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August 1, 2005

Have you seen an unusually large number of cicadas this year?

Filed under: Chris Simon | Community Science | Okanagana | Proto-periodical — Dan @ 7:32 pm


Chris Simon a Professor, Ecology & Evolutionary Biology from the University of Connecticut asked us to post this on our site, and so we did.

Dear Cicadamaniacs,

If you have seen unusually large numbers of cicadas this year (or
last),and have not seen such numbers for a long time, can you please
report them to me? Chris dot Simon at UCONN dot edu? Please report
the location in which you saw the cicada, what month and year, how
long it has been since you have seen a similar emergence magnitude.

This seems to be an unusually good cicada year, maybe related to
unusually wet or otherwise favorable weather:

Dan Johnson from Southern Alberta, Canada reported an outbreak of
Okanagana synodica this year. He says: “I saw only a few between
1983 and 1985, then a few per year in 1986-88, then rare again, then
slightly more in 2000-2003, and only last year did they bloom, and
really with a bang (more than 1000X). My study area is southern
Alberta and Saskatchewan, mainly mixed grass sites in Alberta, plus
fescue foothills.” He had not seen an emergence like this in the 20
years he had worked there.

John Cooley reports Okanagana rimosa and canadensis as being very
dense this year in Northern Michigan and Dan Vanderpool reported that
an unidentified species of cicada was out in Northern Idaho that
residents noted they had never heard before (at least not in big
numbers) and one respondent had lived there for 30 years.

This record was from last year: Eric Toolson of New Mexico writes-
Last year, there was a widespread & heavy emergence of Tibicen
townsendii across a rather large area of central New Mexico
grassland. Prior to that, I knew of only one population in an area
of several hundred square miles, and that occupied an area of only
about 2 hectares. That population has been emerging in good numbers
for over a decade [in this location], but I never saw the species
anywhere else within a distance of several tens of miles in any
direction. I had formed the impression that although T. townsendii
was geographically widespread, its range was occupied by a relatively
few, widely-scattered, discrete populations that were failing to
occupy what seems to be a lot of contiguous suitable habitat.

Cicadas are known for their boom and bust years. It would be nice to
start keeping track of them.

Thanks very much,



  1. Vince Matson says:

    I live in edgewood MD. It seems that we are inundated with them (tibicans) I am a trucker so i tr
    avle up into PA often. The harrisberg area has a ton of them as well. It seems that we get a break from the singing on rainy days.

  2. shirley lantis says:

    The cicada songs in the first part of the night are deafening this year.
    I’ve never heard anything just like it. I live in south eastern Michigan.

  3. Judy Smith says:

    While investigating the sudden dropping of leaves from one side of my fruitless mulberry tree
    here in downtown Las Vegas, Nevada, I discovered hundreds of holes in the grass surrounding
    the base of the tree. The leaves on one side of my very old and once-beautiful tree has turned
    a sickly shade of yellow and the trunk is littered with hundreds of shells. Coupled with the
    deafening roar and the swarm around my porchlight, it seems that cicadas DO live in the desert.
    It was an unusually wet, mild spring, and now that we’re in the midst of “monsoon” season, it’s
    humid, warm and stormy. Oh, and by the way, Nevada isn’t on any of your brood lists. Hope you
    find this information pertinent. Regards.

  4. Shane Marr says:

    I live in NE Georgia and there seems to be an abundance of Magicicada cassini this year. Several people I have talked to have seen and heard them all summer long. They have been swarming around my security light at night. Don’t know if it’s the heat this summer or the unussually wet spring we had.Hopefully this input helps.

  5. charles delauro says:

    I live in a suburb east of Cleveland ohio and there is an abundance of cicada’s this year. you can hear their buzzing which to me reminds me of my childhood years when we tried to find their shells clinging to the pine tree’s. so I enjoy the sound of the cicada in late july through aug. I have not heard them like this since between 1967 through 1969. I attribute this to the amount of sunshine and heat this year which hasn’t been like this since those years.

  6. Don’t know if they are unusually large numbers, but suddenly, Sunday, July 31st, we heard that awful sound of the cicada’s in our Athens, Ohio neighborhood. This sound of summer was surprising to us, as we had not expected ANY this year. No brood map corresponds to an outbreak in our area this year. [Our last MAJOR outbreak correstponded to with the 1999 return of the 17 year brood. We remember it best due to my daughter’s 5th birthday party outdoors on May 31st, when cake, presents and party had to be held inside a screened tent. The racket was deafening. It will be a memory she will always recall, especial as she graduates college 17 years later and they sing for her graduation cerremony and party. ] Is there supposed to be an outbreak this year, or are they straglers?

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