Have a listen to Dr. Chordate’s Periodical Cicada Graduation Song, with an intro by Dr. Chordate. “This is a graduation song: the larvae of the 17-year periodic cicada finally emerge from the ground to transform into adults.”
March 29, 2021
March 21, 2021
Renowned cicada researcher Gene Kritsky, PhD., has a new book out: Periodical Cicadas: The Brood X Edition. It is available for Kindle and paperback on Amazon.com. Now’s the time to get it.
Gene is also has a new link for the Cicada Safari App.
March 3, 2021
Here’s a song titled Seventeen Year Cicadas by George Peter Block, Jr,:
February 4, 2021
Aside from Brood X, what else is happening in terms of Periodical cicadas?
- Expect some early-emerging cicadas from Brood XIV, showing up 4 years early. Brood XIV exists in Georgia, Kentucky, Indiana, Massachusettes, Maryland, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia.
- There might be some 1-year stragglers form Brood IX. Brood IX is in North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
- There might be some 4-year stragglers from Brood VI. Brood VI is found in Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Oklaholma. And Ohio?Brood VI is a weird one.
January 24, 2021
I was wondering how much an adult Magicicada weighs. According to Richard Karban’s paper “Transient habitats limit development time for periodical cicadas,” a female Magicicada septendecim weighs approximately 1.2 grams. (Karban, R. (2014), Transient habitats limit development time for periodical cicadas. Ecology, 95: 3-8. https://doi.org/10.1890/13-1518.1)
According to the CDC website, the average adult American human weighs 84051 grams.
That means the average adult weighs as much as 70,043 Magicicada cicadas.
Magicicada.org was an amazing website filled with information about Magicicada periodical cicadas and backed by cicada expert, John Cooley.
The site now has a new address and look: Cicadas @ UCONN (https://cicadas.uconn.edu/). Bookmark it in preparation for the 2021 Brood X emergence.
January 9, 2021
Gene Kritsky has a new book about periodical cicadas & brood X. Check it out:
Periodical cicada Brood X (10) will emerge in the spring of 2021 in Delaware, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York (extinct or nearly so), Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington D.C.
The last time this brood emerged was in 2004.
If you see or hear them report them with the Cicada Safari app. Use the hashtag #BroodX or #BroodXCicadas in social media.
What, when, where, and why:
What are these cicadas?
Billions of these insects:
- Black, orange and red 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 will these cicadas emerge:
Typically beginning in 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. Back in 2004, people began reporting emergences around May, 13th, but if the weather is warmer, it might start in late April.
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 will these cicadas emerge:
Cicadas @ UCONN (formerly Magicicada.org) has the most up to date maps. If you see a cicada and want to report it, the Cicada Safari App is available for Android and Apple devices 📱.
Places = cities, towns, communities, parts, etc. where people told us they emerged back in 2004.
- Delaware counties: Kent, Sussex
- Delaware places: Newark, Wilmington
- Georgia counties: Union, White. Maybe Gilmer.
- Georgia places: Blairsville, Ellijay, Norcross
- Illinois counties: Edgar, Clark, Crawford, Vermilion
- Illinois places: Marshall
- Indiana counties: Brown, Clark, Clay, Columbus, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Dubois, Fountain, Gibson, Greene, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Lawrence, Martin, Monroe, Montgomery, Orange, Owen, Parke, Perry, Pike, Ripley, Spencer, Sullivan, Vanderburgh, Vigo, Warrick
- Indiana places: Bloomington, Brookville, Clinton Falls, Dillsboro, Fishers, French Lick, Indianapolis, Lawrenceburg, Lexington, Martinsville, McCormick’s Creek State Park, Nashville, North Vernon, Skiles Test Park, Spencer
- Kentucky counties: Boone, Breckenridge, Bullitt, Carroll, Daviess, Gallatin, Grayson, Henry, Jefferson, La Rue, McLean, Muhlenberg, Nelson, Ohio, Oldham, Trimble
- Kentucky places: Big Bone Lick State Park, Covington, Dayton, Dry Ridge, Florence, Ft. Thomas, Georgetown, Hebron, Highland Heights, Louisville, Newport, Villa Hills.
