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Cicada FAQs

What do they look like?

Periodical cicadas have red eyes and orange wings. They grow to be 2.5 inches long. They have a piercing sucking mouth that they use to suck juices out of plants. Annual cicadas appear every year and have black eyes with green wings. The emergence this year is from Brood X of periodic cicadas which comes out every 17 years.

Periodic cicada with red eyes and orange wings. Photo courtesy of Nancy Hinkle UGA.

Where will they emerge?

In North Georgia, we are at the southern edge of where Brood X will emerge. Brood X will only emerge east of the Mississippi from North Georgia to Pennsylvania.

When will they emerge?

Soil temperatures must get to 64 degrees at 8 inches depth for the emergence to begin. This generally happens for us at the end of April through mid-May. Temperature combined with sufficient moisture cues the emergence.

How long will they be here?

Once they emerge, they will survive for 4-6 weeks. They should be gone by the beginning of July.

How large of an emergence are we expecting?

Since we are near the southern edge of emergence, I think we will see more pockets of emergence compared to a blanket emergence.

How loud will they be?

Cicadas are very loud. The male is one making all the noise, trying to attract a mate. When they are in chorus, they can reach 90-100 decibels. That’s comparable to a running lawnmower 3 feet away. They only make noise during the day.

What kind of damage can I expect to plants?

They will do very little damage to plants. The females will lay their eggs on the ends of branches, which can cause that branch tip to die off. This will not be a problem for mature plants. It can result in some damage to young trees, but most likely will not be fatal. You can loosely wrap some cheesecloth around the ends of branches to prevent damage to valuable, young trees.

Will they hurt my pets or me?

No, they do not bite or sting. It is possible that pets could eat too many and get a stomachache.

Is there anything I can do about them?

I do not recommend spraying insecticides for cicadas. Most likely, they will not cause damage to your plants.

Are they beneficial?

Yes! Cicadas are a great source of food for wildlife. Wild turkeys in particular like to eat them. Sometimes the limbs that break off after they have eggs laid on them are old dead limbs that needed to be removed.