Periodical Cicadas Emerging in Iowa

Periodical cicadas are emerging in the woods of Iowa after living underground as nymphs for 17 years.

These red-eyed periodical cicadas occur in the southeastern half of Iowa, and in Missouri and Illinois with other broods occurring at different times throughout the country. The best place to find them is in native woodlands. They are the longest living insect in North America.

Periodical cicadas do not have chewing mouth parts and will feed only on sap posing little threat to plants. They will not bite or sting.

Much like the annual cicadas, adult males will “sing” from late morning through early afternoon for five or six weeks after hatching. This “singing” can be incredibly loud due to the high population of periodical cicadas that emerge during each cycle.

Iowans who are lucky enough to see periodical cicadas are encouraged to report their sighting to the National Geographic Society Magicicada Mapping Project at to help researchers better understand these long-lived insects.

More information on these unique insects can be found through the Iowa State University Department of Entomology at