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April 5, 2015

Time to start looking for signs of periodical cicadas

Filed under: Magicicada,Periodical,United States,Video — Dan @ 1:01 am

Depending on where you live, it might be warm enough for periodical cicadas to start moving around underground, or start digging tunnels to the surface and building cicada “chimneys” above their holes. Report cicada nymph or adult sightings to so cicada researchers will know where they are.

What to look for:

1) Animals can hear the cicadas stirring underground, and will try to dig them up and eat them. Look for holes (about the size of a walnut or larger) made by animals digging for cicadas.

Cicada holes

2) Look for cicadas under stones and slates. Some cicadas will burrow their way to the surface, but they hit a large stone or slate and can go no further.

If you find them in this situation, gently put the stone or slate back. They will usually find their way around the obstruction once the time is right.

One clue that a Magicicada nymph is not ready to emerge is their eyes are still white. Their eyes turn red/orange prior to emerging (a few retain a white/blue color).

3) Cicada holes are about the size of a dime. Cicada premptively dig holes to the surface and wait until the weather is nice enough for them to emerge. Sometimes you can see them down in the holes.

Cicada Holes

4) Cicadas form chimneys above their holes when the soil is moist or muddy. These chimneys might look like a simple golf ball sized dome or a structure over six inches tall.

Magicicada chimneys

cicada chimney

Periodical cicadas typically won’t emerge until their body temperature reaches approximately 65 degrees Fahrenheit (17-19.5 Celsius1). Their bodies are warmed by surrounding soil, or warm water from rain. A good rule of thumb is, if the soil 8 inches(20 cm) deep is 65°, the conditions are good that they might emerge.

1Heath, J.E. 1968. Thermal synchronization of emergence in periodical “17-year” cicadas (Ho- moptera. Cicadidae, Magicicada). American Midland Naturalist 80:440–448.


  1. Our newly hatched cicadas here in MS are sounding like shirring flying saucers – loving it but eerie. Are these the cicadas you have posted here?

    Comment by Deb Proctor — May 9, 2015 @ 8:06 am

  2. I had NO idea what this was but they are definitely here in NC. I pray I never see another one. Wishful thinking.

    Comment by Renee Foster — May 11, 2015 @ 11:18 am

  3. Red eyed cicadas are in northeast Louisiana , I have 30 on my porch and tons of wholes in the yard ..every stage from not hatchedbto hatched drying and then flying off in morning!!!

    Comment by debra — May 13, 2015 @ 9:05 pm

  4. New cicadas in my garden 5/15/2015 few miles west of Paducah Kentucky 42001

    Comment by Ronald Glisson — May 15, 2015 @ 7:26 am

  5. Cicadas are seen here in Graves county Kentucky already with wings drying and thousands of shells all over my trees and the leaves. I saw some in shells climbing yesterday that had just emerged.

    Comment by Holly — May 17, 2015 @ 8:52 am

  6. They invaded my space weeks ago. I love the visit but ready for them to go:) Clinton, MS

    Comment by Victoria — May 17, 2015 @ 1:52 pm

  7. The Cicada’s are sounding off in N.E. Arkansas. Heard them for the first time today!

    Comment by Denell Whittingham — May 18, 2015 @ 2:09 pm

  8. still here in NE. LA. Seems they are moving toward Arkansas. Love life in the country!

    Comment by Nancy White — May 20, 2015 @ 7:49 am

  9. I started hearing the flying saucer whirr of thousands of cicadas a few days ago here in Bolivar, TN. Yesterday I removed one empty casing from my front porch (creepy!), and four more this morning. It looks like there’s an adult one at the top of my front door lintel, and I just chased something out the door that came in with me a few minutes ago. Starting to feel a little uneasy here….

    Comment by Linda Oliver — May 20, 2015 @ 8:35 am

  10. Lakeland TN has been invaded. The old carcasses are hanging from all vertical surfaces. It sounds like the roar of motors in my back yard!

    Comment by Cathy Epting — May 20, 2015 @ 9:16 pm

  11. Heard them outside last night in southwest Louisiana!

    Comment by Kayre — May 24, 2015 @ 3:38 am

  12. Hearing them in central Arkansas now.

    Comment by Karen Knight — May 24, 2015 @ 1:50 pm

  13. Jackson County Carbondale/Murphysboro area …emergence started a few days ago

    Comment by Sue — May 24, 2015 @ 5:34 pm

  14. That was Carbondale, IL

    Comment by Sue — May 24, 2015 @ 5:35 pm

  15. Appearing by the thousands in our yard and woods. Saw their chimneys in early May in the woods, but didn’t know what they were until now. Started seeing the casings and live cicada’s by the thousands about 2 weeks ago. Now the trees and shrubs are covered with all stages…live, and in and out of shells. Creepy and hard to relax outside and I’m ready for this invasion to be over.

    Comment by Pattilu — May 25, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

  16. Sorry….Pattilu is from southern Indiana.

    Comment by Pattilu — May 25, 2015 @ 6:31 pm

  17. I live in Lakeland Tn also. They are very loud in the woods behind my house but i havent seen the first one yet. Plan to take my grand daughter on a short hike today to see if they have emerged yet.

    Comment by ron hotchkiss — May 28, 2015 @ 6:07 am

  18. First starting appearing in Excelsior Springs, MO (north of Kansas City) about 10 days ago.

    Comment by Jerri — May 28, 2015 @ 2:40 pm

  19. I am a volunteer at Visitor Center at Perry Lake, Kansas and new to Kansas. I started hearing the “roar” and just looked up these little red eyed insects. I think they are in the millions singing to the females. It is like a wave of buzzing that goes from tree to tree in a crescent, then starts again and moves around the ring of trees again. I has been a new experience.

    Comment by RVingPatty — June 8, 2015 @ 8:09 am

  20. My yard is like walking on egg shells.the noise is terrible

    Comment by Doug petty — June 10, 2015 @ 4:28 pm

  21. I just seen 2 of them and it looks like there will be more coming up in our garden in rock hill sc

    Comment by T PHILLIPS — June 11, 2015 @ 8:43 am

  22. Here in Americus Kansas we have had them for weeks! We live on two acres but they seem to like the two trees closets to our house. Really have to dodge them going in or out of the house. So ready for them to move on.

    Comment by Celine Whitaker — June 17, 2015 @ 10:11 am

  23. They are out and about here in Bostic, NC. Had to educate my son about them this morning when he heard them outside. lol

    Comment by penson — June 27, 2015 @ 7:35 am

  24. Here is a list of all the species in North Carolina

    Comment by Dan — June 27, 2015 @ 11:49 am

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