Magicicada cicadas often straggle from the times they are expected to emerge. This can happen due to overcrowding (too many cicadas underground can delay the development and emergence of some). It could also be a natural thing they do — maybe some accelerate from a 17 year to 13 year life cycle, or back, to form new populations or as a strategy for survival. Most of the time they straggle in 1 year or 4 year intervals. Here is were I would expect to see stragglers.
Brood II 1-year (late) stragglers in CT, GA, MD, NC, NJ, NY, OK, PA, VA
Brood IV 1-year (early) stragglers in IA, KS, MO, NE, OK, TX
Brood XXIII 1-year (early) stragglers in AR, IL, IN, KY, LA, MO, MS, TN
Magicicadas with a 13-Year life-cycle are emerging in Ohio & Kentucky, along the Ohio river, in 2014. This particular group of periodical cicadas last emerged in 2001 and 1988.
July 17th: I got confirmation from Dave Marshall and John Cooley that the ‘decim in the brood are Magicicada tredecim!
June 5th: Roy Troutman and I completed 3 days of cicada mapping in Ohio and Kentucky. This map includes our findings, Gene Kritsky’s findings and sightings submitted to Gene from local residents.
June 4th: Audio of a Magicicada tredecula call from the Ohio/Kentucky brood.
June 3rd: I spent the last last two days looking for cicadas in Ohio and Kentucky with Roy Troutman. Mostly ‘cassini, some ‘decula, and a very small amount of ‘decims. We found ‘cassini chorusing in Mason, KY, in the west, and so far as south as Neurls Run, KY. JoAnn White & Monte Lloyd’s paper 17-Year cicadas emerging after 18 years: A new brood?1 mentioned emergences in the Mason location, going back to 1975 (three 13 year generations ago).
2014 Ohio M tredecassini adult on leaf by Roy Troutman
May 31th: Cicadas are reported to be “loud and plentiful” in the Germantown KY area, as well as, Harrison county KY.
May 30th: Roy Troutman confirmed that ‘decula, ‘cassini and ‘decim type Magicicada have emerged in Ohio.
May 23th: Gene Kritsky wrote to let us know that “the emergence is now in full swing” in Ohio and Kentucky.
13 Year Nymph on tree by Roy Troutman taken in Chilo Ohio in 2014
May 14th: Roy Troutman has reported that the emergence began last night in Chilo, OH according to a Clermont County Parks director. Cool weather this week (in the thirties!) will likely prevent more cicadas from emerging until next week (highs in 80s).
I know what you’re thinking: are these cicadas part of Brood XXII? Time and research will tell. Brood XXII emerges in Louisiana and Mississippi, which are geographically isolated from Ohio & Kentucky, so the two groups of cicadas are likely to be genetically distinct (belonging to different mitochondrial haplotype groups at least). That said, Brood II, which emerges mostly along the east coast of the U.S., also emerges in Oklahoma, which is geographically isolated from the rest of that brood. So, the Ohio/Kentucky cicadas could logically be part of brood XXII.
Back in 2001 Roy Troutman, Les Daniels and Gene Kritsky reported this group of cicadas to Cicada Mania. Les reported both cassini and decim.
My guess is these cicadas are somehow descended from Brood X or Brood XIV 17-year cicadas, and that if they are 13-year cicadas.
I wrote Roy for a list of towns where these cicadas emerged in 2001, and he said:
Cold Springs, KY
New Richmond, OH
Point Pleasant, OH
Woodland Mound Park, Cinncinati, OH
There are many myths (widely held but false beliefs or ideas) about cicadas. Time to bust some cicada myths.
Myth 1: Cicadas are sleeping when they are underground.
There’s a popular meme that [mis]states the following “if cicadas can sleep for 17 years and then wake up only to scream and reproduce so can i”. The actual tweet doesn’t say “reproduce”, but I want to keep it clean.
American periodical cicadas aren’t sleeping the entire 17 years they’re underground. Much of the time they’re digging tunnels and building feeding cells, tapping into roots and feeding, vying with other cicadas for space along a crowded root system, growing (they experience four phases or instars while underground), avoiding unfavorable conditions like flooding, and possibly actively avoiding predators like moles and voles. Yes, cicadas can sleep — or at least the insect version of sleep called torpor — but they are definitely not asleep for 17 years.