- Maryland counties: Allegany, Anne Arundel, Baltimore, Carroll, Cecil, Frederick, Garrett, Harford, Howard, Montgomery, Prince Georges, Washington
- Maryland places: Abingdon, Annapolis, Aspen Hill, Baltimore, Bel Air, Beltsville, Berwyn Heights, Bethesda, Bowie, Brooklandville, Brooklyn Park, Catonsville, Chevy Chase, Clinton, Colesville, College Park, Columbia, Cockeysville, Crofton, Cumberland, District Heights, Eldersburg, Elkridge, Elkton, Ellicott City, Fair Hill, Fallston, Forestville, Gaithersburg, Gambrills, Germantown, Glen Burnie, Glenelg, Greenbelt, Gwynn Oak, Hagerstown, Hanover, Havre De Grace, Hillcrest Heights, Hunt Valley, Hyattsville, Hydes, Jessup, Landover Hills, Laurel, Lutherville, Odenton, Oella, Owings Mills, Pikesville, Potomac, Randallstown, Reisterstown, Riverdale, Rockville, Severna Park, Sharpsburg, Silver Spring, Takoma Park, Timonium, Towson, Wheaton
- Michigan counties: Hillsdale, Washtenaw
- Michigan places: Ann Arbor, Canton, Quincy
- North Carolina counties: Cherokee, Surry, Wilkes
- North Carolina places: Morganton, Murphy
- New Jersey counties: Burlington, Hunterdon, Mercer, Salem
- New Jersey places: Browns Mills, Harmony, Hillsborough, Holland Township, Kingwood Township, Lawrence, Merrill Creek Reservoir, Milford, Monmouth Junction, Morristown, Mt. Rose, Pennington, Princeton, Sourland Mountain, West Windsor Township. There’s an abundance of large parks and natural areas around Princeton.
- New York counties: Suffolk (but extinct, or nearly so, but still look for them – Newsday article)
- New York places: All on Long Island, but based on the 2004 emergence, they might be extinct. Some were seen in East Setauket, Connetquot River State Park, Ronkonkoma, Stony Brook. In 1987 they were seen in Shirley, Ronkonkoma, Bohemia, Connetquot River State Park, Oakdale, and Setauket. Please read this article!
- Ohio counties: Defiance, Franklin, Greene, Hamilton, Logan, Montgomery
- Ohio places: Anderson Twp, Battelle Darby Park, Bellbrook, Centerville, Cincinnati, Columbus, Defiance, Delaware, Delhi Twp, Dublin, Fairfield, Galloway, Hamilton, Kettering, Lewisburg, Lockland, Miamisburg, Olmsted Falls, Oxford, Springfield, St. Bernard, West Carrollton, West Chester
- Pennsylvania counties: Adams, Bedford, Berks, Bucks, Chester, Columbia, County, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Fulton, Huntingdon, Lancaster, Lehigh, Luzerne, Lycoming, Mercer, Montgomery, Northampton, Perry, Schuylkill, Somerset, York
- Pennsylvania places:Archbald, Artemas, Bedford, Carroll Valley, Coopersburg, Dinosaur Rock, Downingtown, Gettysburg, Green Lane, Kintnersville, Lake Nockamixon, Lancaster, Lititz, Malvern, Mertztown, Mohnton, Mt Gretna, Oaks, Oley, Perkasie, Perkiomenville, Phoenixville, Pittston, Quakertown, Red Lion, Roaring Spring, Solebury, Spring Mount, Stewartstown, Topton, Upper Black Eddy, Warwick Park
- Tennessee counties: Blount, Greene, Hamblen, Jefferson, Knox, Roane, Sumner, Wilson
- Tennessee places: Copperhill, Farragut, Fayetteville, Knoxville, Oak Ridge.
- Virginia counties: Arlington, Clarke, County, Dulles Smithsonian National Aircraft and Space Museum, Fairfax, Fauquier, Frederick, Shenandoah, Warren, Winchester
- Virginia places: Alexandria, Annandale, Arlington, Ashburn, Centreville, Chantilly, Clearbrook, Del Ray, Doswell, Dunn Loring, Fairfax, Falls Church, Franconia, Hampton Roads, Haymarket, Herndon, Lorton, Lovettsville, Manassas, Merrifield, Oakton, Reston, Springfield, Sterling, Vienna, White Post, Winchester.
- West Virginia counties: Berkeley, Grant, Hampshire, Hardy, Jefferson, Mineral, Morgan
- West Virginia places: Martinsburg, New Creek
- Washington D.C.
More Location Tips:
- Reports of Brood X cicadas that emerged early in 2017.
- County data is from the Cicada Central Periodical Cicada Record Database. Cities come from May 2004 reports and June 2004 reports.
- Not sure? Ask someone in your community who lived there 17 years ago.
Example Emergence Timeline
This is an example of a typical cicada emergence. The exact dates will depend on the weather and density of the emergence in your location. Hot weather means an early start and quicker finish to the season — cool weather means a later start, and a protracted season.
Here’s an Excel version of the chart. Feel free to use it and adjust it to match your experience.
Oe watch the video version:
Why do cicadas:
Why do they stay underground for 17-years? The prevailing research suggests they’ve evolved a long, 17-year lifecycle to avoid predators that can sync up with their lifecycle & emergence. Why are there so many?! Research suggests that their huge numbers allow them to overwhelm predators, so enough of them will live on to breed and perpetuate the brood.
