Periodical Cicadas in Iowa, Again

The spectacle of last year's emergence of Brood III of the 17- year periodical cicadas in central, south-central and south-east Iowa is already becoming a dim memory. But there is a chance to relive the excitement of a periodical cicada emergence and not have to travel out of the state.

Two broods of periodical cicadas will emerge in very limited areas of the southern corners of the state in 1998. The first is Brood XIX of the 13-year periodical cicadas in south-east Iowa. This Brood last emerged in 1985. A survey of County Extension Directors, Foresters and others at that time indicated presence of the cicadas in only 6 counties. See accompanying map. Surveys in an additional 5 counties where cicadas had been reported previously, were negative. This may be further evidence of the shrinking distribution of this woodland insect.

Brood XIX is also emerging over a large portion of the southeast U.S. and the Mississippi river Valley. Cicadas of this Brood will appear from Virginia to Georgia to Arkansas and Iowa. Heavy concentrations will appear in Missouri and southern Illinois.

Iowa's other cicada emergence will appear in the far south-western corner of the state. This is Brood IV of the 17-year periodical cicadas. This Brood is much more widespread in Kansas and extends into Oklahoma and Texas. Brood IV has a limited range in Iowa, Nebraska and Missouri.

Sources of Information. Articles about periodical cicadas were printed in last year's Horticulture and Home Pest News. See May 9, 1997, June 6, 1997, and June 27, 1997.

Images of cicadas and cicada damage to small twigs can still be retrieved at

While the two emergences this year are smaller in area than last year, the sights and sounds of emergence in effected woodlands should be just as awe-inspiring. I hope you take the opportunity to witness the spectacle first-hand

This article originally appeared in the May 22, 1998 issue, p. 65.


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