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Annual Cicadas

What are the loud sounds coming from the trees?  One good answer is the chunky black and green insect called the annual cicada. This noise comes from several different species of annual cicadas that have emerged from their 1-2-year subsurface life.  

Cicada 1

As a nymph stage, they extract juice from tree roots, slurp slurp in the dark underground. When this stage of their life cycle is over, they crawl out of the ground onto a tree, split their exoskeleton and emerge as a winged insect. Mating and laying eggs occurs in the two weeks after that for success of the next generation. The eggs hatch and the little nymphs drop from the trees, burrow into the ground and begin the whole cycle over. 

Cicada exoskeleton

Vibrating your belly in such a way to make a sound like a lawnmower would be a cool trick.    Did you know that the sound from a small lawnmower is 90 decibels and a cicada can reach 105 decibels? That is impressive from a 2-inch bug. 

What’s the difference between annual and periodical cicadas? Annuals tend to be larger in size and come out every year. Periodicals are smaller in size, have a set year period they emerge as adults and are geographically specific.  Be ready because southwestern Ohio is due for our BROOD X to emerge in spring of 2021.

Enjoy coloring the life cycle of a cicada worksheet below then take a walk to see if you find any in your yard or in the parks!

Life cycle cicadaClick to Print