Some bugs are known for their name or size, but others are known for the sounds they make. One of the most notorious sound makers is the cicada. These bugs are known for their loud summer emergence and they are expected to arrive this summer. We’ve gathered information about cicadas to help you be prepared for their arrival.
There are over 3,000 species of cicadas found worldwide and over 150 species in North America. The size of cicadas varies based on species, but they are all fairly large and usually grow to 3 inches in length. The largest species of cicadas in North America is the northern dusk singing cicada and it measures about 2.75 inches in length. The empress cicada gets the title for largest cicada with a body length of about 3 inches and a wingspan of 7-8 inches. Cicadas can be divided into two different categories—annual and periodical. Annual cicadas typically have a brown, green, or white body while periodical cicadas have a black body. They have red or dark eyes and wings that are clear with orange veins.
Cicadas are known for their vocals. Males produce buzzing and clicking noises to attract female mates. They can make noises to alert other cicadas to danger as well. Though a single cicada won’t be as noticeable, a large group of them can create a substantial sound. These bugs are one of the loudest insects in the world and their sound can sometimes be heard up to 1 mile away. Cicadas create noise with the vibrating membranes found on their abdomen. The hollowness of their abdomen increases the volume of the noise. The movement of their wings can also produce sound. The loudest cicada in North America is the Megatibicen pronotalis walker.
Cicadas emerge during the summer months and are most active during the day. Though they are strong fliers, they have a habit of flying into things. These bugs have been known to fly into homes if they find an open door or window. The good news is that they can’t breed indoors so you don’t have to worry about an infestation. They also don’t bite or sting. The life cycle of cicadas plays a big part in how often we see them. When cicadas emerge during the summer, they mate. Female cicadas cut slits into tree bark and lay between 400 and 600 eggs. After hatching within 60 days, they fall to the ground and burrow in the soil about 2 feet under the ground. These nymphs feed on the liquid found in roots and stay underground until they are ready to emerge as adults. It can take cicadas several years to fully develop.
Annual cicadas will leave the ground every year, but periodical cicadas spend years burrowed in the soil. There are two common types of periodical cicadas—13 and 17-year cicadas. These cicadas have a built-in clock that tells them it is time to leave the soil. When soil temperatures reach 64 degrees, cicadas begin to emerge. 13-year cicadas are most often seen in southern parts of the United States. As their name suggests, they emerge every 13 years. 17-year cicadas are usually found in northern parts of the United States and emerge every 17 years. When they pop out of the ground, they come in large numbers that are called broods. Hundreds, thousands, or even millions of cicadas can be found in just one acre of land. These adult cicadas will live between 14 and 50 days.
Arrival of Cicadas
Things may seem quiet in your yard now but be prepared for a noisy summer. A group of 17-year cicadas is expected to emerge this summer. These cicadas are known as brood IX. This brood of cicadas will likely be seen in North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia. Brood IX could contain millions of cicadas. These aren’t the only cicadas planning on stopping by for a visit. Brood X is expected to arrive during summer 2021. These cicadas are likely to be seen throughout the Midwest and Eastern United States. When soil temperatures are warm enough, millions of cicadas will begin to leave their home. It has been reported that some members of brood IX have already started to emerge, but many more will pop up in the next few months. Don’t be surprised if you see these bugs hanging out on trees and shrubs.
There’s a good chance you’ll hear cicadas before you actually see them. Though these bugs are noisy, they’re pretty fascinating creatures. Brood IX will be making its appearance over the next few months and it will be another 17 years before you can see them again. Are you excited for the return of these cicadas? Let us know in the comments below!