Cicadas – Periodical vs Annual

Q: In your article on periodical cicadas recently, you said they would not appear until 2011. I have had cicadas in my trees every year for the last decade!

A: You have had cicadas, but not ^periodical^ cicadas. There are other species of cicadas besides those that take thirteen years to develop. “Dog-day cicadas”, which some folks call “July flies” take from two to five years to complete their metamorphosis. The different broods of these annual cicadas overlap, so the noisy adults are present every year. The nymphs develop in the soil and emerge in mid-summer. You hear much of their racket in the dog days of August. If you are curious enough to look, periodical cicadas usually have red eyes and annual cicadas have black eyes.