That said cicadas do spend their time screaming (the males) and procreating once above ground.
Myth 2: All cicadas have a 17 year life cycle.
This is false. Only three species, out of the thousands of cicada species in the world, have a 17-year life cycle: Magicicada septendecim, Magicicada cassini, and Magicicada septendecula.
Myth 3: All cicadas have periodical life cycles and synchronized emergences.
This is false. Only seven species in the United States (belonging to the genus Magicicada), and a few species in Asia (belonging to the genus Chremistica 1) have been confirmed to have periodical life cycles and synchronized emergences.
All other species of cicadas emerge annually, although in some years they are more plentiful than in others.
Myth 4: All cicadas live a prime number of years.
Many cicadas live a prime number of years, but some do not. Chremistica ribhoi, the World Cup cicada, has four year life cycle.
Myth 5: A long, periodical, prime number life cycle has allowed American periodical cicadas to avoid gaining a predator.
American periodical cicadas have avoided gaining an animal predator that specifically predates them, but they haven’t avoided a fungus. Massospora cicadina is a fungal parasite of Magicicada cicadas.
That said, just about any animal will eat an American periodical cicada, so they definitely get eaten. They get eaten a lot.
Myth 6: Cicadas make their well-known sound by stridulation, like crickets, grasshoppers & katydids.
It is true that some cicadas can make noise by stridulation, making sound by rubbing body parts.
However, and this is a huge “however”, the sound cicadas are known for is made by organs found in male cicadas called tymbals. Tymbals are a pair of ribbed membranes, that produce the cicada’s sound when they are flexed in and out by muscles. The mechanism is like the popping sound made when the plastic of a soda pop bottle is flexed in and out.
Cicadas can also make sound by flicking or clapping their wings.
Myth 7: Cicadas eat vegetation.
This is false. Cicadas lack the mouthparts to chew and swallow vegetable matter. Your tomatoes are safe around cicadas. Rather than eating solid food, cicadas ingest xylem, which is a type of tree sap that cicadas drink through their straw-like mouthparts.
Myth 8: American periodical cicadas are locusts.
Cicadas are not locusts. Locusts are a form of grasshopper. People confuse cicadas with locusts because both insects aggregate in massive numbers.
This is an image of a locust:
Giant hind legs for jumping
Hind legs about the same size as other legs; great for climbing and perching.
What they eat
Everything green they can find to eat
They’re in your town
All the plants in your town have been stripped bare
Cool UFO movie soundtrack sounds during the day
9) If you see a W appear in a cicada’s wings it means there will be a war. If you see a P, there will be peace.
This is the most mythical of cicada myths and has no basis in fact. That said, here’s the W:
1 Hajong, S.R. 2013. Mass emergence of a cicada (homoptera: cicadidae) and its capture methods and consumption by villagers in the ri-bhoi district of Meghalaya. Department of Zoology, North-Eastern Hill University, Shillong — 793 022, Meghalaya, India.
Roy Troutman spotted and photographed periodical cicada turrets in Chilo Lock 34 Park in Chilo, OH. We expect 13 year cicadas to emerge in Ohio and Kentucky this year, and this is proof it will happen.
This group of cicadas is not officially aligned with a Brood, but given enough research, documentation and population samples, I imagine they’ll be aligned with Brood XXII (although they might be genetically different from the cicadas in LA and MS). TBD.
A news story came out in November reporting that M. cassini appeared in areas of Connecticut where they were not expected during the Brood II emergence this year. This must have been a 2013 highlight for cicada researchers in the Connecticut area.
I picked up a film on 16mm (what they showed to kids in school before VHS tapes were popular) called Cicada – The Insect Methuselah. I would love to see it, but I don’t have a 16mm projector (who does?) The film is presumably about 17/13 Year cicadas. I held the film up to a light, and it indeed features the Magicicada species.
The film was produced by the Moody Institute of Science in 1955, and I assume they still hold the copyright to the film. It is 12 minutes in length.
Update: Roy Troutman contacted us to let us know that this video footage can be found in another video: The Mystery of The Three Clocks, which you can watch here:
The most impressive thing about the video is the anatomical model of the cicada. I wish I had one (but I might have to go back to the 50’s to get one).
