Cicada Mania

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April 1, 2008

Brood XIV: When, Where and What do they look like?

Filed under: Brood XIV — Dan @ 6:39 pm

This is the first of several Brood XIV Magicicada posts to help you enjoy this year’s cicada mania experience:

When will they appear?


In April people will start to find cicada nymphs close to the surface of the ground, under stones, while landscaping, etc. This is what a nymph looks like:

Nymph and Adult

If you find a nymph in the soil, leave it alone so it will have the opportunity to become an adult.


Adults will emerge once the temperature is right, typically at dusk. The best method we know of is using Gene Kritsky’s emergence formula. This is a tool that will allow you to determine the approximate time when the cicadas will emerge in your area.

Generally speaking, Magiciadas will begin emerging in the last 2 weeks of May, and the last adults should have passed by the first week of July.

Where will they appear?


In 2008 they’re set to appear in eastern Massachusetts, Long Island New York, south-western New Jersey, south-eastern Pennsylvania, south-eastern and north-western West Virgina, southern Ohio, most of Kentucky, eastern Tennessee, western North Carolina, southern Indiana, and bits of Virgina.


The great Cicada Central site has a map of Brood XIV emergence locations.

Gene Kritsky’s site has a map as well.

and this is the Cicada Mania map, made by Roy.

Do some research:

Okay! So now you know where the Magicicada might appear, but how will you know if these cicada will appear in your yard, neighborhood or local woods? Time for some investigation:

  1. Ask people who were around 17 years ago. Old timers, townies, local press — anyone how was around 17 years ago.
  2. Go to the library and check old news papers.
  3. Contact local colleges and universities. Try the entomology department or agricultural extensions.
  4. Encourage the local press to cover the cicadas, and let them do the research. The local press have the most resources to do this research.

Note that old timers call Magicicadas “locusts“; Magicicadas are not true locusts, but the term might help jar people’s memories. Magicicadas can also be called periodical cicadas, as well as 17-year cicadas. Don’t forget to use those terms while asking around

What do they look like?

You already saw what the nymph form looks like, but what does an adult look like? They look like this:


Black heads and and upper bodies, black and orange bellies (belly is not a scientific term), reddish-orange eyes, orange legs and wings. Yes, sometimes the eyes can be brown, yellow, orange and even white or blue!

By the way this is NOT a Magicicada:


It’s a (possibly less exiting) Tibicen cicada. These appear in many parts of the USA every year, but in much smaller numbers than Magicicadas.


  1. kaitlynn says:

    i am writing a paper im 11 so i nmeed detaled but still simnple i also need to know why thay emerge i need to know how big around holes are how you tell gender i also need to know how they ,mate and what there underground home looks like and i need to know is there a qeen or leader
    and a good title

    1. Dan says:

      All the info is on the site, but it’s a bit of a treasure hunt to find it.
      – They emerge to mate.
      – The holes vary depending on the soil but they’re approximately a centimeter wide, or the width of an adult humans pointer finger.
      – Male or a Female
      – Their underground homes are tunnels or tubes dug through the soil, occasionally contacting the root of a tree, which is where they drink their food (tree fluids). Here’s a video
      – There is no queen or leader cicada. They are independent.
      – Cicada Are Awesome.

  2. Sheryl says:

    I live in Mashpee and work in Mashpee and in Falmouth on a farm (if you can believe that) and have seen hundreds of these horrid pesty looking creatures. They appear to be blind because they land on your clothes and get stuck in your hair. They bounce off your windshield so I keep my windows rolled up when I’m driving. I am afraid of them so that makes me watch out for myself everywhere I go. I have even seen them in the entrance way at Stop & Shop. Out of the millions of fears that people indure, mine are bugs (and only bugs) so needless to say, I am going to need therapy soon. I’m already having nightmares. The ironic part of this is, I’m getting plenty of exercise from running away from these ugly bugs and won’t have to see them for another 17 years.

  3. George says:

    we are doing utility work south of lexington ky. i am from NW pa and have never experienced anything like it. pulled the dump truck over thought i blew something. the noise is crazy. our equipment is all yellow, they do love that color.

  4. david says:

    my wife and i live in wise county,va.we love hearing them,its a wonderful sound,we will miss them when they are gone,until they come back 17 years from now.

  5. jen says:

    (whoops) btw i live on cape cod, MA.

  6. jen says:

    hi there

    i’ve seen cicadas this morning for the first time, sitting next to their nymphal skins. pretty cool!

  7. Michelle says:

    I was working in Grundy, Virginia today and they are out there in full force.I agree with Sherry Music. They do sound like the old movies where flying saucers landed. Do these things bite or were the workers just teasing me?????

  8. sherry music says:

    I live in Johnson county, KY. And there are hundreds here.

    I noticed over 100 little holes in my side, walk way the day before yesterday. The sound they make reminds me of an old Sci-Fi movie where flying saucers are landing.(ha,ha)

  9. Matt Berger says:

    Found a Magicicada nymph today under a rock in Terrace Park, Ohio! Of course I was looking for them and first try he was there and quickly went down his hole.

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