2024 Periodical Cicada Emergence: What Should You Expect?

periodical cicada
Photo: Susan Ellis, Bugwood.org

Periodical cicadas are a unique group of cicada species that emerge in unison in 13- or 17-year cycles depending on the specific brood. There are at least fifteen active broods of periodical cicadas that exist today; others have gone extinct. In 2024, two broods, a 13- and 17-year brood, will be emerging, and some regions will experience both broods at the same time. This co-emergence has not happened with these two broods for 221 years. That was in 1803, when Thomas Jefferson was president, and the first public library was opening in the U.S.!

In Iowa, we will mostly experience one brood, called “brood thirteen”, which are 17-year cicadas. The last time this brood of cicadas emerged was in 2007. Brood thirteen will emerge in east central Iowa, extending as far west as Tama county. This brood also emerges in parts of Illinois, and small areas of Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan. The other brood emerging this year is called “the great southern brood” or “brood nineteen” and is one of the largest, emerging in several states across the Midwest and southeast. In Iowa, this brood is likely to emerge in Lee and Van Buren Counties, but unlikely elsewhere. 

Map of active cicada broods
Map of active cicada broods. Source: US Forest Service

While it is hard to precisely predict the exact locations that all the cicadas will emerge, it is highly unlikely we will see the double emergence in Iowa; the only areas that will likely see the double emergence are a selection of counties in central Illinois. In addition, most Iowans will not experience any cicadas at all. 

If you do experience cicadas, they do not pose a threat to people or pets. They are likely to emerge in more forested areas, so residential areas are also unlikely to experience high numbers, but this can be variable. 

Cicadas may feed on the sap of trees as adults, but this is unlikely to impact the health of trees. The adult cicadas will lay their eggs into the tips of tree branches, which may cause the tip dieback, but this will not impact the health of well established, otherwise healthy trees. However, if cicadas choose to lay eggs in small trees or new plantings, it is more likely that the tree will experience negative health impacts. If you are in the region of the cicada emergences, it may be beneficial to delay planting new trees. Overall, there is no need to be concerned about periodical cicada emergences. It’s more an opportunity to go searching for them to experience these interesting, infrequent events! 

For more information on periodical cicadas, see our periodical cicada encyclopedia article.


Links to this article are strongly encouraged, and this article may be republished without further permission if published as written and if credit is given to the author, Yard and Garden, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach. If this article is to be used in any other manner, permission from the author is required. This article was originally published on May 3, 2024. The information contained within may not be the most current and accurate depending on when it is accessed.