Giving a presentation about cicadas at musician/naturalist/philosopher/professor David Rothenberg’s “Richard Robinson: Song of the Cicada (World Premiere), Insect Music, based on the calls, chirps and clicks of various insects” event in New York City.
At this point in the 2013 Brood II emergence, all the cicadas that will emerge, have emerged. I’m sorry to say that if periodical cicadas have not emerged in your yard/neighborhood/town, they won’t. This is frustrating for people who heard that the cicadas would emerge in their state or those who looked at a brood map and assumed their neighborhood fell within the area shown on the map.
People in Pennsylvania, for example, heard that cicadas would arrive in their state, but unfortunately, the cicadas only occupy a small banana-shaped region in the east of the state:
If you look at one of the older maps for Brood II, it looks like the state of New Jersey is covered, however, each dot might represent only one sighing in one specific area. These old maps are useful, but they can be misleading (more on maps later in this article).
The truth is periodical cicadas do not occupy every square acre of a state in which they are expected to emerge. Even in towns where they do emerge, they are rarely present in every acre or block of those towns. Why? Well, either they were eliminated in the areas where they once were found (due to urban sprawl, pesticides, weather-related events, etc), or they simply were never there in the first place. New threats like extreme weather (flooding and tree destruction by tropical storms) and tree-destroying invasive species (like the emerald ash borer) will continue to shrink cicada habitat areas.
It is important, for future emergences, that the press/media and cicada websites provide more accurate information about the location of the cicadas. The cicada sighting information people provide to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) is very important because it will lead to better maps and more accurate sighting information.
One thing I’m glad that I did this year was to provide a page that listed specific towns in New Jersey where cicadas could be expected. I wish I did one for every state in the Brood II area [but Cicada Mania is not my day job, and there are only so many hours in a day].
That said, we never want to discourage people from looking for periodical cicadas in areas we don’t expect them to exist. Last year unexpected Brood I cicadas emerged in Tennessee. This year periodical cicadas unexpectedly emerged in Oklahoma. A lot of us were hoping cicadas would show up in Central Park in Manhattan, but they didn’t (however, I didn’t personally walk every acre of the park).
So, what can you do to help?
If you’re a member of the press/media (yes that includes bloggers and tweeters), make sure you get precise locations from cicada experts.
Help preserve the current cicada habitat. Preserve trees. Avoid pesticides. Don’t wipe out another forest to add yet another redundant giant store.
A consolation for people who missed out on the 17 year cicadas: there are about 160 species of annual cicadas in North America. They’re usually harder to find and catch, but you can still hear and capture them if you put some time and effort into it.
At this point if you haven’t had a periodical cicada emerge in your yard/neighborhood/town, you won’t. The best last chance to see them would be in New York State along rte 9G, parts of 9 and 9J. The more northern, the better. I visited that area last weekend, and found some great spots.
Flagging (when leaves turn brown from cicada egg laying) can be seen in New Jersey and states south of there. Probably a little bit of Connecticut and New York as well.
People are noticing sap dripping from the scars left behind from cicada egg laying.
Next up will be the hatching of the eggs.
Don’t forget to report FLAGGING (brown leaves) sightings to Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) so they can add them to their live map. You can report flagging, as well as egg nests, and newly hatched nymphs.
Areas in southern states are no doubt in the clean up phase. Adults have stopped singing, and corpses litter the ground, while the eggs of the next generation are nestled in branches high up in trees.
This is what to expect here on out:
They stink — literally, not figuratively. Yeah, their rotting corpses stink, so you want to clean them up. A rake and shovel work. Some people use vacuums, which are effective, but your vacuums might inherit the smell of the cicadas.
The hatch — in about 6-8 weeks the eggs laid in tree branches will hatch and the 1st instar nymphs will fall to the ground (see “THE ECOLOGY, BEHAVIOR AND EVOLUTION OF PERIODICAL CICADAS” by Kathy S. Williams and Chris Simon). The fall doesn’t hurt them because they have a low terminal velocity. Wear a hat in August. At this point they quickly dig into the soil, and start feeding on roots — small grass roots at first, and larger roots as they get larger. Chances are you won’t even notice them. Sadly, about 98% of them die in the first two years. Just imagine if they all survived — 5000% more cicadas!
