Periodical Cicada, Seventeen Year Cicada (Magicicada septendecim)

Order: Homoptera (ho-MOP-ter-a) (Info)
Family: Cicadidae
Genus: Magicicada
Species: septendecim


This bug has been reportedly found in the following regions:

Vincent, Alabama
Blytheville, Arkansas
Huntsville, Arkansas
Chicago, Illinois
Niles, Illinois
Westchester, Illinois
Winnetka, Illinois
Yale, Iowa
Mayetta, Kansas
Benton, Kentucky
Ewing, Kentucky
Hebron, Kentucky
Hessmer, Louisiana
Crofton, Maryland
Cole Camp, Missouri
Southampton, New York
Burnsville, North Carolina
Bucyrus, Ohio
Cincinnati, Ohio
Mcallen, Texas
Mission, Texas
Red Oak, Texas
Penhook, Virginia
Wayne, West Virginia
Show all

Members' Notes:


On May 25, 2015, queball from Mayetta, KS (Zone 6a) wrote:

This only happens once in seventeen years. I love it.


On Jan 15, 2015, Chillybean from Near Central, IA (Zone 5a) wrote:

What a great bug this was to experience. Because we do not have many trees, we didn't hear the loud noise of some. We had Brood III the summer of 2014.

We spent time saving some from flood waters that rushed through our yard. We got pretty good at placing them on tree trunks where they would cling. We had a squirrel come into our yard to eat some, which caused excitement for us who rarely see squirrels and for the nesting birds who dive-bombed the mammal. It used its tail as a shield to protect itself.

None of our trees suffered any severe damage. They'll live and as I say on many comments about bugs: our plants and trees are food for insects, which in turn are food for something else. It works out, just as it is meant to.


On Mar 15, 2010, Curious_Arkie from Huntsville, AR wrote:

Oh my goodness....

(To the person who said that they 'love this songster...')

I doubt very much that you've spent a LONG, SWELTERING SUMMER in the South-with BILLIONS of these boogers screeching on endlessly...I got so crazy from them once, I SHOT A GUN to stop the sound, and it's like they stopped for a few seconds and said...."hey....what was that?" and then continued on...


At first it's ok, but by the end of the summer it's like a LOUD-high-speed DRILL sound, and the drill bit is drilling INTO YOUR HEAD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(I DO like the empty shells still clinging to the trunks tho' --very cool.)

But, I can sure live without that 'song.'


On Jul 14, 2008, morrigan from Craryville, NY wrote:

We had them last year (2007) in Southampton, NY. They were wonderful songsters, and welcomed evening visitors when they emerged. We LOVE cicadas.


On Jun 12, 2008, slyperso1 from Richland, MI (Zone 5b) wrote:

Magicicada septendecim
A large periodical cicada with broad orange stripes on the underside of the abdomen, and with orange coloration on the sides of the thorax behind each eye and in front of the forewings.
The calling song phrases are said to resemble the word "Pharaoh."

Female periodical cicadas have a pointed abdomen with an ovipositor for laying eggs. The ovipositor is sheathed and not clearly visible.
Males have a blunter abdomen and white, ribbed tymbals located on the sides of the first abdominal segment, just behind the point of attachment of the hindwings.
Males Magicicada septendecim are bigger than the female.


On May 28, 2008, PattyMarie from Wayne, WV (Zone 6b) wrote:

5 days into the least 3 1/2 weeks to go. No going barefoot in the yard. I like the noise...but the mess is disgusting.

The most fun about it all is letting our hens run wild in the front yard filling up on buggy treats.

I am already tired of having to brush off the garden seating every time I want to use them. Plus...a lot of pupa are still emerging. They climb onto anything above ground level, including feet. And the chickens haven't even made a dent in the thousands of cicadas covering all vertical surfaces.


On Jan 20, 2008, plantaholic186 from Winnetka, IL wrote:

This was the most depressing summer because of these monsters. I had planted my garden last year, not knowing about the impending infestation. One crab apple got hacked to bits, although my japanese maples healed up within 10 days! The cicadas sawed into anything with a woody base, even an 18" tall japanese maple! Time will tell how my large collection of Rhododendron will fare; they haven't lost much wood, but they also haven't healed up completely. The dogwoods didn't fare well, either; one of the Cornus mas was halved in size from the damage, and they're very slow to heal as well.
The sound of the cicadas was wierd; it sounded like a spaceship was landing off in the distance. I actually liked the noise, but I detest these things! In 17 years it won't bother me so much, since my p... read more


On Jun 2, 2007, Hyblaean from Necedah, WI (Zone 4b) wrote:

Found a song about these guys, and it made me laugh. Thought that if you were looking these bugs up, it would give you a giggle, too.
here are the lyrics:
You walked out on me back in nineteen hundred nine-dee.

You left my poor heart danglin' like a bug-shell on a tree.
Now just when I got focused you come back like a locust.
Cicada lover -- stay away from me.
So leave me alone. Don't write, don't fax, don't phone.
How the heck can we communicate when all you do is drone?
I can live with ants and roaches but to you it's buenas noches!
Cicada lover: (Buzz off) yer on yer own.

and the website:
http://www.cicadalove... read more


On Jul 30, 2006, melody from Benton, KY (Zone 7a) wrote:

These are a messy hoard of bugs that cover everything when they emerge.

The nymphs feed on sap from tree roots, where they remain for either 13 or 17 years before emerging from the soil , split their skins and become adults.

They are food for birds and other animals, but create such a mess, that I'd just as soon never see another one.