Cicada Mania

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June 19, 2024

How rare are Magicicada cicadas with white or blue eyes?

Filed under: Eye Color | Magicicada — Dan @ 3:49 pm

White eyed male Magicicada septendecim Metuchen NJ 2

How rare are Magicicadas cicadas with white or blue eyes?
Do we include yellowish-white/cream-colored eyes? Gray eyes?

“One in a million!”
“One in 100,000?”
“One in 1000”?

Let’s look at some data. Since its beginning, as of June 19th, 2024, iNaturalist has had 27,294 Research Grade Magicicada sightings, and 136 Research Grade “Magicicada eye color=blue/white” cicadas. So, in the iNaturalist data set, one in 201 Magicicada have white or blue eyes.

The number of white/blue eyed Magicicada is without a doubt more than one in 201, but not one in a million. Personally, I’ve found at least one cicada with white or blue eyes per emergence. My guess is the number is closer to one in 10,000.

But don’t tell anyone who is excited about a one in a million find. Let them have their fun and happiness. 🙂

More articles about eye color.

June 16, 2024

The cicada emergence is over. Now what?

Filed under: Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 7:11 am

“Will you miss me when I’m gone?”
end of the line

As I write this, the Brood XIX emergence is all but over, and Brood XIII has about two weeks left to go.

So what’s next? Well, I’ll tell you.

Upload your photos to iNaturalist and the Cicada Safari app

You can help cicada researchers by uploading your photos to iNaturalist or the Cicada Safari app.

iNaturalist is excellent for all animals — plus plants and fungi — not just cicadas. You will find yourself using it all year long. Cicada Safari is specifically for cicadas.

Learn about Annual species of cicadas

There are more to cicadas that just Periodical cicadas.

Cicadas exist on every continent except for Antarctica, and in every State in the U.S. except for Hawaii and Alaska!

Learn about the most-common cicadas that live in the same areas as periodical cicadas, and then learn about the variety of cicadas found around the world.

Preserve your cicada specimens

Saving cicada skins (molts/shells) and wings is easy. Just keep them dry.

Preserving Periodical cicadas can be challenging because their eye colors fade and because they’re fatty and smell.

If you want to preserve eye colors, keeping them in alcohol seems to work best.

Some people dip them in acetone to mitigate the smell from decaying fat, but I’ve never tried it.

Otherwise, keep them dry and in a cedar box. I use silica gel packs to keep them dry. Cedar repels small insects that will eat your cicada collection. Moth balls work as well to keep tiny insects away from your collection.

If you want to pin your cicadas, so the wings are spread out, you have to do it while the cicadas are still moist. Plenty of places have supplies, like Carolina Biological Supply. I’ve softened hard cicadas by placing them in Tupperware/Rubbermaid containers with moist paper towels and a moth ball to prevent mold.

Make a scrapbook of your cicada memories

Make a scrapbook or photo album of your cicada memories.

This is something I do every year, though I tend to mix it up with non-cicada photos as well.

photo album

June 8, 2024

Periodical cicada Brood XIV (14) will emerge in 2025 in Thirteen States

Filed under: Brood XIV | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:53 am

Periodical cicada Brood XIV (14) will emerge in the spring of 2025 in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia. The last time this brood emerged was in 2008.

What, when, where:


  • Millions of these:
    Adult, Nymph Molting
  • Cicada insects with a 17-year life cycle.
  • Some people call them “locusts” but they’re really cicadas.
  • Which species: All three 17-year species, Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini and Magicicada septendecula. How to tell the difference between the species.
  • NOT the green ones that arrive annually.

When: Typically beginning in mid-May and ending in late June. These cicadas will begin to emerge approximately when the soil 8″ beneath the ground reaches 64 degrees Fahrenheit. A nice, warm rain will often trigger an emergence.

Other tips: these cicadas will emerge after the trees have grown leaves, and, by my own observation, around the same time Iris flowers bloom.


