||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. The 2013 group of periodical cicadas, known as the Brood
II cicadas, last emerged in 1996 and is expected to reappear during
the spring months in the Northeastern United States, specifically
in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland,
Virginia, and North Carolina. Another brood of 17-year cicadas,
Brood III, is expected to emerge in Iowa, Illinois and Missouri in
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
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. Their 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
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 periodic
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 activity has