UW-Madison Launches Website About Cicadas

By Krista Hamilton, Wisconsin Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection;

Photo of cicadas on a plant.

Hungry cicadas are expected to emerge from their 17-year dormancy this month to feed and mate. In past emergences, Brood XIII cicadas have been documented in 11 southern Wisconsin counties. / Photo Credit: Jim Occi, BugPics, Bugwood.org

In anticipation of the emergence of the Brood XIII periodical cicada this spring, the University of Wisconsin-Madison introduced a new Wisconsin Periodical Cicada website.

Information on the site covers the biology, ecology and distribution of these insects using photos, historical videos and other useful resources.

UW-Madison entomologist PJ Liesch sifted through 150 years of books, newspaper articles, university studies, government records and specimens in the Wisconsin Insect Research Collection to develop an updated map of Wisconsin periodical cicada reports.

While the map is an improvement over older ones, additional data would help. Liesch created a citizen science project on the site and is encouraging the public to report sightings and submit photos from Wisconsin this month when the highly awaited emergence of 17-year cicadas begins.

You can also listen to a recent recording of Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Forest Health Specialist Mike Hillstrom chatting about the impending periodical cicada emergence on Wisconsin Public Radio’s The Morning Show.

Cicadas will begin to emerge later this month, and by the end of June, they will disappear for another 17 years. Read up now and prepare your travel plans to check them out!

Brood XIII is the only brood of periodical cicadas typically observed in Wisconsin. Its emergence has been documented in 11 southern counties since the earliest observations were recorded in the state in 1837.

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