The birds will come back — birds and other critters often leave a neighborhood during a cicada emergence. Either they get their fill of eating the cicadas, they can’t hear each other over the over-powering call of the cicadas, or they find it hard to navigate the sky and trees with all the cicadas around. What ever the case, birds and other animals will return to your neighborhood once the cicadas die off. Do not worry.
It’s been nearly 2 weeks since my last update, but I’ve been busy — traveling around looking and listening for cicadas. I have literally 100s of photos and videos, and information to update the site with. Lots of info to come.
Status of the emergence:
– Cicadas in North Carolina, Virginia and Maryland should be post-peak. Singing, mating, laying eggs, but mostly dying. New Jersey is at it’s peak — mostly singing, mating and laying eggs. Pensy, Staten Island and the rest of New York have cicadas in all phases, but they should still have some emerging nymphs to check out. If you want to watch nymphs emerging at this point, Connecticut is the place to go.
Locations I’ve visited and heard or saw cicadas:
New Jersey: Metuchen, Edison, Iselin, Colonia, Woodbridge, Westfield, Fanwood, Summit, Scotch Plains, Clark, Watchung…
Staten Island: most parks in southern SI, like Wolfe’s Pong Park (the cicadas survived Sandy) and Bloomingdale Park. Lots along Drumgoole road.
Locations other people reported:
– Meriden, CT
– Berkeley Heights NJ
– Flat Rock Brood Nature Center www.flatrockbrook.org in NJ
– Lewis Morris Park, Convent Station, Madison and Morris Township in NJ
– Maplewood in Essex County, NJ
– Millburn, NJ (South Mountain Reservation)
– Mountainside, NJ
– Plainfield, NJ
– Upper Montclair, NJ
– West Milford, NJ
– Cornwall-On Hudson, NY
– Red Hook, NY
– Glen Allen, VA
– Manassas Battlefield Park in VA
– Woodbridge VA
See the live map for the lastest 500 locations reported to Magiciada.org.
Where they’re not (sorry):
– DC (they’re south west of DC).
– Most counties in New Jersey south of Middlesex (with some exceptions).
– Most of Pensy
May 24th Update
Cold days ahead until Tuesday for the Brood II cicadas, at least in the northern states. Temperatures below 57 F/14 C will put the insects into a state of torpor, making them easy prey for critters. The rain and wind doesn’t help either. Read: “Adaptation of the Thermal Responses of Insects” by James E. Heath; James L. Hanegan; Peter J. Wilkin; Maxine Shoemaker Heath.
Some positive news: Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) has declared a pocket of Brood II in Georgia. Time to update the brood charts!
May 23rd Update
I heard chorusing for the first time in Metuchen, NJ today.
+ Berkeley Heights, NJ (thx Lucinda)
+ Finneytown Ohio (thx Roy) (technically not Brood II)
Cicadas are starting to emerge throughout New Jersey. Westfield, Iselin and Metuchen are visually confirmed. I will assume that they have started to emerge in Staten Island as well because of the relative proximity of Staten Island and Jersey.
Cicadas have started chorusing in North Garden, VA.
Visual confirmation of the emergence in:
Lake Ridge, VA
Yadkin County, NC
Update (5/9): cicadas have emerged in North Carolina, Virgina (see a photo) and Maryland (read a tweet) so far. Nymphs are active in New Jersey according to Magicicada and my sister’s chihuahua:
Update (5/2): cicadas have emerged in Guilford County and Stokes County North Carolina.
Over on the Entomology-Cicadidae cicada group a gentleman named Tommy Joseph has posted photos of periodical cicadas which have emerged this week in Greensboro, North Carolina This makes sense as North Carolina is the southern-most state with a Brood II population, and southern states warm up before northern states.
The Simon Lab is dedicated to the study of cicadas, in particular, periodical cicadas.
One of the things they study is the development of cicada nymphs while they are underground.
They need your help to collect cicada nymph specimens. You would dig for them, and if you find them, mail them to the Simon Lab. The nymphs will be used for valuable scientific study, so the loss of a few from your yard will not be in vain.
If you are interested in participating in cicada nymph research, visit The Simon Lab Nymph Tracking Project page for more information. You must have had periodical cicadas on your property in past 13 or 17 years to find the nymphs — not including the Brood II area, since those nymphs came out of the ground this year.