  • Georgia counties: Fannin, Lumpkin, Rabun, Union
  • Indiana counties: Crawford, Harrison, Perry
  • Kentucky counties: Adairville, Anderson, Barren, Bath, Bell, Bourbon, Boyd, Bracken, Campbell, Carter, Clinton, Edmonson, Fayette, Franklin, Floyd, Gallatin, Grant, Hardin, Harrison, Henderson, LaRue, Laurel, Leslie, Madison, Montgomery, Nelson, Nicholas, Pendleton, Pulaski, Rowan, Scott, Shelby, Whitley
  • Kentucky cities: Bowling Green, Corbin, Flemingsburg, Frankfort, Greensburg, Hazard, Radcliff, Richmond
  • Massachusetts counties: Barnstable, Plymouth
  • Maryland counties: Allegany, Washington
  • New Jersey counties: Atlantic, Camden, Ocean (NJ records are from older literature).
  • New York counties: Nassau, Suffolk
  • Ohio counties: Adams, Brown, Butler, Clermont, Clinton, Gallia, Hamilton, Highland, Ross, Warren
  • Ohio cities: Batavia, Cincinnati area, Loveland
  • North Carolina counties: Buncombe, Burke, Caldwell, Catawba, Henderson, McDowell, Mitchell, Wilkes
  • North Carolina cities: Asheville, Moravian Falls, north-west of Nashville, Wilkesboro
  • Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Berks, Blair, Cambria, Centre, Clearfield, Clinton, Cumberland, Huntingdon, Lackawanna, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mifflin, Montour, Northumberland, Snyder, Union
  • Pennsylvania cities: Bear Gap
  • Tennessee counties: Bledsoe, Blount, Campbell, Cheatham, Claiborne, Cocke, Coffee, Cumberland, Davidson, Grainger, Grundy, Hancock, Hawkins, Jefferson, Marion, Roane, Robertson, Rutherford, Sevier, Sumner, Williamson
  • Tennessee cities: Cades Cove, Muddy Pond,
  • Virginia counties: Botetourt, Lee, Russell, Scott, Smyth, Tazewell, Wise
  • West Virginia counties: Cabell, Kanawha, Mason, Mingo, Putnam, Wyoming
  • West Virginia cities: Huntington

More Location Tips:

More facts and fun:

1907 Map Marlatt, C.L.. 1907. The periodical cicada. Washington, D.C. : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology.

Marlatt 1907 14 Brood XIV

A more modern map made by Roy Troutman:

Brood XIV Map by Roy Troutman

June 3, 2024

Nel PreTech Corporation created a CT scan of a female Magicicada

Filed under: Magicicada — Dan @ 6:01 am

This is an interesting story from LinkedIn. The folks at Nel PreTech Corporation created a CT scan of a female Magicicada!

CT Scan of a Cicada Insect

May 9, 2024

Can periodical cicadas cause hearing damage?

Filed under: Audio, Sounds, Songs | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 7:54 pm

People ask, “Can periodical cicada singing damage hearing”? It all depends on how long you expose yourself to their song, and how close your ears are to the insect. Invest in some quality ear plugs if you are concerned. Consult a medical professional, of course. Get a Sound Level Meter.

Periodical cicada choruses are often in the 80–85db range, which the CDC says “You may feel very annoyed” and “Damage to hearing possible after 2 hours of exposure”:


If you spend a long time outside during a chorus, your ears will probably ring for hours after. That is my personal experience.

Placed directly on a microphone, I have observed periodical cicadas get as loud as 111.4db. According to the CDC, that is close enough to cause hearing damage in less than 2 minutes. Do not place male cicadas on your ear! Do not put your head right next to the tree branches where they’re singing.



Check out this video of Magicicada sound levels measured by an EXTECH 407730 Sound Level Meter:

How to avoid hearing them?

  1. Stay indoors
  2. Buy earplugs or headphones that block external sound
  3. Avoid their peak singing times, between 10 am and 5 pm. Before 10 am and after 5 pm are also the best times to do yard work to avoid them.

I’ve exposed myself to hundreds of hours of cicada songs. I’ve also gone to hundreds of concerts and listened to a lot of rowdy music over the years. My hearing is not great, but it is probably not due to cicadas.

It is worth mentioning that only male cicadas sing. Females make noise by flicking their wings, but they are not as loud as the males. Males have organs called tymbals that vibrate creating their signature sound.

Here are illustrations and a photo of a Magicicada’s tymbals. They have one on each side of their body:

So what is the loudest cicada? According to the University of Florida Insect Book of World Records, “The African cicada, Brevisana brevis (Homoptera: Cicadidae) produces a calling song with a mean sound pressure level of 106.7 decibels at a distance of 50cm.” The loudest cicada in the United States, using the same methodology, is Diceroprocta apache (Davis) at 106.2db at 50cm.

I need to take measurements of Magicicada from 50cm to make a comparison. The measurements I’ve taken are in the midst of a large chorus with cicadas about a meter to 20 meters away, which falls in the 80-85db range; or directly on the mic, which gets into the 109-111db range. Your results may vary.

Brood XXIII Cicada Stragglers are emerging!

Filed under: Brood XXIII | Chris Simon | Magicicada | Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 6:24 pm


One phenomenal behavior of Magicicada periodical cicadas is they “straggle”, meaning they emerge earlier or later than the year they are expected. Typically they emerge 1 or 4 years before they’re supposed to emerge.

Brood XXIII is expected to emerge in four years in 2028, but enough are emerging in 2024 for cicada researchers like Chris Simon to take notice! She let us know about the stragglers on May 8th.

Brood XXIII is found in Arkansas, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, and Tennessee. This is not a perfect map (it overlaps with Brood XIX), but XXIII cicadas will show up in that area.

Arkansas: Bayou Deview Wildlife Management Area, Poinsett County, Devalls Bluff, Harrisburg, Holland Bottoms, Jacksonville, Jonesboro, Knox Co., Lake Hogue, Lake Poinsett State Park, Little Rock, and Wynne.

