2024 Cicada Brood Map: Where Cicadas Will Appear


Summer 2024 will go down in U.S. history for a wildlife event occurring for the first time in at least 200 years: The simultaneous summer “awakening” of five-year (also known as annual), 13- and 17-year periodical cicadas.

“Look through the following sections for all the facts you need to know about cicadas, this summer’s massive emergence, and humane cicada control solutions!”

   —Our specialists, Vulcan Termite & Pest Control of Birmingham, Alabama 

Cicadas 101

Periodical cicadas are winged insects, considered “true bugs.” More than 150 species of periodical cicadas populate the U.S. Cicadas of all species are classed by how many years they live, and the three classes of periodical cicadas are 5-year, 13-year, and 17-year.

Cicada Life Cycles

All cicadas begin their lives in tree trunks aboveground, hatching from eggs as nymphs. A “nymph” is a periodical cicada (or other insect that undergoes an incomplete metamorphosis) in its sole immature stage of development. It’s the only stage between egg and adult. The adult form of cicadas and other insects is called an “imago.”

Whether cicadas live for 5, 13, or 17 years, they will be in their nymph stage for most of that time. During the nymph stage, a cicada grows larger and larger underground as it drinks sap from tree roots. It will outgrow its exoskeleton and molt it as a husk five times. Every husk a nymph leaves behind is larger, further developed, and closer resemblance to its final imago form than its last.

Immediately after hatching from eggs, nymphs will burrow below ground to their sanctuaries—spaces between underground tree roots and soil—and actively dwell there (never in dormancy or hibernation) until they complete their fifth and final molt and become imagos or adults. That means nymphs will stay underground and live there for 5, 13, or 17 years. 

All periodical cicadas will emerge from their underground sanctuaries once in their lives (when they reach the imago stage or, informally, “adulthood”) and they will stay aboveground for the remaining two months of their lives (May and June of that summer). 

Cicadas do not enter aboveground terrain alone or while they’re still underdeveloped, vulnerable nymphs: They only emerge in broods as adults when there is greater protection from predators and a higher chance of survival.

All About Cicada Broods

A brood of cicadas is a large group from the same region (Midwest or South) and class that reach adulthood at the same time and emerge aboveground together.

A cicada brood is only ready to emerge to aboveground terrain when they all begin their 5th and final molt in the nymph stage before fully maturing into their final imago (adult) forms. While they’re all aboveground, they will shed their final molt and become imagos, live in trees for shelter, drink the sap, mate, and lay eggs. Their first and only summer spent aboveground lasts for two months, then they perish. 

Annual or “Five-Year” Cicada Broods

Although they have a different name, annual cicadas are periodical cicadas. Annual cicadas are simply one type or “class” of periodical cicadas: The kind that only needs three to five years to develop underground. 

Annual cicada broods can—and often consist of—multiple overlapping, staggered generations. It is much simpler to refer to all the cicadas in a region that emerge during any given summer as “the annual brood,” instead of giving them special brood names like those assigned to periodicals.

Cicada Brood/Class Appearance Differences

Even though annual cicadas are still a type of periodical cicadas, there are noticeable differences in their appearance compared to 13- and 17-year periodicals.

Annual cicadas have light-colored, reflective bodies, often in lime green hues. Their eyes are black and their wings are translucent or transparent. 

annual cicada showing its colors

Annual Cicada


Periodical cicadas have darker-hued bodies, with caramel-brown tinted transparent wings and bright red eyes.

periodacl cicada sitting on green plant

Periodical Cicada

Why Cicada 2024 “Swarms” Matter

You may wonder why this year’s emergence of cicadas is so special. After all, most people alive today have witnessed (and heard) the sounds of annual cicadas emerging each summer. Plus, a brood of periodicals emerges every 13 or 17 years, so most people in the U.S. (every adult and older teen) have been alive when above-average numbers of cicadas have swarmed their region.

However, we mean it when we say this summer’s emergence of periodical cicada broods is truly unique and massive for two reasons:

  1. This summer, broods from more than one non-annual periodical class (13-year and 17-year) will emerge aboveground with the annual class brood. 13 and 17-year broods rarely emerge during the same year.
  2. The two “broods” that come out this year consist of multiple smaller broods from the same classes. These smaller broods from the same class have their own generations, but all adult broods from the same class tend to emerge during the same year (apart from some stragglers). These multi-generational mega-brood emergences are often collectively called the emergence of one brood.

