Cicada Mania

Dedicated to cicadas, the most amazing insects in the world.

Cicadas have three types of life cycles: annual, periodical, proto-periodical.

August 7, 2019

Check for first instar periodical cicada nymphs

Filed under: Magicicada,Nymphs,Periodical — Dan @ 4:26 am

It’s been about six weeks since the emergence of Brood VIII in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Oklahoma. Now (first week of August) is a good a time as any to check for periodical cicada nymphs that have hatched from eggs laid in branches. Once they hatch they’ll find their way to the ground, where they’ll find and begin feeding on roots for the next 17 years.

Look on branches where cicada laid their eggs.

An illustraition of egg nests:

A nymph on a branch with adult male finger for comparison:
Periodical Cicada Nymph

Close up:
Periodical Cicada Nymph

Another close up:
Periodical Cicada Nymph

June 24, 2019

Annual Cicada Season in the U.S.A.

Filed under: Annual — Dan @ 1:01 am

Annual cicada species are those that arrive every year (annually). In the U.S.A., each continental state has at least 4 species of cicadas. California as over 80.

Wonder which annual cicadas are in your area? Try our U.S.A. & Canada Cicada Search search tool. If you’re outside the U.S.A., start your search here.

Some guides for identifying Neotibicen, a common genus of cicadas in North America:

Three other excellent resources include: iNaturalist (enter a cicada name, and find out when people find them), BugGuide (USA), and Insect Singers (for sounds).

Here are a small portion of the species that can be found in the USA:

Diceroprocta apache
Diceroprocta apache
Common Name: Citrus Cicada
Locations: AZ, CA, CO, NV, UT
When: June-September. Peaks in July.

Diceroprocta olympusa
Diceroprocta olympusa
Common Name: Olympic Scrub Cicada
Locations: AL, FL, GA, MS, NC, SC
When: June-August. Peaks in August.
Neocicada hieroglyphica
Neocicada hieroglyphica
Common Name: Hieroglyphic Cicada
Locations: AL, AR, DE, FL, GA, IL, IN, KS, KY, LA, MD, MS, MO, NJ, NY, NC, OH, OK, SC, TN, TX, VA
When: May-August. Peaks in June.
Okanagana bella
Okanagana bella
Common Name: Mountain Cicada
Locations: AB, AZ, BC, CA, CO, ID, MT, NV, NM, OR, SD, UT, WA, WY
When: June-July. Peaks in June.
Okanagana rimosa
Okanagana rimosa
Common Name: Say’s Cicada
Locations: AB, BC, CA, CT, ID, IL, IN, IA, ME, MB, MD, MA, MI, MN, MT, NV, NB, NH, NJ, NY, ND, OH, ON, OR, PA, QC, SD, UT, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY
When: May-July. Peak in June.
Neotibicen superbus
Neotibicen superbus
Common Name: Superb Dog-Day Cicada
Locations: AR, KS, LA, MO, NM, OK, TX
When: June-August. Peak in July.
Neotibicen dorsatus
Neotibicen dorsatus
Common Name: Bush Cicada or Grand Western or Giant Grassland Cicada
Locations: AR, CO, ID, IL, IA, KS, MO, MT, NE, NM, OK, SD, TX, WY
When: July-September. Peaks in August.
Cicadettana calliope
Cicadetta calliope
Common Name: Southern Grass Cicada
Locations: AL, AR, CO, FL, GA, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MD, MS, MO, NE, NC, OH, OK, SC, SD, TN, TX, VA
When: May-August, peaking in July.
Neotibicen pruinosus
Neotibicen pruinosus
Common Name: Scissor(s) Grinder
Locations: AL, AR, CO, IL, IN, IA, KS, KY, LA, MI, MN, MS, MO, NE, NC, OH, OK, PA, SC, SD, TN, TX, WV, WI
When: June-October. Peak in August.

June 21, 2019

My Brood VIII Report

Filed under: Brood VIII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 7:54 pm

This year Brood VIII periodical cicadas emerged in the Pittsburgh area, and I traveled to see and map them. Unfortunately, I only had 3 days, so I only saw the western side of the Brood.

Mating Magicicada septendecim

All things considered — including cool, cloudy weather (which cicadas don’t like as much as hot & sunny) and a very rainy spring — Brood VIII was the least impressive brood I’ve witnessed, in terms of the sheer number of cicadas. I hope no one in the Pittsburgh area takes offense to that statement — Brood VIII is your brood, and you should be proud of it. It is just that as we humans build more and more, and continue to alter the environment, the numbers of cicadas will steadily dwindle. and I think we’re seeing that happen to Brood VIII.

