Cicada Hunt!

When Did We Find Cicadas?

This page tells the story of when we saw and heard our first 
examples of annual cicadas in 2002.  It also has a table listing 
first and last cicadas for two summers (2001 and 2002).

By the way, this year (2006), we heard our first cicadas on 
Tuesday, June 27, about an hour before sunset.  I don't know
why, but the first ones of the year always seem to sing late
in the day.

bulletFirst live nymphs 
bulletFirst songs
bulletFirst live adult 
bulletFirst shed skin  
bulletFirst time we watched a cicada shed its skin
bulletFirst and last cicadas, 2001 and 2002

First Nymphs

On July 4, 2002, we found our first live cicada nymphs of the year.  We turned over a large log in the woods, and there they were:  10 plump cicada nymphs, a bit pale looking, with red eyes.  Each was curled  up in a small, rounded hole in the dirt.  

We had dug up red-eyed cicada nymphs once 
before.  You can read about them in The Mystery 
of the Red-eyed Cicadas


First Songs

At sunset on July 5, 2002, we heard cicadas singing in 
our trees for the first time this year.  That meant our 
cicada season had officially begun!  

For the first week of the cicada season, we only heard 
cicadas singing in the evening, right around sunset.  
July 12 was the first day we heard a cicada sing during 
the afternoon.  The next day, we also heard them in the
morning.  Now cicadas sing all day long.

We went to the Cicadas of Michigan Web site to try to
identify the songs we heard.  The first songs we heard 
sounded most like a type of annual cicada called 
Tibicen pruinosa
.  A few days later we started hearing 
Tibicen linnei
as well.  By late July, we were also
hearing Tibien canicularis

Go here to read more about the types of cicadas we 
hear in our neighborhood. 

First Live Adult

Ethan and Daddy found the first live adult of the season on July 7, early in the afternoon, on the sidewalk in front of our home.  It's wings had not inflated completely and were bent and too small.  Go here to see some other examples of cicadas with similar problems.

First Shed Skin

On July 11, a week after we heard our first cicada songs, we finally found our first shed skin.  It was really hard to see against the bark and dirt.       
Go here to see how a nymph becomes a shed skin.


First Time We Watched a Cicada Shed its Skin

On the evening of July 18, 2002, our friend brought us
a live cicada nymph that she had found on the sidewalk.

We put it in a large terrarium, and Ethan stayed up late to watch what happened.   At 11 p.m. we took the photo on the right.  Then Ethan was so tired he had to go to bed.

To see a cicada hunt from start to finish, go to this page.

To see a cicada shed its skin, go to this page.

To read advice on how to hunt your own cicadas, go to this page.

To read advice on how to keep live cicadas, go to this page.

First and Last Annual Cicadas, 2001 and 2002

Here's when we found our first and last annual cicadas each year:

First shed skin On July 4th, on the way to watch a parade, we found our first freshly shed skins of the year.  On July 11th we finally found our first shed skin of 2002.  Aaron put it in his "dead bug" collection.
First live nymph On July 18th, as our block party was winding down, Ethan found a live nymph in front of our house.  On July 4th, after the parade, we found cicada nymphs under a log in the woods.
First adult song  On July 6th, just before sunset, we heard cicadas singing in three different trees near our home. On July 5th, at sunset, we heard cicadas singing in at least five trees in our neighborhood.
First live adult On July 11th, our friend, Jackie, caught a live adult.  On July 7th, Daddy and Ethan found the first live adult on the sidewalk in front of our house. 
Last live nymph Our neighbors found a live cicada nymph shedding its skin on the morning of September 15. The last time we found a live nymph was August 30.  (However, we hadn't been looking very hard that year, so it might not be fair to compare with 2001.) 
Last live adult Jackie found a live adult on the morning of September 29. On September 26 we found a half-dead adult on the ground. 
Last adult song We heard a few cicadas singing on October 3.  Then we had hard freezing temperatures on October 7.  So, the cicada season was over. On October 12 we heard a few cicadas singing in our trees.  The next day a cold front pushed through town, and we never heard cicadas again in 2002. 
Last shed skin We kept finding pieces of shed skins all the way until the beginning of the 2002 cicada season!  September 26 was the last time we found a shed skin still attached to a tree.  In May, 2003, we were still finding bits of shed skin from last summer on the ground.

If you want to read the latest news about cicadas 
(including when and where cicadas are emerging), 
visit the Cicada Mania weblog.
< >

Let us know what cicadas are doing in your 
neighborhood!  (You can e-mail us at








Copyright 2001-2004  Eric D. Gyllenhaal                 Table of Contents                Search this Site

Cicada Hunt! is part of the Salt the Sandbox Web. 
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This page was created on June 2, 2001, and it was last updated on June 28, 2006.