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March 11, 2012

Is it hot enough for cicadas yet?

Filed under: Brood I | Magicicada | Periodical — Dan @ 9:48 am

Update (4/23): The first Brood I emergence (that we heard of) occurred in Roanoke, Virginia. Unfortunately, the sudden cold, wet weather seems to have hurt the early emerging cicadas.

The rest of this post was originally from March 11th, 2012:

Next week temperatures are forecasted to reach 79°F in the parts of Virginia, where Brood I Magicicadas are expected to emerge this year. That’s hot for March, but is it hot enough for the cicadas? Periodical cicadas typically emerge when the soil 8″ below the surface reaches 64°F. Although temperatures will be in the 70’s all week, that might not be enough to heat the soil to the necessary temperature, but stranger things have happened.

Last year Brood XIX Magicicada started emerging in Abbeville County, South Carolina after only 3 days of temperatures in the 70s.

My guess is temperatures won’t heat the soil enough to launch a full-blown emergence, but a few cicadas will emerge in the warmest and sunniest areas. Keep on the look out. Take photos and video. Report sightings to Check the Magiciciada database for locations; places like Rockbridge, Page, Botetourt, and Bath counties…

hot under the exoskeleton


  1. Joy schutte says:

    Will cicadas be at the beach?

    1. Dan says:

      Along the Chesapeake Bay, but that probably doesn’t count as the beach. Not by the ocean.

  2. here in Bedford County the Cicadas are popping out everywhere.We looked and found out these are the brood 1 or 17 yr ( at least that is what online sites told us ) and we see hundreds of them in our yard. Mostly by and on trunks of the trees. April 27, 2012.

  3. Roy Troutman says:

    I think there is probably another temperature threshold that the nymph reacts to for the final chemical change for its final molt into the adult form. Matt Berger & I have heard magicicada singing in the autumn before a major brood emergence & researchers have seen exit tunneling begin a year before a brood emergence. I’m sure a few nymphs have been close enough to the soil surface to experience a very cool evening in early autumn (September) & perhaps “mis-counted” the last year early only to emerge later in the fall when temperatures have warmed back up. If I had a big enough refrigeration unit & an insulated 12 foot x 12 foot box I would love to try an experiment to see if a grouping could be tricked into emerging 1 year early.

  4. David Emery says:

    If it gets too warm to quickly, it will blow a hole in the “May emergence formula”

    1. Dan says:

      True enough.

  5. David Emery says:

    Should be “getting a bit hot under the pronotal collar”!

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