||Black bodies, striking red eyes and orange wing veins
||Range from ¾ in. up to 2 ¼ in.
||Northeastern United States
Periodical cicadas are large insects often incorrectly referred
to as locusts even though they are unrelated. They are known for
the loud buzzing noise that males make to attract female mates.
There are at least 15 broods of periodical cicadas that emerge
from underground in 13- or 17-year cycles in different parts of the
country. In May 2013, a group of Brood II cicadas invaded the
Northeastern United States from the Carolinas to Connecticut.
Another brood of 17-year cicadas, Brood III, is expected to emerge
in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri in 2014.
Immature periodical cicadas develop underground and feed on the
juices of tree roots. After 13 or 17 years, they emerge from the
soil when the temperature eight inches below the surface reaches 64
degrees. Once above ground, the periodical cicadas feed from a wide
variety of deciduous plants and shrubs. They will remain above
ground for about a month to reproduce, before laying their eggs on
tree branches and dying. The cicada offspring fall to the ground
and burrow in the soil until they re-emerge 13-17 years later.
The majority of a periodical cicada’s life is spent in an
underground habitat. The area in which a brood is located must
contain a large population of mature trees. Once above ground, the
periodical cicadas climb onto nearby vegetation to molt in leaves,
copulate and lay eggs in slits the females cut on the ends of small
tree branches. They are least active at nighttime when they are
most likely up in the trees, and early in the morning when the
temperature is cooler.
It is not uncommon to find hundreds of thousands of periodical
cicadas per acre; however, they are only considered nuisance pests
and do not pose any health threats to humans.
Periodical cicadas can cause damage to young trees growing in
the landscape. To prevent this, cover tree saplings with netting or
cheesecloth. Netting should have a mesh of no less than 1/4 inch
and should be placed over the trees when the first male songs are
heard. The netting should be tied to the trunk beneath the lower
branches and can be removed after adult cicada activity has