Here’s an impromptu map of the places I saw cicadas:

Brood VIII Mapping

And a list of places:

  • Allegheny Township
  • Apollo
  • Bethel Township
  • Black Lick
  • Blairsville
  • Blue Spruce Park
  • Bolivar
  • Boyce Park
  • Brush Valley Township
  • Center Township
  • Crooked Creek Horse Park
  • Derry Township
  • Elizabeth
  • Hempfield Township
  • Home
  • Homer City
  • Hoodlebug Trail
  • Indiana
  • Keystone State Park
  • Ligonier
  • New Alexandria
  • New Florence
  • Parks Township
  • Pine Ridge Park
  • Rayne Township
  • Round Hill Park
  • St Clair Township
  • Stahlstown
  • Two Lick Creek Dam
  • Unity
  • Washington Township
  • West Wheatfield Township
  • White Township
  • Yellow Creek State Park

And some photos:

Female Magicicada septendecim

Male Magicicada septendecim

Just a head

Video of the amazing cicada that was just a head.

A very cool Brood VIII cicada frisbee:

Cicada Frisbee

May 11, 2019

2019 Periodical Cicada Stragglers – Expect Them

Filed under: Periodical Stragglers — Dan @ 9:06 am

Where is everyone?

We expect some periodical cicadas to emerge earlier and later than expected this year:

  • Members of Brood IV, the Kansan Brood, should emerge in IA, KS, MO, NE, OK & TX. Brood IV last emerged 4 years ago.
  • Members of Brood XXIII, the Mississippi Valley Brood, should emerge in AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, & TN. XIX last emerged 4 years ago.
  • Members of Brood X are emerging, so far in the Virginia area, but they have the potential to emerge anywhere in DE, GA, IL, IN, KY, MD, MI, NC, NJ, NY, OH, PA, TN, VA, and WV. 2-year early emergences are rare, but it happens. Brood X is expected to emerge in 2 years.

We’re getting a lot of reports from the Anacostia area of Washington D.C. and Maryland.

Here’s an example of someone Tweeting about a Brood X “straggler” on Twitter.

Use the Cicada Safari App to report them. See a map of sightings reported by the app.

Periodical cicadas are cicadas insects that emerge periodically, and not annually. In North America, there are 7 species of periodical cicadas, 3 of which have a 17-year lifecycle, and 4 have a 13-year lifecycle, and all 7 belong to the genus Magicicada. Here is a chart that shows where they are expected to emerge next. Magicicada regularly straggle — some emerge before or after they’re expected to.

Typically 17-year cicada stragglers emerge 4 years early, and 13-year cicada stragglers emerge 4 years late, but 1, 2 and even 8 year deviations are possible — see the probability chart.

At this point, most people question the use of the term “straggler” to define something that emerged early rather than late. If you’re uncomfortable using the term “straggler”, you can use the term “precursor” for cicadas than emerge earlier than expected. You might make up your own slang for them, like “deviant”, “pioneer” or “laggard” too.

May 1, 2019

Cicada Safari app for tracking Magicicada periodical cicadas

Filed under: Citizen Science,Gene Kritsky,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 9:28 pm

Mount St. Joseph University has released a new app called Cicada Safari. Its purpose is to help you identify periodical (Magicicada, 17-year, 13-year, “locusts”) cicadas, and share the location you found them. Scientists like Dr. Gene Kritsky, of Mount St. Joseph University, will use the data to determine exactly where periodical cicadas exist.

Android: https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=edu.msj.cicadaSafari
iOS: https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/cicada-safari/id1446471492?mt=8

See a map of sightings reported by the app.

Judging by screenshots of the app, it looks like you can 1) identify cicadas, 2) take a photo and share it, 3) map the location where you found it, 4) compete with other cicada scientists for the most cicadas found. Looks that way at least.

Cicada Safari App

Cicada Safari App

January 26, 2019

Brood VIII will emerge in 2019 in Pennsylvania, Ohio and West Virginia

Filed under: Brood VIII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 8:01 am

Summer Cicadas

Brood VIII will next emerge in 2036.

Periodical cicada Brood VIII (Eight) has emerged in 2019 in western Pennsylvania, eastern Ohio, and the tip of the northern panhandle of West Virginia, as well as Oklahoma (which was unexpected). The last time this brood emerged was in 2002.

