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Posted on April 9th, 2024 in Forestry, Plants, Safety, Wildlife | No Comments »
close up of adult cicada shell

Figure 1. The cicada emergence will include the 13 and 17 year broods. Photo by John Obermeyer.

Purdue Landscape Report: Hoosiers are in for a special treat this spring.  If you have lived in Indiana for more than a year, you have probably grown accustomed to the singing of cicadas in the later days of summer. However, in some years, cicadas will emerge in the spring. This occurred in 2021 when most of the state was inundated in periodical cicadas as Brood X emerged from their 17-year development. This year, two broods will emerge concurrently: Brood XIII and Brood XIX.  Brood XIII is a 17-year cicada, while Brood XIX is a 13-year cicada. The emergence of these two broods isn’t unusual, but this year is special because they will asemerge at the same time. Their schedules haven’t aligned for over two hundred years!  The last time these two cicada songs were heard together, Thomas Jefferson was in the White House. While this may sound like Indiana is about to be covered in cicadas, there are a few facts that may change your expectations.

There are two types of cicadas in the Midwest: annual cicadas and periodical cicadas. Annual cicadas, as the name implies, are seen each year. They normally spend two to five years underground, but there are enough of them that we see them emerge each year. Annual cicadas emerge individually, not as a group, and we see them towards the end of the summer, thus their other common name, “dog day cicadas”. Periodical cicadas have a much different life cycle. They remain in the ground as nymphs for either thirteen or seventeen years, feeding on the roots of the trees they will eventually climb. Around April, the broods will emerge together using a combination of temperature and their own internal clock. Both types of cicadas feed on deciduous trees and tend to inhabit areas where eggs were laid during previous emergences, giving them a low likelihood of moving to new areas. Annual cicadas are green with black eyes, and periodical cicadas have dark-colored bodies with red eyes and orange legs, making it easy to differentiate them as we enter the early summer and both types are present.

cicadas damaging branch

Figure 2. The cicada broods will have minimal overlap in most of Indiana. Photo by John Obermeyer.

The term “brood” cicada biology is referring to a group of cicadas that share the same developmental time and the same physical area.  A brood will often contain several different species, though they will all belong to the genus Magicicada. Cicadas in a brood do not need to be genetically related to each other. Some broods are very small and cover a small area, whereas others can cover a significant portion of the Midwest. For example, Brood XII, a brood of 17-year cicadas, last appeared in 2023 and has only been detected in Allen and Orange counties. On the other hand, Brood X, also known as the Great Eastern Brood, covers the entirety of Indiana and several other states. Brood XIII and Brood XIX both cover several states, but they will have very little overlap in Indiana.  Only eight western counties, between Posey and Jasper counties, will experience Brood XIX, and three northern counties (Lake, LaPorte, and Porter) will see Brood XIII. Nowhere in Indiana do the broods overlap. Essentially, while there will be a lot of cicadas emerging all at once, the lack of overlap will mean this emergence will be notable, but nothing compared to the Brood X emergence a few years ago.

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Periodical Cicadas, Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Division of Entomology
Billions of Cicadas Are Coming This Spring; What Does That Mean for Wildlife?, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension-Forestry and Natural Resources (FNR)
17 Ways to Make the Most of the 17-year Cicada Emergence, Purdue College of Agriculture
Ask an Expert: Cicada Emergence Video, Got Nature? Blog, Purdue Extension-FNR
Periodical Cicada in Indiana, The Education Store, Purdue Extension resource center
Cicada Killers, The Education Store
Purdue Cicada Tracker, Purdue Extension-Master Gardener Program
Cicada, Youth and Entomology, Purdue Extension
Indiana Department of Entomology and Plant Pathology

Alicia Kelley, Cooperative Agricultural Pest Survey (CAPS) Coordinator
Purdue Extension – Entomology

Bob Bruner, Exotic Forest Pest Specialist
Purdue Extension – Entomology

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