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Cicadas in Ohio – Information and Facts

Dog Day Cicada

Dog day cicadas are also called annual cicadas. They belong to the genus Tibicen, Diceroprocta, and Okanagana. The life cycle of dog day cicadas does not complete on a yearly basis as the name implies. The lifecycle of an annual cicada is actually 2 to 5 years. Broods overlap most of the time, so dog day cicadas can be seen annually in Ohio. Sometimes the annual cicada species overlaps with the periodic cicada. The Okanagana species has similar black and orange coloration. The best way to tell cicadas apart is through their song. Each species of cicada has their own song.

The name dog day cicada comes from the time of year that they emerge. Broods emerge during the “dog days of summer” in July and August. Annual cicadas do not cause significant damage to the plants that they feed upon. They feed on leaves high in trees. Damage is minimal if noticed at all.

17 Year Cicada

Periodic cicadas are on a 13 or 17 year life cycle. In Cleveland, the periodic cicada emerges every 17 years. All periodic cicadas are members of the genus, Magicicada. All of them live in the Eastern United States. The 13 year cicada species, of which there are four, primarily live in the southern portion of the region. There are three species of the 17 year cicada. Some people erroneously call them locusts. Locusts are an entirely different insect. Locusts are a kind of grasshopper. Grasshoppers have chewing mouth parts. Cicadas are related to leafhoppers. They have piercing-sucking mouth parts.

Periodic cicadas come out by the billions from their underground burrows during spring. The next year for the 17 year cicada in Cleveland, Ohio is 2016. You will begin to notice their presence in early to mid June. The males, who do not survive long after mating, gather together and scream out mating signals. Females do not group together like the males and are silent. They persist longer than the males after breeding. Once they emerge from hibernation, adult cicadas have a lifespan of up to 4 weeks. The 17 year cicada won’t be around all summer, but their presence will definitely be heard.


Periodic cicadas are black-shelled insects with orange stripes, and red eyes. They are about the size and shape of a cigar butt. They have wide-set eyes, short antennae, and clear wings with orange veins. There is a black “W” near the tips of the fore-wings. Click to read more about cicada identification and life cycles.

Cast Shells

You might find cicada shells on your trees. These are their exoskeletons that they shed just after sunset. Doing this is a process called molting. They do this in order to grow. Insects do not have bones inside there bodies like we do. They have exoskeletons. In order to reach the next stage of their development, they molt!


Periodic cicadas do not bite or sting. They may fly into your head or land on you. But they do not harm people or pets. The most damage they do is to young trees and shrubs. They break a lot of stems. They cause damage cause flagging. Leaves are noticeably brown on damaged plant material. Cicadas mostly feed high up in large shade trees.