Illinois: Anna, Carbondale, Carterville, Chester, Clinton Lake, Marissa and Robinson.

Indiana: Harmonie State Park, Hymera, Leanne, Richland, Sullivan And Posey Counties.

Kentucky: Benton, Calvert City, Gilbertsville, Henry County, Murray, and Paducah.

Louisiana: Bastrop, Choudrant, Grayson and West Monroe.

Mississippi: Alva, Arlington, Booneville, Brandon, Clinton, Corinth, Desoto County, Florence, French Camp, Hernando, Holcomb, Houlka, Jackson, New Albany, Oxford, Potts Camp, Silver Creek, Tishomingo, and Water Valley.

Tennessee: Atoka, Benton, Cordova, Henry County, Huntingdon, Jackson, Lavinia, Leach, Lexington, McNeary County, Memphis, Paris, Savannah, and Speedwell.

Here’s a blue overlay of there Brood XXIII emerges from the UCONN map on the iNaturalist data (as of May 5th):

Brood XXIII overlay

Surrounding the blue area on the west and east is Brood XIX and north will be Brood XIII.

More info:

May 5, 2024

New iNaturalist Project: Magicicada Flagging Project

Filed under: Flagging | Magicicada — Dan @ 3:46 pm

I created a new iNaturalist project called the Magicicada Flagging Project to track tree flagging damage by Magicicada cicadas.

Upload a tree or branch with flagging to iNaturalist, add it to the Magicicada Flagging Project, and when it asks you if the observation has “Magicicada Flagging” select “yes”.

Magicicada Flagging Project

When Magicicada cicadas lay eggs in the branches of trees (ovipositing) branches may become damaged or die which causes the leaves to turn brown. This is called flagging. Magicicadas, depending on their location, oviposit between late April through to the end of June. Flagging will appear in the weeks following ovipositing. Leaves will remain brown throughout the year.

The project leverages the observation field Magicicada Flagging set to yes.
Observation Field

The project works regardless of whether the organism is identified as a type of tree (oak, chestnut, etc.) or a Magicicada cicada. Most people identify trees with flagging as a “Magicicada” but I would not want to take away the option to allow people to identify a tree (oak, chestnut, etc.) over the type of cicada that did the damage.

There is a similar observation field for cicada presence set to flagging/oviposition scars, but it’s not specific to Magicicada and oviposition scars do not always accompany flagging. I do encourage you to use this observation field as well!
cicada presence


April 29, 2024

How to tell if a Magicicada periodical cicada nymph is ready to molt

Filed under: Magicicada | Nymphs | Periodical — Dan @ 7:12 pm

How can you tell if a Magicicada periodical cicada nymph is ready to molt?

Answer: look for two black spots on its back (technically the cephalothorax). They look like they are wearing aviator sunglasses pushed up on their forehead!

A diagram that shows when a nymph is ready to molt.

I do not know the official name for these spots, but they seem to be related to the pigment that turns the cicadas black after they molt. They may scare away predators that think the spots are big eyes!

Here are a few ideas for a name for them:
obscuras maculas
mutatione macularum

April 20, 2024

A quick way to tell the difference between the 7 periodical cicadas species

Filed under: Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:50 am

Here is a quick way to tell the difference between the 7 periodical cicada species:

Download this chart. Click/tap for a larger version:

The songs of Magicicada cassini (17-year) and Magicicada tredecassini (13-year) are essentially identical:

M. cassini:

M. tredecassini:

The songs of Magicicada septendecula (17-year) and Magicicada tredecula (13-year) are essentially identical:

M. septendecula (©Joe Green):

M. tredecula:

The songs of Magicicada septendecim (17-year), M. neotredecim (13-year), and Magicicada tredecim (13-year) are essentially identical. M. neotredecim varies the sound of its call in the presence of M. tredecim.

M. septendecim:

M. neotredecim (© Insect Singers)

M. tredecim (© Insect Singers)

And/or watch this video:

Then read this and listen to the sound files on the page: Where will 17 & 13 Year Periodical Cicada Broods emerge next?

February 1, 2024

New Brood XIX and XIII Cicada Book by Dr. Gene Kritsky

Filed under: Books | Brood XIII | Brood XIX | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 8:14 am

Cicada researcher and communicator Dr. Gene Kritsky has a new book about Brood XIX and XIII which are both emerging in the spring of 2024: A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX. It is available in paperback and Kindle formats.

A Tale of Two Broods: The 2024 Emergence of Periodical Cicada Broods XIII and XIX

Other posts about Dr. Gene Kritsky on this site:

  1. An Interview with Gene Kritsky
  2. Gene Kritsky’s new cicada site and Brood XIV news
  3. Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition by Gene Kritsky
  4. Gene’s App: Cicada Safari app for tracking Magicicada periodical cicadas

More »

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