  1. Look out for browning of leaves aka “flagging”, and in about a month, look for tiny cicada nymphs on branches where eggs were laid. You can still use the 📱 Cicada Safari App to report Flagging. It is available for iPhones/iOS and Android phones.
  2. If you’re on Facebook, there’s a Brood VIII Group for discussion.
  3. Read about my trip to see Brood VIII

What, when, where, and why:

What:

  • Millions of these: Magicicada septendecim Brood VII 2018 09
  • 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.

Where:

Magicicada.org has the most up to date maps, including this modernized Google map.

📱 You can report cicada sightings using the Cicada Safari App, available for iPhones/iOS and Android phones. The app helps you identify periodical cicada species, take photos and add your findings to a map. See a map of sightings reported by the app.

  • Pennsylvania Counties: Allegheny, Armstrong, Beaver, Butler, Clarion, Indiana, Lawrence, Venango, Washington, Westmoreland.
  • Pennsylvania Cities: Aliquippa, Allegheny Township, Apollo, Baden, Beaver, Belle Vernon, Bethel Township, Black Lick, Blairsville, Bolivar, Brush Valley Township, Burgettstown, Center Township, Cheswick, Chippewa, Cranberry, Derry Township, Economy Boro, Elizabeth, Ellwood City, Fawn Township, Finleyville, Freedom, Gilpin, Greensburg, Harmony, Hempfield Township, Home, Homer City, Hopewell, Indiana, Leet Township, Ligonier, Midland, Murrysville, Natrona Heights, New Alexandria, New Brighton, New Florence, Parks Township, Pittsburgh, Rayne Township, Rector, Robinson Township, Rochester, Round Hill Park, Sewickley, Shelocta, St Clair Township, Stahlstown, Unity, Washington Township, West Deer, West Wheatfield Township, White Township, and more.
  • Pennsylvania parks: Keystone State Park, Blue Spruce Park, Boyce Park, Crooked Creek Horse Park, Hoodlebug Trail, Pine Ridge Park, Yellow Creek State Park
  • Ohio Counties: Columbiana, Mahoning. Trumbull, Ashtabula.
  • Ohio Cities: Boardman, Calcutta, East Liverpool, Girard, Glenmoor, Lisbon, Mineral Ridge, New Waterford, Toronto, Wellsville, Youngstown, and more.
  • West Virginia Counties: Hancock
  • West Virginia Cities: Weirton, and more.
  • West Virginia parks: Tomlinson Run State Park
  • Oklahoma: Around Lawton, and north of Tulsa. Read this article.

More Location Tips:

  • County data is from the Cicada Central Periodical Cicada Record Database and Periodical Cicadas, the Plague and the Puzzle by Gene Kritsky. Cities come from 2002 reports.
  • Brood VIII does overlap with Brood V (which emerged 3 years ago in 2016). Most of Brood VIII is east of V.
  • As a general rule, if you experienced Brood V in 2016, or did not experience Brood VIII in 2002, you won’t experience them this year.
  • Not sure? Ask someone in your community who lived there 17 years ago.

Visually, the cities mentioned above look like this:
Map

Why: Why do they emerge in massive numbers every 17-years? In a nutshell, the long life cycle has helped them avoid gaining a specific above-ground predator, and the massive numbers allow them to satiate predators in general, allowing enough to survive and reproduce.

Bonus content:

Video of newly emerged periodical cicada nymphs:

Magicicada cicada nymph mania from Cicada Mania on Vimeo.

More facts and fun:

September 7, 2018

Cicada Fun with Google Trends

Filed under: Australia,Brood X,Life Cycle,Periodical — Tags: — Dan @ 9:22 pm

Note: I originally took this article down because embedding Google Trends slowed down the loading of the page. I’m republishing without the embeds.

This article was inspired by Serious Fun with Google Trends by Simon Leather.

Google Trends is a Google website that lets you see trends in the search terms over time. When people search for “cicada” it usually means cicadas have emerged in their area at the time they search.

The following graph shows when people searched for “cicada” over the past 10 years in the United States. The largest spike, in May of 2004, coincided with the emergence of Brood X. See it on Google Trends.

Google Trends 2004-2015

You might think that periodical cicada emergences cause the largest spikes, but not always — and not just because periodical cicadas don’t emerge every year.

