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April 23, 2008

Cicada nymphs, chimneys and holes

Filed under: Brood XIV | Magicicada | Periodical | Roy Troutman — Dan @ 5:12 pm

Here are some new photos from Roy Troutman that will give you a good idea of what to look for when searching for signs of cicadas in your yard:

This is a pair of Magicicada nymphs, much like you might find when gardening or turning over logs or stones in your yard.

Magicicada nymphs

See those beige globs of soil amongst the leaves and debris? Those are called cicada chimneys. They are a sure sign that a cicada nymph is below the soil, and will emerge in a few days or weeks.

Magicicada chimneys

Look closely at this picture and you’ll see holes in the ground. Those are holes that cicada nymphs have dug, and they’re another sure sign of where a cicada will emerge.

Cicada holes

On May 1st we’ll start making predictions as to when they’ll start to emerge.


  1. If there is a hole in the ground, has the cicada already emerged? If not, why do they dig the hole ahead of time?

    1. Dan says:

      Could be both. Sometimes they retreat once the weather sucks.
      But, yes they do make the hole before they leave, but they keep a “door” of dirt to cover it up. Some make chimneys.

  2. Linda Foland says:

    I have holes in a part of my yard from some type of bug, just the dry dirt. If you watch the
    holes closely after you put a little dirt over the hole, you’ll see dirt flying back out of the
    hole. You can’t see the bug but it must be strong to kick the dirt out like that. The holes are
    round about penny sized, no tunnel just a small hole. My son said it looked like someone put out
    their cigarette type of hole. I have even tried to shovel a hole underneath just to see what it
    Haven’t figured it out yet. I even put some bug killer granduals on it and there back after a week
    What are they. I live in Marion, IN.

    1. Dan says:

      Sounds like a spider if the dirt is being kicked back out. At this time of the year, cicada nymphs should be well below the soil.

  3. Kate says:

    I have thousands of holes in my sourthern Illinois back yard. Will they damage my trees and if so how do I get rid of them?

  4. Cal says:

    I was at tiny marsh in Elmvale Ontario yesterday and we saw the chimneys all over the place, we wondered what they were so I researched and found your site. I’m certain that they were cicada nymph chimneys but periodical cicadas don’t live in Ontario, do they? Are there any chimney building species in Ontario? What would they be?

    1. Dan says:

      I’m pretty sure that there are Okanagana and Platypedia in Canada. Could be one of those.

  5. Robin says:

    Last week I noticed in my front lawn (bermuda grass) cut short and beginning to green (I live in the panhandle of Texas and we got our last freeze about two weeks ago)…there were a lot of holes like someone had stuck an electric fence post in the ground randomly. I assume they are cicada’s (lot’s of June Bugs last summer)…am I right or should I start looking for another culprit…grubs/cut worms?…..

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