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Periodical cicadas are in the news

Articles, videos and projection maps related to the Spring 2024 emergence of not one, but two broods of periodical cicadas abound on the internet. This event last occurred in 1803 when Thomas Jefferson was President. You can sift through a lot of information and wind up more befuddled than you were when you first googled the term “cicada.”

“What are cicadas?” is a good first question to ask, because several species of cicada exist, and to make identification even more difficult, cicadas are often confused with another insect.

Cicadas are members of the order Hemiptera and are true bugs. All cicadas have stocky bodies, prominent eyes, and clear, lacy wings held tent-like above the body. The front wings are larger than the rear. A straw-like proboscis allows cicadas to feed on tree sap. Cicadas do not chew leaves and flowers, nor do they decimate farm fields.

On summer nights, from June through August, we hear the sounds of annual or dog day cicadas (Neotibicen spp.). Annual ci...

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