2004: Cicada searches spiked May 16-22, which was Brood X – Magicicadas.
2005: Jul 31-Aug 6 spike which was for Neotibicen Cicadas. No periodical cicadas.
2006: Aug 13-19, Neotibicen Cicadas. No periodical cicadas.
2007: May 20-26, Brood XIII – Magicicadas.
2008: Brood XIV Magicicadas emerged (spike Jun 8-14), but the largest spike was Jul 29-Aug 2, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2009: Aug 16-22, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2010: Aug 8-14, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2011: May 29-Jun 4, Brood XIX – Magicicadas.
2012: Jul 29-Aug 4, Neotibicen Cicadas.
2013: May 5-11, Brood II – Magicicadas.
2014: Brood XXII – Magicicadas had a relatively small spike May 25-31, compared with Aug 24-30 for Neotibicen Cicadas (late season due to cool weather). There was also a teeny bit of a spike around January of 2014 due to the “cicada 3301” meme/game.
2015: Brood XXIII & IV Magicicadas emerged (spike around Jun 7-13), but the largest spike was around Aug 9-15 for Neotibicen Cicadas.

Which cities had the most cicada searches over the past 14 years? Nashville, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Arlington, Washington, Alexandria, Pittsburg, St. Louis, Columbus, and Chicago. Time to move to Nashville.

Australia

In Australia, searches for “cicadas” peaks in December (summertime in Australia). It looks like there is a year-over-year pattern arising as well, with peaks every 4 years (2009, 2013, 2017) particularly, if you drill down to New South Wales.

Australia Google Trends

Japan

In Japan, searches for “セミ” peaks in August.

Google Trends Japan

Other countries

  • Argentina peaks in March for cigarra.
  • Brazil peaks in October and April for cigarra.
  • France peaks in July for cigales.
  • Mexico peaks in May or June for chicharra, but October for cigarra.
  • New Zealand peaks in February for cicadas.
  • South Korea peaks in July for 매미.
  • Spain peaks in July for cigarra.

Now I know when to visit these countries. :)

Try it yourself.

July 31, 2018

New paper: The periodical cicada four-year acceleration hypothesis revisited and the polyphyletic nature of Brood V

A new paper about periodical cicadas! View it: https://peerj.com/articles/5282/

“The periodical cicada four-year acceleration hypothesis revisited and the polyphyletic nature of Brood V, including an updated crowd-source enhanced map (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada)”

Authors: John R. Cooley​, Nidia Arguedas, Elias Bonaros, Gerry Bunker, Stephen M. Chiswell, Annette DeGiovine, Marten Edwards, Diane Hassanieh, Diler Haji, John Knox, Gene Kritsky, Carolyn Mills, Dan Mozgai, Roy Troutman, John Zyla, Hiroki Hasegawa, Teiji Sota, Jin Yoshimura, and Chris Simon.

Abstract:

The periodical cicadas of North America (Magicicada spp.) are well-known for their long life cycles of 13 and 17 years and their mass synchronized emergences. Although periodical cicada life cycles are relatively strict, the biogeographic patterns of periodical cicada broods, or year-classes, indicate that they must undergo some degree of life cycle switching. We present a new map of periodical cicada Brood V, which emerged in 2016, and demonstrate that it consists of at least four distinct parts that span an area in the United States stretching from Ohio to Long Island. We discuss mtDNA haplotype variation in this brood in relation to other periodical cicada broods, noting that different parts of this brood appear to have different origins. We use this information to refine a hypothesis for the formation of periodical cicada broods by 1- and 4-year life cycle jumps.

July 4, 2018

Are cicadas safe to eat? 🍲

Filed under: Eating Cicadas,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Update (July 2018): A company called Meat Maniac sells cicadas in a can. Don’t know which species, but they have a “nutty flavor”.

Also, send me a box of these cicadas from China… um, I mean Chinese City Tells Citizens to Fight Bug Infestation By Eating Them.

Meat Maniac cicadas in a can

Also, read this amazing story about how Brood VII cicadas helped kept the Onondaga Nation alive during a time of famine.

The original article from 2006:

[WARNING:] Cicadas, 17-year cicadas at least, are well-known bioaccumulators of mercury. If consuming mercury is a concern, you should not eat cicadas.

Dogs, cats, squirrels, fish, and people can’t stop eating cicadas. Are they crazy, or “crazy like a fox”? (Foxes will eat them too.)

Pets and other domesticated animals

This is a cartoon of a dog about to eat a cicada

People want to know: “is it safe for my pets to eat cicadas”. The truth is in most cases your pets will be fine if they eat a few cicadas, however, you still need to be cautious and keep a close eye on your pets. Watch them for odd behavior, and don’t let them gorge themselves. Be cautious: the Humane Society has warned: “Cicadas Dangerous to Pets” [the original link is gone].

Pet-related concerns:

  1. Pets can choke on the rigid wings and other hard body parts of the cicadas.
  2. Pets will gorge themselves on cicadas, and possibly become ill and vomit.
  3. Pets who consume cicadas sprayed with copious amounts of pesticide can and will die.
  4. Pets might have an allergic reaction to the cicadas just as people do.