Apart from the annual brood, the two non-annual “broods” (two mega-broods each made up of multiple smaller generational broods) that emerge this summer are:

  • Brood XIX is a megabrood of exclusively 13-year-class periodical cicadas called the “Great Southern Brood.” Their last generation’s emergence, life, reproduction, and death occurred in 2011. According to the University of Connecticut’s cicada map, this brood’s entire lifecycle and emergence occur in these southern states: “AL, AR, GA, IN, IL, KY, LA, MD, MO, MS, NC, OK, SC, TN, VA.”
  • Brood XIII is a megabrood of exclusively 17-year periodical cicadas called the “Northern Illinois Brood.” The last generation’s emergence, life, reproduction, and death occurred in 2007. UConn’s cicada map reports that this brood populates (and will emerge in) these midwestern states: “IA, IL, IN, WI.”

The last time all three types of broods’ emergences coincided on the calendar was when Thomas Jefferson was president! Although the southern and midwestern class broods will mostly reside in their respective regions, there may be some overlap of both classes in the areas in between.

How the Cicada 2024 Emergence Will Affect People, Plants, and Pets

Cicadas Aren’t Harmful.

We don’t advise killing a cicada if it’s on your property uninvited because cicadas don’t (and cannot) harm people, crops, gardens, or pets. This is not an ominous event you need to worry about, like a “locust plague” (cicadas aren’t locusts nor are they destructive like them).

Cicadas could be intimidating if you don’t know what they are or if you’re just skittish around bugs because they’re large. But they don’t want anything to do with you; if you are too close, they’ll scream! (literally).

Cicadas are not dangerous for a few other reasons:

  • They’re not carriers or transmitters of disease.
  • They don’t attack humans with stings or bites. They are herbivorous and do not drink blood.
  • You shouldn’t handle them and must avoid letting them land on you if possible so your skin does not get caught on their needle-like rostrum (a straw-like part of their mouth). They do not have poison or inject anything through them; it just may poke you and make you feel slightly uncomfortable.

Extremely Noisy Evenings

You’ll need to get some sleep-safe earplugs if you want to block out the songs of this nocturnal choir. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, cicadas’ evening-time chirps can be “as loud as a lawn mower.” They sound much different than crickets!

Nymph Molting Debris & Husks

Nymph debris and husks will likely litter your lawn if you have lots of trees. If you step on one you’ll hear a crunch, but don’t worry, it’s not a cicada. 

cicada on a stick during its molting phase

Nymph Cicada molting

Minimal Potential Tree Damage

The way cicadas lay eggs (~600 at once) in small trees will contribute to the worst possible damage they’ll inflict on plants overall, and that doesn’t even mean that smaller trees will be ruined. That’s just the biggest risk cicadas can possibly bring on plant life. 

Big trees can handle the tiny incisions cicadas make to lay their eggs in. When cicadas eat plants, it’s nothing like crop-devouring locusts. Cicadas only suck out juices from plants (through their rostrum) and drink them. They don’t break down or eat the solid matter (which could kill the plants).

Tips to Prevent Plant Damage
  • Plan out when you get new plants accordingly. Maybe wait until next year—or at least until July of this year—before you buy and plant that small tree from the garden center.
  • If you’re still really nervous about your smaller plants being eaten by cicadas, install a barrier or cage around them.

No-Kill Alternatives to Cicada Control

Here’s what to do if cicadas show up on your property or in your home unwanted:

  • You can make the cicadas you find outdoors go away with a small splash from your home’s water hose; they’ll get the memo and fly elsewhere. 
  • Pesticides are a last resort, and they should not be DIY, as they can accidentally harm you, your kids, your pets, other wildlife, and your plants. 
  • On a commercial scale, pesticides can contaminate agricultural crops. Cicadas don’t damage crops (unlike locusts, which are sometimes mistaken for each other)
  • Avoid inviting cicadas into your house by closing windows and doors.
    • When you enter a door or open a window, beware—cicadas will whizz past you and fly into your home, seemingly out of nowhere.
  • If cicadas make it inside your home, you’ll need to shoo them out. You can humanely trap and release them using a cup and a piece of paper or food storage containers to get them out of the house. 
    • Again, you will not be harmed if you touch one in the process. If you insist on foolproof precautions, consider wearing protective goggles/gloves.
    • Be warned that cicadas will make a loud noise if they’re startled. 
  • Seal cracks in doors and other openings in home structures that they could crawl through to keep them from entering.

Vulcan Termite & Pest Control Is Here to Guide You

The coming cicada “swarm” will not harm you or your family. They’ll only be flying about and singing their droning songs in the evening for a couple of months, and that likely won’t happen to this degree again for another couple hundred years!

If cicadas somehow get in your home or are everywhere on your property, give our experts at Vulcan Termite and Pest Control a call at 205-663-4200 or contact us online. We have proudly served Alabama families with our integrative pest management since 1965, and we’d love to provide the same level of service to yours.

Thanks for reading! Check out our pest blog to learn more about the pests and other creatures found in Alabama.