Should you plant?
If you’re planting trees, wait until July. If your yard doesn’t get cicadas by the first week of June, it’s probably safe to plant in June. Otherwise, you can use netting to keep cicadas from laying eggs in the branches of fragile trees. It’s the egg-laying that does damage. They usually avoid garden and flowering plants because their stems aren’t strong enough for an egg nest.
More facts and fun:
- Use the correct image when talking about these cicadas.
- Use the Periodical Cicada Emergence Checklist for the Maximum Magicicada Experience.
- All cicada questions that are frequently asked.
- A video to help you tell the difference between the species.
- The 17 Most Interesting Periodical cicada facts.
1907 Map from Marlatt, C.L.. 1907. The periodical cicada. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Bureau of Entomology.
January 1, 2021
Here’s something I wrote in 1996 to chronicle the Brood II cicada emergence in 1996. It’s probably meant to be semi-humorous.
Dan’s Cicada Diary for 1996.
Sunday, May 19th: Metuchen, New Jersey; I found the first desiccated cicada nymph exoskeleton on my patio. My cat disappears.
Tuesday, May 21st: I found about 40 nymph exoskeletons on my patio, a pine tree, and a maple tree. I also spotted an adult climbing the maple and two crippled adults rolling about the base of the tree.
Wednesday, May 22nd: Bonanza! I found about 500 adults perched on just about everything in my yard: trees, patio furniture, the foundation of my home, the garden hose, garbage cans, the missing cat’s water dish, my hair…just plain everywhere! Gruesome!
Saturday, May 25th: Avenel, New Jersey; Party at the Ritzow’s. Literally, hundreds of adult cicadas perched high above in oak trees sneer at decadent humans sipping martini’s, playing croquet. Bourgeois homo sapiens…bah humbug!
Thursday, May 30th: Metuchen, New Jersey; Still no sign of the cat. Sitting outside on my patio around 8:30 pm I hear a “snap”, “crackle” and “popping” sound. Rice Crispies? No. More like cicadas nymphs crawling out of their holes and onto my garden wall to molt into adulthood. Not the loveliest sight.
Saturday, June 1st: Westfield, New Jersey; Dave Wilson and Claire Adas’ wedding. A beautiful ceremony and reception, with the exception of the 9000 uninvited cicadas: crawling up people’s legs, crunching underfoot, landing in refreshments…a moment to cherish and remember!
Tuesday, June 4th: North Edison, New Jersey; The cicadas have begun to sing! All together they sound like a Boeing 767 is circling 40 feet overhead. The sound is that awesome. 10 inch deep piles of dying post-coitus adults litter the base of trees. The invasion has only begun!
Wednesday, June 5th – Monday, June 17th: Metuchen, North Edison, Colonia, Avenel, New Jersey; The invasion is in full effect! Homeowners in North Edison and Colonia report having to haul away the dying bodies of cicadas in wheelbarrows! Residents describe the cicadas’ combined mating screams as “loud as a UFO” [how do they know what a UFO sounds like?] and “like a Mack Truck was floating ten foot above your head”! Someone even told me cicadas taste like shrimp! I guess they made the best of a bad situation.
Wednesday, June 26th: Metuchen, New Jersey; It appears the invasion is over. All that remains is the dismembered, rotting corpses and the memories, sweet, sweet, memories. But remember, They’ll be back…in the year 2013!
Saturday, August 3rd: Metuchen, New Jersey; Looking out my second-story window I can clearly see the damage done by the 17-year cicadas. Brown patches of dead leaves speckle local oak and maple trees, revealing the branches where the female cicada has chosen to lay her eggs; an interesting “natural disaster”, but, not as heart-breaking as an earthquake or a flood. Clearly, the most provocative news regarding cicadas is the current hatch of annual cicadas, which are larger than the “17-year” cicadas (thoroughly illustrated within this web page) and greener. Another dissimilarity is the difference in their respective mating calls: while the “17-year” cicada makes a whirring sound somewhere between the motor of a vacuum cleaner and a car alarm, the “annual” cicada sounds more like a lawn sprinkler or maybe a sewing machine. Although I can clearly hear hundreds of “annual” cicadas and I have found their shells, I haven’t visually located a single one! Another cicada-related event has been the recent hatch of “cicada killer” wasps. These two-inch long giant wasps only prey upon, our friend, the defenseless cicada. I haven’t located these creatures either, but, they are definitely out there. Cicadas beware!
Wednesday, August 26th: Metuchen, New Jersey; the Tibicen cicadas continue to sing…
Wednesday, November 6th: Metuchen, New Jersey; they are all dead or sucking on roots underground.