Bottom line: play it safe, and don’t let your pets eat cicadas if you can help it.

People:

Whether they’re curious, hungry, or doing it for the shock value, people are eating cicadas. Asian peoples have eaten cicadas for centuries, and there are records of Native Americans eating cicadas. People joke that they’re Atkins friendly [also no gluten]. I’ve heard they taste like asparagus, popcorn, minty shrimp, and piney shrimp — YUMMY PINE.

A man in Bloomington Indiana had an allergic reaction to cicadas after eating 30. He was also allergic to seafood — both cicadas and shrimps are arthropods so this makes sense.

[Note to self, “Do it, Dan, don’t be a wimp!”]

People related concerns:

  1. Cicadas are well known bioaccumulators of mercury.
  2. You could choke on their hard body parts.
  3. You could have an allergic reaction. If you’re allergic to seafood, don’t think about eating them.
  4. Do you really want to eat something that’s been marinating in lawn fertilizers,
    pesticides and other chemicals for the past 17 years?
  5. If you get the gout, it makes sense to avoid them.

People related links:

  1. National Geographic: National Geographic News :Low-Fat, High Protein Cicadas: New Health Snack
  2. Stephanie Bailey’s Internet insect cookbook has tips on how to prepare insects for human consumption! [note that the link now goes to an article by Stephanie about eating insects in general.]

Bottom line: You’re not a contestant on Fear Factor [a reality TV show in the 00s]. Why eat cicadas when you can choose from many of the fine menu choices at Applebees [a chain restaurant]?

Fish, turkeys, squirrels and everything else

If a creature has a mouth or some other mechanism to digest cicadas, it likely will try to eat them. Cicadas make great fish bait. Squirrels (yes, they’re nuts for cicadas too), birds, possums, raccoons, foxes, other insects, fungi… they all love cicadas.

Bottom line: let nature do the dirty work and clean your yard one bite at a time.

Tom eats a cicada
Tom: Cicada Gormandize.


June 23, 2018

Brood VII, the Onondaga Brood, Will Emerge in New York State in 2018

Filed under: Brood VII,Magicicada,Periodical — Dan @ 1:01 am

Brood VII will return in 2035.

Update (June 17th): I just got back from Onondaga county and I can report that the emergence is in full swing. Lots of chorusing and mating. The best locations are around the Onondaga Nation reservation. If you visit, please do not trespass into the reservation — there are plenty of cicadas outside of it. John Cooley of Magicicada.org said there are also reports of cicadas in the Green Lakes State Park.

Here’s a video montage:

And a gallery:

Brood VII Magicicada septendecim 2018 Syracuse.

About Brood VII

Periodical cicadas (Magicicada septendecim, people call them “locusts”) will emerge in the Finger Lakes area of New York state in 2018.

This group of cicadas is called Brood VII (7) and is known as the Onondaga Brood. This brood is shrinking, and will likely be the next periodical cicada brood to go extinct

A pair of Magicicada septendecim:
A pair of mating Magicicada septendecims found in Woodbridge Township NJ

More details:

  • What: Brood VII is the smallest periodical cicada brood in the U.S., and is isolated in the Finger Lakes area of New York State. Only one species of cicada belongs to the brood: Magicicada septendecim (click link for sounds, video). This cicada has a 17-year life cycle. Sadly, Brood VII will likely be the next Brood to go extinct.
  • When: June, but perhaps May if it’s a very warm year. Magicicada cicadas typically emerge in the spring, once the soil underground where they live reaches approximately 64 degrees Faraihneght.
  • Where: the Finger Lakes area of NY State.
    • Where they appeared (last) in 2001: Onondaga and Livingston.
    • The following counties have had these cicadas in the distant past: Cayuga, Livingston, Monroe, Onondaga, Ontario, Seneca, Steuben, Wyoming, York.
  • The Onondaga Nation survived starvation one year by eating these cicadas

Further reading / viewing / listening:

Papers about Brood VII

  • The Historical Contraction of Periodical Cicada Brood Vii (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada by John R. Cooley, David C. Marshall and Chris Simon. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 112(2–3):198–204, 2004. Link to PDF download.
  • Decrease in Geographic Range of the Finger Lakes Brood(Brood Vii) of the Periodical Cicada (Hemiptera: Cicadidae: Magicicada Spp.) by Cole Gilbert and Carolyn Klass. J. New York Entomol. Soc. 114(1–2):78–85, 2006.

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