track the growth of their crop.

We found that the average of the running three day and two day mean temperatures was a good predictor of soil temps.

The formula along with the extended forecast can be used to forecast soil temperatures. Once we get the 64º F soil temps and a nice rain we got emergences. I am hoping to test this model again this year, which in part is why I emailing you. What I need to know is the date that cicadas first emerge, and then the date when they appear in large numbers in a given locality. I will then use weather data to check the soil model. Can you ask readers to send me that info? Many thanks.

You can find more details on the model at:

An easier way of getting to the details is to go to and click on estimating soil temperatures. That site will also link them to John’s mapping page, activities for kids, etc.

Thank you for your help.

Gene Kritsky

More info about Gene Kritsky:


  1. We live south of Amelia towards the river. Our address is 16 Cherokee Trail 45157.
    On Tuesday, May 20 I noticed a large number of holes in the ground in an area where no grass grows beneath a maple tree by a flower garden full of blooming irises. My first thought was “Locusts!”, but wasn’t positive since it had been a number of years since we were invaded by millions of cicadas, so I emailed Ron Wilson of In The Garden, 550 WKRC. Ron asked me to dig in that area and to let him know what I found. I dug yesterday, Wednesday, mid-moring. What I found were live cicada larvae down no more than a few inches. I took a several photos and when I looked up at the three foot tall irises I saw cicadas everywhere that weren’t there that morning. After sending Ron photos and a video he confirmed the emergence of cicadas along the Ohio River area, and the brood number you report. If you would like for me to send the photos, and the excellent 5 second video I took that very clearly shows three cicadas (two white, one normal) crawling up the trunk of that maple, let me know where to send them.

  2. Anita says:

    We had an emergence overnight last night in Brookneal Virginia. We had 3 days of rain this week, and some thunderstorms yesterday with warm temps. Last night I heard their little feet scraping on the house and actually saw one yesterday. The front of our house is a light colored natural wood and this morning it is covered with Cicadas.

    1. Dan says:

      When you have a moment, please report your sighting

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