This is from my “Cicada Humor” page from 1996-1997. It’s semi-humorous. For serious information visit the facts-only 17-year cicada page.
The 17-Year Cicada
Every 17 years a fearsome biological monstrosity drags its way to the surface of the earth. It comes only to mate and spawn; however, it imparts terror and disgust in the hearts and minds of every man, woman, child, and beast unfortunate enough to cross its path. This is no Hollywood fantasy, ladies and gentlemen, this creature is real, horribly real! Cast your trembling eyes upon mother nature’s most disturbing insectoid aberration… T
he Cicada a.k.a. “The 17-Year Locust”
July 17th, 1997
Seriously, folks, the cicada isn’t a locust, it’s, well, a cicada (a member of the Homoptera order of insects). These charming creatures are best known for their intense mating call, which sounds more or less like a lawn sprinkler, or a miniature AH-64 Apache Black Helicopter. When 10,000 or so of these suckers start screaming in your neighborhood you’ll think you’re in the middle of Apocalypse Now. Now is the time! Depending on where you live, these heinous herbivores should be dive-bombing your friends and family any day now.
Actually, they are more likely to fall out of a tree than fly, but, rest assured, they will be landing somewhere on your body sometime soon.
I live in central New Jersey and right now we are up to our mandibles in a plague of these sap slurping oddities. Some breeds, including the green/yellow striped cicadas, rear their ugly heads every year, but, fortunately not in great numbers. The “periodic”, black-bodied, red-eyed, spawn of Beelzebub cicadas only present themselves once every 17 years; unfortunately, there are literally millions of them. Worst of all, they have a face, just like you or me!
Periodic cicadas live to be 17 years old (13 years in southern states), which means they’re the only insect that qualifies for a driver’s license in New Jersey. Actually, these creatures only spend two to four weeks of their lives as an adult. They spend the first 17 years underground sucking on roots! Exciting! Once the adults have mated, the female drills a hole in a tree branch with her butt (technically her ovipositor) and lays her eggs. The eggs soon hatch and the “nymphs” fall to the ground where they feed on root sap. As soon as the adults mate they croak and drop to the ground where they will decay and stink. If I were you I wouldn’t hang out under any trees this year. In the end, your best offense will be a shovel and a bucket, or, a hungry golden retriever.
July 12, 2020
Many periodical cicadas emerged four years early in the Chicago area in 2020. These cicadas belong to the Brood XIII (13) which is set to emerge in 2024, and last emerged in 2007. Periodical cicadas often emerge in years proceeding or following the year their brood is expected to emerge. This phenomenon is called straggling. Most of the time these “stragglers” emerge in small numbers and are quickly eaten by predators, and do not go on to sing, chorus (synchronized singing for the purpose of attracting females), mate, and lay eggs. Sometimes they emerge in numbers large enough to survive, chorus, and reproduce — this seems to have happened in the Chicago area in 2020. It is thought this is how new broods formed over the millennia — cicadas emerge 4 or 1 year early in significant numbers and form a new brood. When enough stragglers emerge to successfully reproduce it is called an acceleration.
So, is a new brood forming around Chicago? Is this due to climate change or localized “heat islands”? Will the progeny of these stragglers emerge in 13, 17 or 21 years? Lots of questions — but we’ll need to wait quite some time to answer them.
There is a precedence for Brood XIII cicadas straggling in the Chicago area:
In 1969 massive numbers of periodical cicadas emerged in the Chicago suburbs 1 (Williams, K.S. & Simon, C. 1995).
In 1986, another 4-year acceleration was observed in the Chicago area by Monte Lloyd 1.
In 2003, many people left observations on our forums. Observations were made in Glenview, Flossmoor, Riverside, Downers Grove, Homewood, Westmont, Oak Park, and Hinsdale. Here are some examples:
Magicicada emerging this evening
Date: Wednesday, Jun/4/2003
Message: As I went for a walk this evening I noticed quite a few periodic cicadas emerging in the grass, crawling on the sidewalks and on the trunks of trees. This is not our year for the 17-year brood. We should not have them until 2007. Has anyone else in the Chicago area seen these cicadas? — Sue, Flossmoor, IL
Date: Monday, Jun/9/2003
Message: I heard the cicadas singing for the first time this morning after my walk. Now that I have my doors open I can hear them on and off. — Sue, Flossmoor, IL
In 2020 many people left comments on the Brood XIII page, emailed us (thanks Neil) and left sightings via the Cicada Safari app.
1Williams, K.S. & Simon, C. 1995. The Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution of Periodical Cicadas. Annual Review of Entomology. Vol. 40:269-295 (https://doi.org/10.1146/annurev.en.40.010195.001413).