Cicada Mania

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June 11, 2013

Cicada Video of the Week

Filed under: Brood II | Magicicada | Ovipositing | Periodical | Video — Tags: — Dan @ 4:18 am

Here’s some cicada video I shot over the weekend. Enjoy:

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

Singing Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Magicicada septendecim ovipositing from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

Close up of a tymbal of a Magicicada septendecim from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

December 2, 2012

Mating Bladder cicadas

Filed under: Cystosoma | David Emery | Mating — Tags: — Dan @ 7:34 am

Mating bladders 2, originally uploaded by ozzicada.

An excellent photo of mating Bladder cicadas (Cystosoma saundersii) by David Emery.

November 10, 2012

Cicada Turrets or Chimneys

Filed under: Chimneys — Dan @ 9:29 am

Cicada nymphs create what we call turrets or chimneys above the tunnel hole where they will eventually emerge. These chimneys are made from soil. They are a positive indication of where cicada nymphs are underground and that they will emerge soon. Cicadas seem to build chimneys in wetter, muddier areas; in dry areas they will simply make holes at the surface. The chimneys will help keep water and mud from back-filling their holes, so they can continue to breathe, take a peek out and prepare to emerge.

Magicicada Tunnel (by Les Daniels):

Magicicada chimney

Magicicada chimney

A cicada tunnel in Bangkok Thailand (by Santisuk Vibul):
cicada tunnel view from top Thailand photo by Santisuk Vibul

Three Magicicada chimneys (by Roy Troutman):

Magicicada nymph turret by Roy:

This is video taken of a magicicada nymph turret. These turrets are often found in wet areas.

Magicicada nymph turret from Roy Troutman on Vimeo.

November 6, 2009

New gallery of cicada tunnels from Thailand

Filed under: Chimneys | Santisuk Vibul | Thailand — Dan @ 12:38 pm

Santisuk Vibul sent us 3 photos of cicada tunnels/chimneys from Bangkok Thailand.

cicada tunnel Thailand photo by Santisuk Vibul

cicada tunnel view from top Thailand photo by Santisuk Vibul

immature cicada in tunnel photo by Santisuk Vibul

From Santisuk Vibul: “I found this cicada chimney on the lawn in front of my house on October 22, 2009. In Thailand, this month is late rainy season, there is no heavy rain and there will be no flood in the cicada tunnels, but the cicadas nymphs still build their chimneys. Some authorities said they built chimneys to stay to breathe and prepare themselves for their final molting.”

June 15, 2007

Magicicada mating

Filed under: Magicicada | Mating | Roy Troutman | Video — Dan @ 8:37 am

In this video we see a male and female Magicicada cicada mating.

Magicicada mating from Roy Troutman on Vimeo.

Magicicada laying eggs

Filed under: Magicicada | Ovipositing | Roy Troutman | Video — Dan @ 8:32 am

In this video we see a Magicicada cicada ovipositing:

Magicicada laying eggs from Roy Troutman.

June 11, 2007

Cicadas Mating

Filed under: Brood XIII | Magicicada | Mating | Photos & Illustrations — Dan @ 9:23 am

A photo of cicadas mating by Christina T.

Cicada Mating

June 9, 2007

Mating Magicicada

Filed under: Brood XIII | Mating — Dan @ 5:57 am

Here’s a picture of two Magicicada mating from Michael Fiorenzo. Photos taken in LaGrange.

mating Magicicada

April 28, 2007

Protecting your (weak) trees from cicada egg laying. Use netting, not copperhead snakes

Filed under: Flagging | Ovipositing — Dan @ 9:50 am

Update (5/4/2024) Here is a link to a video on Twitter/X from the Chicago Botanical Gardens featuring the Garden’s plant healthcare supervisor, Tom Tiddens. He shows us how to net a tree to protect it from cicada egg laying.

As you may have heard, cicadas can damage trees, particularly young or ornamental trees, as they oviposit their eggs in branches. The damage to individual branches is often permanent, and in some cases the entire plant is lost. Native species of trees, like oak and maples, fare much better against cicadas because they have co-evolved for hundreds of centuries. Young trees and weaker non-native ornamentals, imported from outside the United States, fare a lot worse.

Female cicadas use their ovipositor to carve egg nests (egg grooves, punctures, baby cicada cribs) into the bark of tree branches:

Here is an illustration of the egg nests (baby cicada cribs):
Egg Nests

Mature trees will receive some damage, but they recover. When branches are damaged they die and their leaves turn brown, which is called flagging:
Brood II 2013 Periodical Cicada Flagging

Periodical Cicada Flagging

Check out these articles on Flagging:

Netting and tree protection tips:

  • Do nothing. Allow the cicadas to do what cicadas do, and let them prune the weakest branches of your trees.
  • Use netting to protect tree branches. If you start looking now, you can probably find some at a local garden supply store or online from a store like Amazon. Here is a link to a video on Twitter/X
  • Delay plantings until July.
  • Pick them off by hand like they do in the grape farms of Italy.
  • Spray them off with a garden hose.
  • Foil around the trunk (to keep them from crawling up).
  • Insect barrier tape.
  • Consult with your local tree care expert. Find a local arborist or fancy tree expert, and ask their advice.
  • Bagpipes (no joke, it worked at my friend’s wedding, at least temporarily).
  • Do not use pesticides. It isn’t worth it. Bee populations are in bad shape so we don’t want to do any collateral damage to other species. After 28 years of running this web site, I’ve heard a few stories about family pets dying after consuming pesticide covered cicadas or grass. Don’t do it!
  • Do not surround your trees with a ring of copperhead snakes. By now you have heard that copperhead snakes enjoy eating cicadas at night (although in the photos I’ve seen, they prefer larger species like Megatibicen auletes/grossus.). Gathering a dozen or so copperhead snakes can be time consuming and expensive and they are just as likely to bite you as they are to eat cicadas. Raccoons, bears, coyotes, foxes, and squirrels will also eat cicadas, but I also do not recommend enlisting their assistance. This last one was a joke.

Netting can be effective for keeping cicadas off branches, or on branches, as in the case of this video below where cicada researcher John Cooley had collected many cicadas and wanted to keep them for later. This video is proof that they cannot get through netting:

In my personal experience, which includes two Brood II emergence in my yard, I have seen plenty of flagging, but no death of a tree or shrub. That said, I do not have many small or ornamental trees. I have a 15′ dogwood, azaleas and rhododendrons.

Case study from 2021-2023:

Here’s a small (less than 10 feet) tree that experienced a lot of flagging during Brood X in 2021:
Another small tree with flagging

Here is the same tree in May of 2023:
Princeton Tree

The tree can be found at the Princeton Battlefield Monument park, and if can be seen on Google maps.

December 24, 2006

Green Grocer Emerging

Filed under: Australia | Cyclochila | Molting — Tags: , — Dan @ 3:28 pm

George Dalidakis emailed us this fantastic series of a Green Grocer cicadas (Cyclochila australasiae) emerging from its nymph exoskeleton (molting).

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