Once they become adults, cicadas live on and around plants similar to their host plants, often the very same tree where they were born. Depending on the species of cicada, this could be a tree, or perhaps a grass (sugar cane, which some cicadas use as hosts, are giant grasses).
When they are nymphs, which they are during the first stages or instars of their life, they live underground amongst the root systems of the plants they derive nourishment from. While they are there, they dig tunnels and build cells (their living quarters) where they can feed from the fluid of rootlets of plants in comfort.
For the past 3 years I have had cicada killing wasps in my small back yard. Usually about 100 mounds in the ground, mid July. I can barely use my yard and my grandchildren are frightened. What attracts the cicadas to my yard? And then the wasps?