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The Cicadas are Here!

Updated on January 13, 2013

Our Cicada Encounter

The date was May 6, 2011. The place: North Georgia. I was walking through the garden, when my 7 year old daughter screamed "Mama, come look...there are bugs all over the neighbor's house!" I walked next door, and I saw something that made my jaw drop. At first I didn't know what was happening...what were these strange creatures that were climbing out of the ground and crawling all over the side of the house? And why were some brown and some white? It took me a few minutes to realize that I was looking at cicadas emerging before my very eyes!

I have seen the dried-out, split-open, empty shell remains of cicadas before, but this time I was able to watch how these shells came to be empty in the first place! According to what I have read, these are the 13 year cicadas, which means it will be another 13 years before I can see this emergence again!

I took some photos which you can see on this page, and thought I would learn more about these amazing creatures! The picture to the left is the adult nymph before it sheds this skin. The fully colored adult cicada pictures you see were taken by me on May 8, 2011. It was fairly early in the morning, and there were a lot of adult cicadas waiting to be able to fly up into the trees.

Not too cold please...

Cicadas will begin to emerge when the soil reaches about 65 degrees.

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Cicada Nymphs

The cicada nymphs like the ones you see pictured in the introduction, and also the one pictured here, have spent the past 13 years underground. When they hatched 13 years ago, they were tiny white insects about the size of an ant. It took them 13 years to turn into the big brown nymph you see pictured!

While underground the nymphs survived by sucking sap from tree roots. (This has not been shown to be harmful to the trees at all, even when multitudes of nymphs were found around a single tree...amazing!) They went through some molts to grow in size until they reach their adult nymph status like the one in the picture here.

newly hatched cicada
newly hatched cicada

It's Raining Cicadas!

I have never seen or experienced this up close before....cicadas were emerging from their nymphal skins and dropping all around me. Every few seconds you could hear another newly molted cicada hit the grass and leaves beneath the tree I was standing under. One even dropped on my shoulder before falling to the ground...ewww...a little closer encounter than I wanted!

This picture is of one of these newly molted cicadas after dropping to the ground.

A Cicada on My Begonia Beside It's Shed Skin

A Cicada on My Begonia Beside It's Shed Skin
A Cicada on My Begonia Beside It's Shed Skin

My Daughter is Fascinated with Cicadas!

my daughter with a cicada
my daughter with a cicada

Here, my daughter picked up a leaf with a cicada on it and it didn't fly away! Maybe it wasn't quite ready to fly yet. My four year old daughter has been absolutely fascinated with cicadas ever since she saw the first nymph on May 6, 2011. This photo was taken on May 8, 2011.

Photos I took of Cicadas Molting! - These pics are of a couple of cicadas that molted on a rose bush

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Problems with Molting

deformed cicada after molt
deformed cicada after molt

This cicada had trouble inflating it's wings fully...I don't know if this one will be able to fly or not.

A Cicada on My Holly Bush

A Cicada on My Holly Bush
A Cicada on My Holly Bush

Another Cicada That Failed to Develop Properly

deformed cicada
deformed cicada

Sometimes cicadas can have problems inflating their wings after molting. This adult is severly deformed as a result. It will likely remain in the low vegetation and become a meal for a predator, such as a bird.

Locusts or not?

Cicadas are often called locusts. However, a locust is a type of grasshopper.

Shed Cicada Skin close-up!

shed cicada skin
shed cicada skin

This is a close up of the shed skin of the cicada immediately after the cicada emerged.

The Deafening Sound of a Multitude of Cicadas!

Noise and More Noise!

The male cicada makes this noise to attract a female for mating. Can you imagine how loud it would be if the female made this sound too? I am glad they don't!

Breeding Habits

The male uses his shrill call to attract a female, and then mating occurs. Females then use the sharp point of their ovipositor to make slits in the small branches of trees. She lays about 24-28 eggs in each slit until she has deposited anywhere from 400 to 600 eggs. The eggs hatch in six to seven weeks. The newly hatched nymphs drop to the ground and bury into the soil where they suck sap from tree roots for the next 13 years until time for their next emergence. (This does not seem to harm the trees at all).

Cicada Duel

I found cicadas to be fascinating creatures, although somewhat noisy! What do you think of them. Share your opinion here! If your opinion doesn't fit with this duel module, feel free to share your story in the guestbook!

By the way, you don't have to be a Squidoo member to leave a comment!

What do you think of cicadas?

I think they are an amazing marvel of nature!

I think they are an amazing marvel of nature!

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    I think they are a nuisance...I will be glad when they are gone!

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      • anonymous 6 years ago

        The cicade is GROSS!!! I'm tired of the noise, and they won't be gone til it's a lot cooler out there. Bummer!

      A Cicada on My Hosta

      A Cicada on My Hosta
      A Cicada on My Hosta

      A Cicada on My Petunias

      A Cicada on My Petunias
      A Cicada on My Petunias

      Cicada Poll

      cicadas
      cicadas

      Have you ever seen a cicada up close?

      See results

      Adult Cicada Resting in the Flower Bed

      Cicada close-up
      Cicada close-up

      I thought this picture was great! You can really see a lot of detail.

      Cicada Life Span

      These cicadas spend 13 years growing below ground, and only live above ground as adults for about four to five weeks.

      Another Adult Cicada

      adult cicada
      adult cicada

      This cicada flew up in the tree soon after this picture was taken.

      Have you seen cicadas emerge up close and personal? - Hope you learned a few things and enjoyed reading! (I know I learned a lot!)

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        • caketech profile image
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          caketech 4 years ago

          @artbyrodriguez: I found them fascinating as well! Thanks for the nice comment!

        • artbyrodriguez profile image

          Beverly Rodriguez 4 years ago from Albany New York

          No, I've heard about them.....really fascinating! Interesting lens and great photos.

        • lgOlson profile image

          L. Olson 4 years ago from Northern Arizona

          Here in Northern Arizona, we have them EVERY year. I see them emerge in late spring and around July they start the long awful months of deafening sound that makes life miserable outside..can't even enjoy being on our porch it's so loud!

        • PromptWriter profile image

          Moe Wood 5 years ago from Eastern Ontario

          We watched a documentary on them once but have not seen them up close and live. I would probably have a conniption.

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          Pete Schultz 6 years ago

          yes i learned new things.....all I can say is eeek.

        • caketech profile image
          Author

          caketech 6 years ago

          @Jeannieinabottl1: Yes, the sound can be horrible! I am trying to prepare my kids for what's coming next...all the noise. They probably won't truly realize until it kicks into high gear!

        • caketech profile image
          Author

          caketech 6 years ago

          @pistachio: Thank you! This is the first time I have seen them this close as well!

        • Jeannieinabottl1 profile image

          Jeannieinabottl1 6 years ago

          I remember when this happened in Baltimore 7 years ago. There were cicadas everywhere. As I walked down the street, I would hear screaming as yet another cicada flew into another unsuspecting person's hair. They were the worst in the areas with a lot of trees, which of course, was where I lived. At night, the sound was just awful! At least the cicadas did not stay around too long. It was an adventure at first, but it got old really fast.

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          pistachio 6 years ago

          As a Georgia girl myself, I'm certainly familiar with theses creatures, but I never got such a up close and personal view of them. Awesome photos!