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Cicada Life Cycle and Appearance Facts

Protect your home or business from cicadas by learning techniques for identification and control.

Cicada Illustration
Family Cicadidae
eyes set wide apart
2 to 5 cm
short antennae
18-20 cm wingspan
green, brown or black

Cicada Facts

What’s the big deal with cicadas?

In 2024, two different broods of periodic cicadas will emerge at the same time for the first time in more than 220 years. Learn more about the double emergence with our Cicada Emergence Fact Sheet.

Drawing of US with 14 states (includes 4 species) highlighted that will experience the emergence of Cicada Brood XIX and the 5 states (includes 3 species) highlighted that will experience the emergence of Cicada Brood XIII

After 13 years, Brood XIX is set to emerge in 14 states across the Southeast and Midwest. Four species of cicadas are included in this brood.

The 17-year Brood XIII will emerge in five Midwestern states: Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, Iowa, Indiana. There are three species in this brood.

Behavior, Diet & Habits

Understanding Cicadas

Does Orkin treat for cicadas?

Orkin does not treat cicadas since they are neither invasive nor a threat to humans, animals or property. Additionally, cicadas are not considered to be “pests” as they are not attracted to light.

What does a cicada look like?

  • Length: Adult cicadas vary in size depending upon the particular species but are generally about 2-3 inches long.

  • Wings: They have large, clear wings with many easily seen wing veins. The cicada’s immature stage, called the nymph, is wingless.

  • Eyes: Their eyes are large, reddish or black and set apart on each side of the head.

Cicada Life Cycle

  • Eggs: The female adult cicada lays eggs on trees and shrubs by inserting the eggs into the small twigs at the outer end of branches. Eggs hatch in about 40-60 days and become nymphs.

  • Nymphs: Nymphs drop to the ground, and burrow about 1-2 feet into the soil where they feed on the fluids in the small roots of the host plant. Mature nymphs emerge from the soil, climb onto surrounding trees or shrubs, and mature into adults.

  • Adults: Adults live for about 14-50 days during which time they mate, lay eggs, and die.

What is the difference between periodic and annual cicadas?

Periodic cicadas emerge from the ground in periodic cycles, often every 13 or 17 years depending on the species. These emergence events can occur in different regions.

Annual cicadas emerge on an annual basis, typically in May.

Why is 2024 a big year for cicadas?

In the spring of 2024, the United States will have the emergence of Broods XIX (“Great Southern Brood”) and XIII (“Illinois Brood”), two distinct groups of periodic cicadas that are set to appear after spending years underground. Brood XIX will be appearing after 13 years while Brood XIII will emerge after 17 years. Annual cicadas will also be emerging at the same time in continuous 4-6 week periods.

More than a trillion will emerge in 2024, creating a loud spring and summer for the U.S. This double emergence occurs once every 221 years and won’t happen again until 2245.

When do cicadas emerge?

For cicadas to emerge, the top eight inches of soil need to be at least 64 degrees Fahrenheit and will likely emerge after a warm rain. Not all cicadas emerge and some will emerge late. This period will last for 4-6-week periods continuously throughout the spring and summer.

Can cicadas harm humans or pets?

No, cicadas do not bite or sting. They are not aggressive towards humans or animals. Cicada killer wasps, however, can emerge to attack cicadas in the ground. When provoked, these wasps can sting humans.

Are there any watchouts with cicadas?

While cicadas are harmless to humans and pets, they have the potential to damage limbs of young trees, however, they typically recover quickly.

Additionally, when cicadas emerge, cicada killer wasps will prey on them. While not aggressive by nature, these wasps will sting if aggravated.

What should I do if I see them?

Although cicadas are not harmful, there are a couple of non-chemical methods you can use to help reduce cicadas from disturbing your yard:

  • Remove them by hand – Picking adults and nymphs off plants by hand, if found in small enough numbers.

  • Use a garden hose – Knocking cicadas off plants by spraying water with a garden hose.

  • Wrap trees in foil and barrier tape – Wrapping tree trunks and large pushes with foil or sticky bands to catch cicadas trying to move up plants to feed or lay eggs.

  • Contact a professional – Refer to a lawn and garden center for advice on protecting young or valuable plants.

Do not use chemical treatments on cicadas. Since they complete their nymphal stage in the ground and adults only emerge for 4-6 weeks at a time, chemical treatments are not effective for removing cicadas.

More Information

Do Cicadas Bite?

How Long Do Cicadas Live?

What Do Cicadas Eat?

When is Cicada Season?

Where Do Cicadas Live?

Cicada Sounds

Frequently Asked Questions

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